Politeness: Our State of Emergency

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

As a Christian, have you felt pressure to cave to a world view? Are you silent at the water cooler on controversial issues, afraid to rock the boat?

If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. Whether the church massacre in Charleston, the injustices of Ferguson, the national push for marriage equality or the identity confusion of Bruce/Caitlin Jenner, somewhere along the way, we in the Body of Christ became too polite. We allowed prayer to be removed from school. We’ve allowed folks of all backgrounds with diminished mental capacities and prejudices to carry guns. We’ve allowed people’s confusion about their identities and sexual orientation to prompt businesses, educational institutions and others to remove “female” and “male” from their vocabulary and replace with more ambiguous terms so as not to offend gender-confused populations. We’ve thought it impolite to say anything to the contrary and have resigned to a “live and let live” mentality. We’ve accepted that there are some degenerate, “bad apples” in this world who inflict horrific violence upon others.

Now, the chickens of our complacency, politeness, political correctness and silence have come home to roost. This is our state of emergency.

politeness silence

While we strive to be considerate, genteel and well-mannered toward others, forces of darkness could care less about our manners.  As described in John 10:10, our enemy intends to “steal, kill and destroy” and he doesn’t play fair. While Christ Jesus came to bring us abundant life, true freedom, love, joy, hope and peace, Satan presents counterfeit schemes that suggest people can have freedom, love and joy with quicker rewards—and without relationship with God.  The world in its ignorance, has settled for counterfeit paths that will ultimately destroy them.

Our politeness is dearly costing our communities, nation and world. Politeness has made us shrink back from territories in which we should have greater presence. Politeness has dulled our fervency and zeal required when addressing immorality. Instead of fervently sharing God’s Truth on any terms, we’ve politely embraced the world’s terms for fear of being hated.  Who else should a confused and perishing world look to lead them in the right way if not a Christian? Are we snatching anyone from the fire, as stated in Jude 23?

The mute church has created a dangerous vacuum that has positioned Christians alongside hate groups. Furthermore, the congregation returns to work on Monday virtually indistinguishable from non-believers. We are warned not to talk about politics and religion by people who are pushing their own politics and religion. It is one made of man by man and it only offers bondage and chaos. It poses as light but degrades into shades of grey and eventually darkness.

The problem is not that we don’t have spirit-filled believers attempting to respond to these issues. It’s that we have fewer Christians speaking at the water cooler to defend the faith and keep Christians in view as people who love, give and suffer. The tragedy of our silence is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be mischaracterized to where we are dangerously close to being dehumanized.

How do we revive our collective Christian voice? How do we boldly and lovingly disperse light in darkness? How do we overcome fear and indifference and render aid in our state of emergency? Love toward others must continue to guide our thoughts, words and actions—but this doesn’t mean we shirk from entering the battle, where the Holy Spirit leads us.

Per God’s words to Joshua as the newly installed leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9) Let us not be concerned about who we might offend. By sharing God’s light, we help bring clarity to confusion and hope to darkness in our fallen world.

Still want to be polite or are you ready to fight?

-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. 

Baltimore: What Our Words Really Mean

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

“Cultural competency training.”‎ “Treat people like you want to be treated. ” “Civility.” “#BlackLivesMatter.” “Inequality.” “Injustice.” “Bad apples.” “Accountability.” “Added protections.” “Depraved-heart murder.”

These are some of the words and phrases that emerged from last week’s conversations surrounding the volatile and tragic Baltimore riots. The unjustified death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody surfaced familiar feelings of anger among Blacks and others. Another Black man was dead at the hands of police and it was uncertain if anyone would be held accountable, as seen in other cases across the country.

 

To the aforementioned familiar terms introduced in this piece…here’s what those words really mean— and their potential to drive the desired community, national and global outcomes we seek:

God’s love. Man and woman He created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), God fashioned each of us. Create in me a clean, pure heart and renew a right spirit within me  (Psalm 51:10). Help me to extend to others faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Let me seek another’s highest good. To love one another as Christ loves us. (John 13:34). Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and more…

 

Are we naive to believe that society’s morality will progress if not for a heart transformed by Christ Jesus? If this transformation doesn’t occur within each person, then we will continue to battle injustices as there will have been no transformation of the heart. Those unchanged will audaciously and ignorantly operate in their own version of “truth” thinking their version is superior to The Truth, God’s Truth.

Baltimore riots April 2015 woman faces police

Baltimore riots April 2015 raise the race conversationLofty hopes of new laws, programs and trainings will fail as some people hold onto their self-interests rather than invite Christ to be the Captain of their lives; their Lord and Savior, the resident and president of their lives. So long as humans subscribe to their wills and not the will of God, injustices (whether or not intentional, driven by self-interests and self-centeredness) will persist.

 

As someone who hopes for the hearts of mankind to change, it is not my desire to be a “Debbie downer.” I am simply sober about the realities many fear to acknowledge, even though the patterns repeat and intensify with every generation. Rather than push for another program to be created, pray for hearts to be transformed by Christ Jesus.

-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. 

Ferguson and All: Meet the Restorer of Our Streets

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Viewing this past week’s events of protests, rioting, vandalism and violence displayed in Ferguson, Mo., and nationwide upon learning the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the August 9, 2014 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown,  we know some things to be true: violence does not bring about justice. Hate does not bring about peace. None of these actions restores our streets or our dwelling places. None of it restores our lives. No such actions are fruitful in any way.

The following passage spoke to my spirit in considering the healing we want restored in Ferguson, in our nation and our world. Isaiah 58 shows how God will move mightily on our behalf when we fast, pray, humble ourselves to seek His will, His way. Instead of exhibiting peace one day and inflicting violence upon others the next, the Lord asks us to move in righteousness and 8- “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9- Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

Think about it. I encourage Ferguson, those of our nation and world to meet the Great Restorer of our streets.Isaiah 58-12 restorer of the streets

58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 

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.

 

 

Every Praise Is to Our God

Luke 17:19-And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith has made thee whole. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

We have been healed. We have been blessed. We have been granted life through Christ. All of which are treasures to be stored in heaven where no rust can decay it. Moreover, we must not forget the goodness of these gifts, treating them as ancillary items. Don’t let the primary gifts of wealth, materials, and love become the scales by which we measure gratitude. For example, the Lord healed 10 lepers, but only one returned to give glory to the Divine Healer. Thus, may the actions and general sentiment of this man be mimicked, in order for us to maximize our thankfulness for the life we were given, instead of the life we fantasize about. May we find joy in the eternal, instead of the temporal. For in the end, this world will fade away and our soul will live on. Hence, ARISE and give God some praise. For the life you were blessed with was uniquely designed FOR YOU, so don’t take it for granted. 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.

Christ (Not You) Perfects You

Ephesians 2:8-10, For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (King James Version)

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

At times, many seasoned Christians may look down their noses on baby Christians or non-believers. Some might say, “I can’t believe they would do that,” “look at them they are so evil,” “there is no hope for them” or, “I would never do that.”

If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, I encourage you to remember the disciple Peter who said he would never deny Christ—yet denied Him three times (Luke 22:54-62). My mother once told me, “Ana never underestimate the fact that you are human.” Given the right circumstances all of us are capable of the unthinkable. However, as Believers it is Christ in us perfecting our imperfections. It is the mystery of the Holy Spirit at work in each of our individual lives.

The ideology of “I did it in my own strength” is false. I truly believe that’s why many believers who make mistakes run from God thinking He would never forgive their horrible sin against Him. On the contrary, no matter what you have done or where you have been it is not too late. Repent and turn away from the sin that has kept you bound. Look to Christ for forgiveness and follow His lead.

Proverbs 26:11- As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. (New International Version)

-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.”

Ana has served on the Missionary Field, and has served in and led praise and worship, web design, children’s ministry and youth ministry.  Ana’s most recent initiative is Georgia Peach Ministry, a non-profit she founded that serves widows and orphans.  Ana is also on the board of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Ana is a private chef and has worked with professional athletes over the past five years. She is also an entrepreneur and is part owner in an interior design business, a chef placement business, and is entering into the food product industry.

For His Sake

“Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” –Psalm 44:22 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love (Psalm 44:26). May we remember in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted and facing hardship all over the world. Particularly, in the Middle East regions of Israel, Palestine, and the Gaza strip we hear and see on our televisions wars breaking out with matters of religion being at the root of the issues. Yet, it is no surprise to a Christian with spiritual understanding that time of persecution would come. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). If you live in the United States as I do, you know that persecution is not as intense as in other parts of the world.

We too will inevitably face persecution, hardship or trials. The apostle Paul knew this very well in his lifetime and yet he continued to press on. “Oh we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

So when persecution, trouble, calamity or hardship comes, take courage! Christ has already overcome the world! (John 16:32). “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Amen

-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.

 

 

Is There Any Question?

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Mark 9:23- “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” (New Living Translation)

 If I can, or if he can, for that is the question. If I can accomplish the impossible, is it through my own strength? If I fear no evil and walk circumspect through this world, is my discernment my own? If I close all business transactions, was my acumen honed through my own intellect? If these questions sound unsure then they bear uncertainty that we are not living this life alone. Therefore, if it is not I, then who aids us within the realms of impossibility? Who is taking our crippling fears and standing us upright? Who has given us the intellect to think, function, and deliberate. If we don’t know, then may we learn of this force or power. May we ask of his name and follow his decrees. For the man who has given us strength, love, and discipline is Jesus. Therefore, may we not question, nor live within doubt. For God has already seen this world and figured it all out. 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. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

When It’s More Convenient

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

A few days later Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus. As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming Day of Judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.” –Acts 24:24-25

Here we have in this passage of scripture the apostle Paul appearing before the Roman governor at the time Felix Antonius. Paul was brought in to trial before this governor in Caesarea to answer charges against him concerning a riot that broke out in Jerusalem. The Jewish high priest and the elders were fed up of this apostle going around spreading what they called the “Nazarene sect.” When it was Paul’s turn to speak, he admitted to being a follower of what he called instead, “the way.” I found it interesting that in verse 22 the Bible says that Felix was “well acquainted with the way” which could possibly and probably mean that he heard the gospel several times before or had a good amount of knowledge concerning it.

About two weeks ago I was evangelizing with a group of missionaries in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite, Haiti. Several people I spoke to seemed very interested in the gospel message I presented to them but all except one stated “I’m not yet ready to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.” I heard replies such as “I don’t have the time,” or “I have to get things right in my life first.” Another said “I would accept him but I don’t want to yet because I would feel like you persuaded me into it and it wasn’t my own choice. But someday I will.”

King Agrippa also felt this way when Paul later presented the gospel before him and Festus. For in chapter 26 of Acts he said “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”– Acts 26:25-28

Salvation

In matters of sharing the gospel, persuasion should not have the determining factor of whether one comes to accept Jesus Christ or not. The question that is most important is a question that every unbeliever should look deep into their heart when presented with the gospel and ask themselves, “Is this the truth or not?” Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”-John 14:6 Accepting the gospel is always “convenient.” Tomorrow is not promised and the day to be saved is always now. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” -2 Corinthians 6:2

On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude struck the country of Haiti. Over 160,000 people died that day. It was a regular day just like today. We’re not sure how many died as unbelievers. Friend I urge you today to delay no further if you haven’t accepted Christ. Don’t make the mistake governor Felix did of waiting for a more “convenient” time. There might never be another time except today.

-Jason

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.

Jesus: The Light of the World

Joy! Yesterday I received wonderful news from a friend who testified to the power of our God through Christ Jesus to make necessary behavior changes in their life. When God moves on your heart, you can do nothing but change and in fact become “a new creation,” as said in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Praise God! While I believe programs can also assist people in making behavioral changes, nothing matches the heart encounter one has with Christ and how he can make changes “suddenly.” Now, this friend is shining their light before others, a witness to God’s goodness and awesome power. We know Satan hates an empowered Believer because they will likely equip and empower others in the Spirit. Nevertheless, shine your light so others may be drawn to know Him.

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.  The post reminds us Who is the Light of the world. There is no need to remain in darkness. Walk in the light. God bless you.   -Nicole

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly. I desire each of My followers to be a Light-bearer. The Holy Spirit who lives in you can shine from your face, making Me visible to people around you. Ask My Spirit to live through you, as you wend your way through this day. Hold My hand in joyful trust, for I never leave your side. The Light of My Presence is shining upon you. Brighten up the world by reflecting who I AM.

I-am-the-light-of-the-world

Accompanying Scriptures: Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15- Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16- In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  2 Corinthians 3:18, And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (New International Version)

 

Winfrey and Angelou: Exchanging Truth for a Lie

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

A poet who might not have known it: there is only ONE way to God.  Unrealistic? Implausible? Yet true.

Today, like many people, I viewed the cable-televised memorial service held for the late author, poet, orator and multi-talented, Dr. Maya Angelou. Her nearly three-hour service held at Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel, aired in part on CNN and uninterrupted on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Interesting speeches were given, and songs sung. Following the service, OWN aired a Super Soul Sunday “Soul to Soul” interview Oprah had previously with Dr. Angelou. While I admire the writings and exquisite delivery of words whether written or spoken by Dr. Angelou, it was in this interview clip where a heaviness weighed in my gut. The heaviness drove the writing for today’s necessary late-day posting. This post is not to disparage Dr. Angelou or her memory, but to dispel a deception widely accepted and believed, and leading many astray.

During the interview, Oprah asked intently of her longtime mentor and “mother,” “Dr. Angelou, what is your definition of God?” Dr. Angelou replied, “All.” She said, “God is ‘all’ in one word.” (Actually, He’s the Great I AM).  Then Oprah asked, “Is there many ways to get to him?” Dr. Angelou said, “Yes, all roads lead to God.” Oprah then followed up with more conversation that lead her to say,”There’s not just one gate. There are as many gates to God as there are people.”

At Voices Against the Grain, our mission and objective is to provide clarity where there is confusion; to dispel deception by presenting truth, and to instruct truth in love. We would not be thorough in our ministry/service to you by not presenting God’s truth on the topic. The author and perfecter of our faith said it many times, many ways while some have chosen to twist it to appease those intent on finding any other way there but through Christ Jesus. Here it is again for everyone’s review:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)

Given the gravitas and high regard earned by Dr. Angelou, it’s no surprise how one could support her perspective. We live in a big and diversified world.  Yes—God can meet us in different places. Yet, God’s Word tells us how we get to Him.

God is not a joke or a play thing.  He is GOD Almighty. In a world that would rather exchange the truth of God for a lie, I pray that He lovingly and mercifully remove the veil from blinded eyes and move hearts to draw near to Him. Only in relationship with Christ Jesus will truth be revealed and clarity restored.

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, New Living Translation)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19)