The Deception of Progress: A Harmful Illusion

“If you want to change the direction of our country, vote.”  And in doing so, what are we advancing?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (liberty).  (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

In referencing the above New Testament scripture, I’m attempting to draw the clearest line, paint-by-numbers directions for this world to obtain true freedom instead of the counterfeit freedoms they currently pursue.

Liberty: the pursuit of it underpins our democratic society. Indeed, voting is important to register your voice in how our government should operate in serving our interests and preserving our freedoms.

But when such exercises compromise or disregard God’s laws for the sake of “progress,” we’ve not grasped the unprotected turmoil we’ve therefore brought upon ourselves. We’ve grieved God and incurred His judgments.

So why are many baffled by the decay our country lies in today?

“The irony of America’s quest for happiness lies in the fact that she succeeded more obviously than any other nation in making life “comfortable,” only to run into larger incongruities of human destiny by the same achievements by which it escaped the smaller ones. Our very success in this enterprise has hastened the exposure of its final limits.” – Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History (1952)

Though Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, ethicist, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary, penned this quote 64 years ago, his message still rings truth today.

America has sought greater liberties to make people “comfortable” with their immoral lifestyle choices. Ironically, in pursuing such liberty, perfect harmony is yet to be achieved.

deception-john-rizzuto

 

The irony is that the immoral have gotten the liberties they’ve pushed for, but oh, it comes with so much more. The disappointment of the “so much more” is concealed until you get the package home, unwrap it, celebrate its novelty and then realize it is bundled with unwelcomed outcomes.

The duplicitous nature of such progress masquerades itself as a solution to accommodate our self-interests—absent of critical thinking, absent of considering the future ramifications. The only advancement in this type of progress is to advance gross deception within the recipient. This is a harmful illusion. The lesson in this is be careful what you ask for. You just might get it and other things along with it you didn’t ask for. This is the trickery of ungodly progress.

How Do We Obtain Authentic Liberty? 

“Liberation is not found in escaping or manipulating what God requires of us, but it is found by embracing and being faithful to God’s ideals.”- Charles “Chuck” Colson and Nancy Pearson, How Now Shall We Live (1999)

In Niebuhr’s words, our culture has hastened the exposure of the limits of what worldly progress/liberty can bring. There are far too many deceived in these last days.

Lord Jesus, we pray that those deceived would have the veil removed to clearly see that their freedom rests in You alone. May those pursuing ungodly progress be quickened in their hearts by hearing Your Word and be led to repent and recognize that true progress rests in our obedience to You, rooted in love for You. Jesus, You alone remain our intervention and deliverance from temporal and eternal ruin. Life in You is how we transform our country and our very lives.

Are you advancing decay or true liberty through Christ Jesus? The integrity of God and His Word are impeccable. Be very clear: God will not violate His integrity nor His Word. Those who seek liberties outside of His will are grossly deceived.

Why Are We Telling You This? 

At Voices Against the Grain, we present God’s Word to: 1- bring clarity and restoration so you can navigate successfully out of and away from deception, 2- to educate and equip you in God’s truth for abundant living—so you can truly live free as God designed, 3- to encourage you, and last, 4- to love you as we’re telling you the truth. Our platform messages, primarily geared for the Believer, also serve to educate the unbeliever.

We are grateful for our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ who are advancing God’s Kingdom alongside us and within their communities. Thank you for exposing deception with truth and transforming one heart at a time in the love of Jesus Christ, so that those transformed are empowered by the Holy Spirit to help transform others. This is progress.

-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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Are You Drinking the World’s Kool-Aid?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

“I always thought the deception would be harder for the enemy to pull off, but this generation has been presented with such degraded morality, that it is no stretch for people to accept such blatant blasphemies.”

 

Powerful words stated by a dear sister in Christ. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

Her words were shared during our conversation in response to this June 2014 Upworthy article that recently reposted, “There Are Six Scriptures About Homosexuality in the Bible. Here’s What They Really Say,” written by Erica Williams Simon, the daughter of two ministers. Ms. Simon notes that she studies the Bible “pretty closely.” Yet, deception abounds throughout her article in her true understanding of God’s Word. More importantly, her understanding is contrary to God’s character, design and nature. I was stunned by her conclusions but more so, I was grieved by her being deceived and potentially deceiving others (Kool-Aid).

 

Certainly, there’s nothing new under the sun. I never write these posts as if there is. Every sin committed today has existed since time began. Today, there’s simply more ways to do it, greater access to participate, more support to accommodate it and more opportunities for brokenness. It’s a mess. The pitcher of Kool-Aid that was sweet has soured. It’s no laughing matter.

 

kool-aid_featured
Anything not connected to the love of God is a counterfeit freedom. Counterfeit freedom produces momentary pleasure with its participants chained in brokenness. God’s design and intention IS for us to be truly free and not enslaved by the world’s trappings. John 10:10 (KJV) says so: 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

Then how can a Believer know His Word, know what it’s designed to do, experience His power in their own lives and still be deceived to drink the world’s Kool-Aid? As James 1:22-24 (ESV) reads:

 

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

 

A withering devotion to the Lord, no desire for critical thinking or for the pursuit of holiness, spiritual laziness and being fickle in Godly principles has enabled deception to occur in the Body of Christ.

 

Are you drinking the world’s Kool-Aid? Have you knowing the truth, been persuaded by a popular idea or lifestyle to exchange the truth for a lie? If so, Father please forgive us. Help us to courageously live out Your Word, Your Word which does not change.

 

Heavenly Father, help us to deliver Your Word as You have intended—not by how we think it should be interpreted to appease our and others’ self-interests. Help us pursue holiness, being unmoved in Godly principles in a world that daily pushes the envelope to satisfy self-interests and seeks our support for doing so. Let us remain holy, set apart, called out from the world for Your purposes so we can be light in darkness, to help free the captives. 

 

Revelation-1412
As my dear sister prayed, “God help the saints shine with the glory of Christ, who is in us and who made us for ‘such a time as this.’ May God raise up His saints in love and shock and awe victory over anything the enemy can manufacture, and help us destroy it with God’s truth and Spirit. For by Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary, You have declared in Your Word our victory is assured. Glory to you, Lord! Our hope is in You and our faith is in the true Christ and our labor is testifying to the true God, to Jesus Christ. We thank you for the honor of the labor to work in Your fields as you bring in the saints before the harvest of the unrighteous. Jesus, make us righteous and holy and worthy of the calling of our election.” 

 

There is no fitting substitute, God, for Your love, truth and freedom. There is no substitute for Your Word. Help us God to endure, to keep Your commandments and our faith in Jesus.

 

Amen.

 

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.

Hear in 3 Minutes What Satan is Up To

counterfeitSatan has done well to deceive the world. Unfortunately many have played into his hands. They thought they were pursuing paths of happiness, greater freedoms, quicker paths to prosperity and love, only to find themselves broken, empty and enslaved. What counterfeit schemes is Satan unleashing next? How do we stop this?

Listen to our 3-minute message on how you can successfully navigate around Satan’s counterfeit schemes and walk confidently in God’s Truth.

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.

 

 

 

Preacher Teacher: Compassion, Not Compromise

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Does your pastor preach that same-sex marriage is ok? Welcomes civil unions? Are they vague on whether homosexuality is a sin, as like all forms of sexual immorality? If this occurs in your church, you might pack up. There is a disturbing trend occurring among some church leadership to bend in the area of homosexuality and same-sex marriage/unions so as to not offend anyone. In a February 2014 Pew Research Center survey conducted, “62% of mainline Protestants now say they favor same-sex marriage, up from just 34% a decade earlier in 2004.”( June 2014 Pew Research Center) Truth is, if you love someone, you tell them the truth so they are no longer blinded. If God’s truth “offends” then it offends those who view God’s Word as an afront to their chosen lifestyle. God’s Word convicts and convinces us of what is righteousness and what is sin. Some ignore it to satisfy their depravities which have been stamped as “natural.” And now they’ve asked us as Believers to accept all forms of depravity as “natural” too.

So why tackle this hot seat topic today? As you sit in your Sunday morning service, I ask that you discern what those in leadership are imparting to you. Meet it with Scripture.

When I read the headline of this July 2 Black Christian News article, “Baptist Pastor Who No Longer Believes Homosexuality Is a Sin is Obama’s Guest at White House LGBT Pride Month Reception,” I said, “Whaat??”

To explain the long story short,  Danny Cortez, who leads New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., rejected his denomination’s stance on homosexuality by deciding to accept the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community without teaching that homosexual behavior is a sin. He and his 15-year-old son, Drew Cortez, who came out as gay earlier this year, received an invitation to a June 30 White House presidential reception, celebrating LGBT Pride Month. About the event, President Barack Obama said, “This tremendous progress we’ve made as a society is thanks to those of you who fought the good fight, and to Americans across the country who marched and came out and organized to secure the rights of others,” Obama said at the reception.

 

Courtesy of New Community Church

Photo Courtesy of New Heart Community Church

In a similar Christian Post article, it states that in June “New Heart split following the pastor’s decision to transform the church into a “Third Way” church.” As a “Third Way church,” the Southern Baptist congregation would “accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgment,” says Cortez. Prior to arriving at this “Third Way” decision, the church reviewed their traditional views to determine if they should adopt a new position on same-sex marriage. 

 

Again, I reread this information and said, “Whaat??”

While Pastor Cortez properly nailed the “not cast judgment” part as how a Christian should view others, and while I have compassion for the conflicted feelings and confusion their son Drew must struggle with concerning his sexuality, and while I have compassion for Pastor Cortez and his wife as parents grappling with this news in a private and public manner, and while I have compassion and love for those in my life and community who consider themselves gay, AND while I mostly have a high regard for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, I’m led to expose the deception and problems that lie therein. Some would say, “Nicole, who cares. It’s not your concern.” Frankly, it would be easier for me to duck out on the issue and remain silent. Yet, silence and tolerance in order to “go along” have blended the wheat with the tare; blending the true with the false. God is separating the wheat from the tare to reveal who is who. As an Ambassador of Christ, He orders my steps to bring light and truth to deception so clarity can be restored.


What you need to know:


1. Feed Them Truth, Not Lies.
To God’s People, if we love the Lord, Jesus’ command to us: “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)  There is a heavy accountability and responsibility for those called to lead God’s people/sheep. We don’t take, add to, or distort God’s Word for our gain or to gain favor with others. Pastor Cortez has corrupted God’s Word to earn favor and to better cope with his son’s chosen lifestyle. While twisting God’s Word to rise in the eyes of others, these faulty shepherds are aiding in deceiving those to walk in their destruction if these sheep have not studied God and His Word for themselves. Good shepherds feed sheep the truth, not lies. They shirk being ‘comfortable’ and seek to sober a decaying world. I believe God is raising up new shepherds and witnesses to succeed where faulty shepherds have failed. As for faulty leaders, “their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:3). God will handle that.

2. Compassion, Not Compromise.
 It saddened me to watch the 14-min video message from Drew Cortez sharing about his struggles with homosexual desires, not wanting those feelings, his “being confused and scared of being different and it worsened as I got older.”  (View video here).  I have compassion for Drew and am praying for him. As my friend and brother-in-Christ Hakim Hazim shared, “A Christian’s walk is often challenged to show compassion and love for those who express and promote opposing views that contradict God’s Word.”  As God’s Elect and Ambassadors of Christ, we are asked to “deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)  We all struggle with something and none of it is new under the sun. We may have unhealthy or unnatural desires but through Christ Jesus, we ask His help to not engage in those behaviors. Spirit and flesh battle daily. The more we desire a heart of Christ, the more we will work to put those habits underfoot. The good news as found in 1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (New International Version) While Christians are to be compassionate and loving toward others in their struggle, this doesn’t mean we compromise God’s Word so we fit in and make them more comfortable. Pastor Cortez got this twisted. 

3. God Will Not Compromise His Name, Character or His Word.
 God’s Word is forever settled. I could say, “Father please compromise so I can live the way I want.”  “Compromise” means “a settlement of differences through mutual concession.” But truth is, if God compromised who He is, His Word or His promises, it would mean our defeat. His promise of eternal life, His equipping us to walk in full victory over temptation would be rendered empty, null and void. Does a good parent compromise the safety and life of their child to cater to that child’s harmful whims? No. So it is with our Heavenly Father. God’s Word is not subject to compromise, concession or vote as is a democracy. God will not compromise His character so we may gain favor with man. Clearly, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, says “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10- nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” Then v. 18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside of his body, but he who sins sexually, sins against his own body.”

4. Same-Sex Marriage: The New Satanic Agenda.
 Too many Christians have become accepting and comfortable with the ways of the world. So comfortable, they’ve joined the party line. It is crucial for God’s people to discern the authentic from the counterfeit. The only way we can discern truth from lie is to spend time in God’s Word, in His Presence and surround ourselves with those who also walk in and instruct His truth. Satan attempts to counterfeit everything of God, including God’s design for male and female relationships, marriage and sex (yes, in that order). The kingdoms and systems of this world (including political) are being handed over to the devil. A satanic agenda is being reflected (even through some of our church leadership) as we’ve never seen before. It is in this time that true “ride or die” Christians are being called forth to deliver godly clarity, correction, direction and instruction where confusion and deception have taken root and spread like weeds.


As our brother-in-Christ and Christian rap artist, Crucial, says in his song “Homosexuals” from his Hard Truth album:
“But man, don’t you know the devil’s been in pursuit? Deception wouldn’t be deception if it didn’t seem true.”  (Hear more on iTunes, track #11.  Thanks Crucial! Catchy beats produced by a former lesbian now sold out to Christ Jesus! We’ll invite her for a future radio show to share her story.)

Your call to action:

 

God’s Word has prepared His People to endure and empower others in these and all situations. As told in 2 Timothy 4:2-5:

2-
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3- For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4- They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5- But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (New International Version)

 

1. Pray for clarity to be restored among those deceived and that faulty leadership is removed.

2. If you’re deceived, seek truth in God’s Word.

3. Pray and remain compassionate for the Cortez Family, and others grappling with this issue and that clarity be restored to them.

 

As for President Obama, he is caught up in a system that has long been given over to the world.

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.

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)

 

 

The Kingdom is Inseperable from the Gospel

PLEASE READ. Those who preach the “prosperity gospel” for selfish gain have hijacked God’s Word from its true intention.  Because of this blatant distortion of God’s Word that many have fallen prey to, I am compelled to share the following Freedom Squared blog post written by dear friend, mentor and colleague, Hakim Hazim.  The blog post, “The Kingdom is Inseperable from the Gospel” is part of their Self-Deception Series. In the post he writes, “The gospel is not about health and wealth, it is not an insurance policy from the lake of fire. It is good news for the elect. To focus on anything other than the one who saves is to make salvation a means to an end.”

Thank you Hakim for sharing with us this timely message to successfully discern truth from deception.  Read it below.

Hakim_Bio_Photo_in_Grey_SuitThere has been quite a bit of noise and controversy made in recent decades regarding preaching and doctrine. Perhaps the rapid expansion of the prosperity/wellness gospel and the insurance gospel are not indicators of revival but men’s ability to hijack and distort God’s word. The two spring from the same tree: man’s self-seeking heart.

To be more specific, the health and prosperity gospel are tied to securing benefits in this that alleviate or eliminate physical suffering or deprivation of any type. The insurance gospel rests on the idea that a sinner can say a prayer and be indemnified from eternal judgment, if he is sincere at the moment he says it. These notions of the gospel perpetuate the deception that man can be in charge of his temporal and eternal destiny by sincerity and believing alone. Although these sentiments are understandable from a human vantage point, they fall short of historical, biblical standards. God must give us the faith to believe and purify our hearts so that we can be sincere. These doctrines are made in America and made for Americans, but they are foreign to the sound teaching of scripture.

Election teaches us that God examines, draws and secures the hearts of all who will ever belong to Him. The gospel issues from the sovereignty of God and is but one aspect of governance from His vantage point. We would do well to remember this in a humanistic age.

The gospel is not about health and wealth. It is not an insurance policy from the lake of fire. It is good news for the Elect. To focus on anything other than the one Who saves is to make salvation a means to an end. The Lord despises the misuse of His word for selfish gain, but He is also quick to forgive those who repent of this (We have all done it in some manner or form). The Kingdom is moving and you will move with it or it will move against you. Lay hold of it friend. Lay hold of it.

Here is a good read that amplifies some of the points I have made: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom-of-god/

About Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim, author of several published books and articles, nationally recognized criminality and national security theorist is the co-founder of Freedom², which focuses on believers in America and other free societies. Hakim, who is based near Boise, Idaho, was raised Muslim and is a born-again Christian since 1993. Daniel Jackson, a former youth pastor, is the organization’s other founding member and technology expert with a Fortune 500 company. Other project partners include researcher Charles Holmes, Jr., and Dracy Jenkins. Hakim is also the founder of the Christian-based national security consultancy, Relevant Now, which provides clients with ”timely, insightful and transformative information.” Hakim has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from the California State University San Bernardino.

 

Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Hi Dear Friends. I am delighted to share with you the following LifeKEYS devotional written by Pastor Colin Smith sent by dear friend and sister in Christ, Rachel Hart.  Pastor Smith created LifeKEYS as a tool to “unlock the Bible and help persons to experience more than just information, but a life-changing transformation through Jesus Christ.” Pastor Smith’s devotional below, is short, to the point and unquestionable in meaning. Please read “The Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin.”  Thank you Rachel for allowing me to share this message with others. -Nicole

 

By Pastor Colin Smith

 

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan… 2 Thessalonians 2:9                                                  Bitter rotten fruit

If sin is the secret activity of Satan at work in the soul, what does it produce in a person’s life?

1. Deceptionwith all wicked deception… (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Evil deceives; that is its nature. Where you find sin attractive, that is where Satan deceives.

2. Perishingfor those who are perishing. (2:10)

For those outside of Jesus Christ there is an unraveling of life that is going on, a taking down, a becoming less. By nature we are perishing.

3. Refusingbecause they refused to love the truth… (2:10)

The greatest barrier to faith lies not in the doubts of the mind, but in the desires of the heart.

4. PleasureAll… who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2:12)

“Had pleasure in unrighteousness” explains why they “did not believe.” Where the heart loves wickedness, the mind cannot embrace the truth.

5. Delusiontherefore God sends them a strong delusion… (2:11)

When a person keeps resisting Christ and pushing him away, God eventually gives him or her over to what he or she desires.

6. (False) Beliefso that they may believe what is false. (2:11)

When a man feels that he is his own God, his own law, and that he stands on his own goodness, you know he has swallowed the lie.

7. Condemnation

All [will] be condemned who did not believe the truth… (2:12)

This is why we need a Savior, and why we rejoice in these words: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”(Romans 8:1)!

Welcome to Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Aahh…my shoulders relax, I draw a deep breath and smile. I have finally exhaled.   A project that has been shaping for months has now taken form.

For those who don’t know, my name is Nicole D. Hayes. Click on the “About” tab to learn my background and beliefs.

What is “Voices Against the Grain”?

“Voices Against the Grain” is a blog and weekly online radio show (show starts Wednesday, September 4!) daringly designed for audiences to learn and share how to advance God’s Kingdom in a “do your own thing,” consensus society. We challenge the status quo. We do not conform to the norm. We will feature conversations from everyday people to celebrities and other figures who are operating in obedience to God’s Word in a challenging world. These special voices are thankfully “too bold to leave His work in their lives untold.” In a world of unrelenting changes, there is One whose Word, whose promises, and whose authority remains unchanged:  Jesus Christ.bold_t1

How Did the Project Start?

I spent months quietly gaining clarity and discernment from the Holy Spirit on how He would have me to serve as a vessel to distribute light, salt and truth into this confused and dark world. I wrote notes on what He was pouring into my spirit, still uncertain of the platform or vehicle in which to deliver “this” effort.  Since May 2012, God has placed me in spaces to deliver bold messages. While sometimes uncomfortable, it has become 100% freeing.  To straddle and shape-shift more than three decades of living between the politically correct and sharing God’s truth for me is exhausting, brings feelings of constraint and forces tweaked messages for various audiences to keep everyone smiling and at ease. I’ve lived for God since age 12, increasingly so—but not in every space can you speak openly about “God” or “Jesus Christ.”

God has continued to “push me out front,” as a mouthpiece for Him, increasing my boldness. I could ask, “Why me?,” though I know He has equipped and authorized me for this position. It was during a mid-March 2013 conversation in my dentist’s chair that something definitive clicked in my spirit to inform and shape the contours of “this.” My dentist (who is Christian), she and I spoke sadly about various celebrities and media that have negatively influenced our way of interacting with one another. How does one successfully navigate in a society that packages and perpetuates various deceptions to make people “feel good”? And what if you don’t support the world’s deceptions? Will you be considered to lack morals to do what is good for all mankind?  If you’re not part of the “get along gang,” will you be viewed as inharmonious to the collective impulses of society? Hmm…maybe we’re onto something here.

My dentist ultimately desired to see a platform created for people whose daily living honors God so others would know and be encouraged that such role models exist. That they need not turn to worldly celebrities whose lifestyles suggests freedom but are actually warped and wrapped by untold bondages. My dentist asked me, “How can we be a voice to inform those people who truly want to live free and not feel they must conform to society’s values?”

Therefore, I introduce to you, “Voices Against the Grain.”

Why is a Platform like “Voices Against the Grain” Necessary? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As my dear friend Hakim would say, “Because you need to know.” God has made His Word known to us, for those willing to hear. He desires we know these things about life so not to be fearful or surprised—but to be prepared, respond accordingly and remain in peace while doing so. As Jesus said in John 16:33 (New International Version): “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Key Objectives for “Voices Against the Grain” Blog and Radio Show:

  • To Bring Clarity and Restoration from Deception.  God’s Word is a sword that will cut to the deepest places, bringing undeniable truth to those willing to receive it and to those seeking healing and true freedom, true love and true peace.  His Word blows away the fog so ultimately, confusion is removed and clarity and restoration can occur.
  • To Educate and Equip. We share God’s truth for abundant living to help you successfully navigate in an ever-changing world with a God who is forever constant. God’s Word is not subject to consensus or vote, as in democratic societies.
  • To Encourage. Through stories shared by other believers, we encourage others to know they are not in this struggle alone—and with God, we are never alone.
  • To Love in Truth.  We are committed to showing love while sharing the truth; our intent is not to disparage anyone—only to disparage Satan and his counterfeit schemes. This is not to say the truth won’t hurt and won’t punch you. It may. How much truth can you take? We will love you in the process. He has loved us in truth and we extend the same to you.

Curious what we will discuss? Seeking truth amidst confusion?  We’ll discuss hot topics such as (but not limited to):

  • God’s design for relationships, marriage and sex
  • Relationship Identifiers: Fruit-bearers or extractors?
  • U.S. and world policies that will enslave
  • Successful business leaders who don’t cut corners
  • Waiting on God in a “need it now” world
  • Unraveling false belief systems
  • Helping young people thrive with God in a confused world
  • Religion and Doctrine vs. Relationship with God
  • “Yellow Pages Christianity”
  • What is God doing today
  • Understanding the enemy’s strategies
  • “Can I just be a ‘good’ person?”
  • Being a lamp on the hill in a world controlled by darkness
  • Navigating through politically correct systems and workplaces
  • Enjoying real peace, and more

I invite you to read our blog. Visit the “Radio Show” tab and listen starting Wednesday, September 4! Our “Bold Voices” tab will direct you to the testimonies from our featured bloggers and show guests. Their candid stories will inspire and reassure you we all have a bold journey to walk out and can do so triumphantly with God. Not all of us started with God. Some thought they were happily living the world’s promises until the world left them ‘wrecked’ and empty. God restored them. Now knowing the truth, they boldly press forward. They are lampstands on a hill lighting the way for others trapped in confusion and darkness.

We’re excited you’re here. Please also tell us what topics you want to learn about.  Thank you and welcome to “Voices Against the Grain,” where we are “too bold to leave His work untold.” We look forward to interacting with you. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for and supported me in this effort.

 Blessings,

 Nicole