Do We Lift Up and Encourage or Tear Down and Destroy?

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

My heart sank to hear of actor Robin Williams’s death. This man brought so many of us laughter and joy. It saddens me to know that the happiness he so freely gave was the happiness he in turn so desired. Depression is real and plagues many. The Book of Psalms is filled with desperate pleas for help—and God’s ability to comfort us. We daily look to God to fill our empty spaces—and He does. I know there have been times in my life when I looked to man to fill the void yet man cannot. I began to ask myself how many people are on the brink of giving up.  Many like Williams probably can mask their hurt and pain very well. I know I can.

I remember a time when I was really struggling while on a business trip in Charlotte, N.C. I felt alone, rejected and extremely stressed out. I had to stop by the bank to cash a check. I went through the drive thru and after my transaction was complete the teller sent the money back to me in an envelope. On it she wrote, “It was so nice to see you today Ana. Have a great day.” I almost started to cry because her kind hello was just what I needed at that specific time.  The Lord also sent my fellow writer/friend the next day to take me out to lunch after church.  For me, the fellowship we shared was so uplifting at a very desperate time in my life. I praise God that they were tender to His voice and showed me kindness. How many people do you pass on a daily basis? Do you recognize that some of these people could really be struggling? Maybe a co-worker, boss, bank teller, server, roommate, etc. Are you lifting up and encouraging daily? Or tearing down and destroying? If you are reading this and are struggling yourself I encourage you to hold on dear friend.

God has big plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11), if only you call on His name and surrender all that holds you back from Him, He will show Himself faithful.

Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want 2- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3- He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5- Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (King James 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.

Intimacy With the Father

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” –Psalm 63:1-8

What an admirable and authentic intimate relationship we see in this passage of scripture between David and the father. At a time when it would have been understandable if David felt confused, alienated, afraid or hopeless, he decided that he would put his trust in God and give him praises. David had been crowned King of Israel and yet he had not yet taken the throne or began to rule. Instead he was sojourning from cave to cave and wilderness to wilderness running away from King Saul and other enemies. However, like a child who finds security in his parents, David consistently remembered the faithfulness of God. “The Lord will work out his plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”–Psalm 138:8

Friend, an intimate loving relationship with the Lord is of a different quality than that which we experience with people. Often times in our relationships with people we don’t go beyond the touch and feeling and are satisfied with what is presented on the surface. But the very reason we were created was for us to come into an intimate relationship with God. And the only way in which we can truly come to know him is if we transcend the physical into the spiritual. “For God is spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” –John 4:24 And we have the capacity to come to know him and worship in the spirit because we were made in his image. For the Bible says, “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” –Genesis 1:26

Friend, like David knew, God is personally INTERESTED IN YOU. Yes you! He wants you to enter into a loving spiritual intimate relationship with him that is beyond what you can see, touch, and feel. One that is open and transparent. A relationship that is loving, trusting, honest, and free. If you trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you don’t have to worry about judgment and him condemning you for what you have to share with him. This relationship is different than that you experience with people.

When you pray, EXPECT God to respond back to you. An intimate relationship with God requires real TIME and EFFORT. It’s a two-way street of prayer and listening. Hurriedness, pride, and rebellion will undoubtedly block us from the benefits of understanding, stability, security, and serenity we can experience in an intimate relationship with God.  Friend, I have named a few of benefits of intimacy with God. There is so much more. Spend time with him today. When we express love to God, we are giving ourselves to him totally and completely for his purpose to bring him joy. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guards your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 4:7 Amen. God bless you.

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. 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 nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.