No Belief

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him– John 12:36-37 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

In the preceding verses, here we find Jesus explaining to the crowds and his disciples why he must die. Die? Yes, this was the one that many saw perform miracles in healing the sick, driving out evil spirits from tormented souls, and even raising the dead! But Jesus knew their hearts. He knew people viewed him merely as a miracle worker but didn’t believe on him as Savior of their souls.

That sounds like some of us today. Oh, we know God as the one who blesses and works miracles for us but do we know him as Savior? When we get on our knees to pray, are we merely asking him for more and more material things and neglecting to thank for him for the salvation of our souls? Do we truly believe in our hearts? The fact of the reality is a lot of us believe in Jesus Christ, the God-man, for what he CAN do for us but NOT for what he DID do for us which is die on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day defeating the power of death and offering to us eternal life for those who believe in him.

We would be wise to mirror the faith of the father who brought his son to Jesus to be healed from an evil spirit. The Bible says this man said, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”-Mark 9:22-24 This attitude the man demonstrated is one of trust and confidence in Jesus even for his faith!

Ephesians 2-8, 9For By Grace You have been Saved through faith

For faith is not something that we can obtain on our own but it is a gift from God. For the Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.         –Ephesians 2:8-9

Yet, it concerns my soul for those who believe but refuse to admit it publicly for fear of rejection or ridicule from people. Oh they would be more concerned about God’s eternal acceptance than the temporary approval of their peers.

May they remember Jesus Christ’s truthful warning: “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 For a time is coming and indeed it is here now where many people will be deceived more and more by the evil one Satan. Hearts will be hardened and more people will not believe. Friend, I pray with all the love in my heart that you believe in Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul.

For the Bible says, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” –2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 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.

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Seeking My Lord

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. –Psalm 105:4 (New International Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If someone asked you, “Do you ‘seek’ the Lord?” How would you respond? When you arise in the morning, is God who you first think about or do you think about him as you go on about your day? The Greek word for “seek” is zéteó, which means “to look for or search or desire.” It also means “to inquire of or investigate.” In other words, for what or whom you’re seeking you want to get to the bottom of it. Are we really seeking the Lord with all our strength, all our hearts, and all our souls? Or are we too busy for him?

When you are truly seeking the Lord you are demonstrating that you have a desire to go further in your relationship with him. In fact, he wants you to know him. He yearns for an intimate relationship with you. He knew you before you thought you knew yourself. He said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:13 Someone might say, “I try to pray to the Lord and it seems like he doesn’t respond or God does not ever listen to me.” Friend, I want to assure you that God still speaks and he speaks to us all the time.

If you’ve trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, he speaks loud and clear through the Holy Spirit. But often times there are still sins in our lives that we need to eradicate in order to continue to be led by the Holy Spirit, deepening our relationship with Christ to become more and more like him. Do not continue to live in your sins. Do not quench the Spirit-1 Thessalonians 5:19. For the unbeliever, there is still time to repent. Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.”

“Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”-Isaiah 55:7-8

The man after God’s own heart, King David, knew very well how to seek the Lord and be in his presence. He recorded many years ago, “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;” -Psalm 15:1-2

Oh how I’m saddened for the one who doesn’t believe in God to seek him. How my heart is concerned for the destruction that waits for them if they do not repent. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” -Psalm 14:1 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.-Hebrews 11:6

 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.

And I Rise

Mark 11:23-I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. (New Living Translation)
Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If we believe, then we can achieve… Greatness, in its highest form. If we believe, then we can achieve… Powerful testimonies that will stir the hearts of many who could sympathize with that event and/or circumstance. If we believe, then we can achieve… A higher level of faith. For the one who clings onto the belief that his turmoil will change will resemble a Phoenix risen from the ashes. Therefore, each moment we spend depressed is time lost. Time that could’ve been saved, if we sought to hold onto the truth of God’s Word. Patience that could’ve been nurtured if we waited for God’s timing instead of our own. For actions done without faith are as useless as hot air balloon without any hot air. Hence, we will be grounded, rather than floating amongst the clouds. 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.

Don’t Believe? Just Watch

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. (For we walk by faith, not by sight).  

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If you have ever heard “you can’t do it,” or “that is impossible” I urge you to recite this phrase: Don’t believe me, just watch… Us as we climb the mountain of improbability. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as we corner the elusive fly of ill-repute and crush it beneath our boot. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as God multiplies our territory to serve His purpose in order to maximize our greatest potential. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as we shun every fear of failure, even when the world tells us we should give up. Don’t believe just watch…Hence, our faith is the lamp to which we will illuminate our path. It is the essence that breeds hope and ensures confidence in the journey we were set on. For the concerns of success and the likelihood of Tom’s forecast are placed in his hands, instead of our own. Thus, may we stand with the patience of Job and the courage of Daniel, as God works everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). 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.

Faith to Trust God’s Plans

“I don’t see the big picture. I don’t have a clue. But I know God does. I’m going to declare that, even if I don’t feel it right now.” — Steven Curtis Chapman, Christian singer-songwriter

 

Jeremiah 29:11NIV  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 
Jeremiah 29:11NASB 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope
 
Jeremiah 29:11ASV 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.
 
Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Absolutely one of my favorite scriptures to stand on when I am struggling with making a decision or when my well-laid plans have come up empty.  It’s interesting that no matter how it’s translated, a few things stand out to me:

 
1. God knows!  I don’t, but God does.  I am so thankful that He does.  So what does He know?  His thoughts and His plans for me/us.

 

2. God says/declares!  Hallelujah!  When God speaks, it is so, it is done!  You can take what He says to the bank, to the boardroom, to the doctor, to the courtroom.  You can especially take what God says or declares to the most important place of all…the mirror. (I’ll let that one sink in for a minute.)

 

3. God’s thoughts/plans for me/us is for our good and NOT for our harm.   Let me repeat the last part…NOT FOR OUR HARM.

 

4. So then, what does it mean when bad things happen to us? When our plans don’t turn out the way we wanted them to?  What it simply means is that points 1, 2 and 3 are STILL in effect!  Our circumstances, our plans, our situations does not change the facts that God knows, God has said and declared and that His thoughts and plans are for our good…period!  Now the final point from this scripture:

 

5. Everything God has done and is doing is to give us hope for the future. The future that He has prepared for us.  To be with Him for all eternity.

 

No the journey is not smooth and laid out with roses and a sweet smell.  I have not read in God’s Word where He has said or declared that it would be. But His Word is filled with a hope and a love that tells us that He longs for us to love Him, to trust Him and to depend solely upon Him.
 
I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I may be told that my job has been eliminated and my services are no longer needed. The doctor may tell me that the pain I have in my body means that I have only a few days left to live. No matter what bad news may come, it will never change the fact that God is bigger and greater than anything we will face in life. It will not change the fact that God is the creator of all and He alone is in Charge! He sits on the throne of glory and Christ is at His right hand.
 
We can make all the plans we want, and believe me I have made many. But if they do not line up with what our Heavenly Father has put into place, we will never achieve the fullness of life that God has prepared for us.  Now here’s the final piece of the puzzle for you this morning. WE must decide if what God has planned for us is satisfactory.  Is it okay that what God thinks is good for us, is acceptable?  Isn’t that absolutely crazy when you think about us deciding if what God wants for us is acceptable? ( Lord, please forgive me for my foolish thinking.)

 

Here’s a thought to consider and maybe for us to declare today: Lord, I want to know your ways and will for my life above all else. And then, to have the faith to walk in the way you desire for me. 
 
I like quoting Jeremiah 29:11.  But if you go down to verse 13, you will understand the key to God’s declaration.
 
Jeremiah 29:13NKJV 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
 
It is easy to place our plans in front of God and beg and/or demand that He approves them.  But if there is one thing I have come to learn in my limited time here is that it’s not about my plans.  It’s not about what I want.  It’s solely about what God has ordained, through His Word and Will for me.
 
Yes, I/we have been allowed to choose which plans to go after.  Ours or God’s.  Think about it and choose wisely.
 
Thank you Lord. You have been there for us, even when we have not realized it. You know our coming and our going and you have prepared the perfect path for us to travel. We thank you that when we get off this path, the Holy Spirit guides us back to it. We desire, want and need so much. Help us to realize that all we need is You. Let the light of your love shine in and through us today. We sing praises of your goodness and mercy today. Thank you Lord for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

Have a very blessed day and weekend, knowing that God will always be there when you call.

 

Minister Dracy
After God’s Own Heart Ministries
Luke 4:18-19 …to bring Good News…

A Generation’s Confidence in Christ Equips the Next

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (New King James Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Some of the wisest words written. Raised in a Christian home, I am a bi-product of such wisdom, enacted by my parents and family members who told us of God’s love, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. I, along with my brother, cousins and a host of relatives are reaping the fruits of obedience sown by our family’s legacy of faith in God that extends many generations. We are experiencing Exodus 20:5-6.

During this past Wednesday’s Voices Against the Grain radio show, I enjoyed authentic and inspiring conversations with godly women in my family as we wrapped up this month’s series, “March with Us, March with Her.” I was joined by my aunt Alyce Brown, aunt Lilly Hayes, cousin Cheri Brown and Grandma Thelma Hayes,  and delighted in sharing them with you. In our conversation of “Celebrating Faith and Family,” we reflected on the prayers and faith-living we saw through relatives past. We discussed how prayer and worship has changed over the decades. We also shared words to equip the next generation in Christ for successfully navigating in this challenging world.

 

Forever Mercy Exodus 20 and 6

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) This truth has compelled Believers to confidently tell others the power of God’s love, despite the world’s hate for such engagement. The world would rather we embrace other options to make our lives “easier” so we are not rejected by the world in our living for Christ. Yet, Jesus tells us in John 15:18-19 that, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19- If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”  As Christians, we should never want to be comfortable in this world. Only Jesus Christ offers us true hope, peace, redemption from our sins and life everlasting. Nothing the world offers compares and can only best serve as a counterfeit.

We have received inspiring comments shared about how our conversation reminded you of your family’s faith legacy and foundation in God. For some of you, your family resembles mine—many generations who’ve stood upon Christ, the Solid Rock. For some of you, you or your parents may be the first generation of Believers who are boldly sharing this greatest gift with your loved ones, neighbors, community.

How has God revealed himself in your life? In your family? Please comment! I’d love to know. Thank you for listening! If you missed the episode or previous shows, click here

Being Transformed Step by Step

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Since early 2013 to-date, I’ve witnessed transformations God has made in my life—some visible to others and some not. Some of the transformations only I am privy to, which makes the internal testimony and affirmation of His work even greater to me. The habitual planner in me has handed the reins over to Him, allowing Him to prepare my next steps.  I am already experiencing the fruit of this transformation by allowing Him to lead, trusting Him to bring it all together in His perfect way. While I like details, in this case I don’t have to know how He’s going to work it out. It’s an act of faith and trust that I am enjoying too! Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (New American Standard Bible) Believe it!

Are you ready to experience the same? You won’t regret it. 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.

LET MY LOVE ENFOLD YOU in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.   Let-God-Hold-Your-Hand

Accompanying Scriptures: Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name.” 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.” Psalm 73:23-24, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24- You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into your glory.” (New International Version)

Go Out On a Limb with Him

Got a dream? Got faith? Promise, He’s got you, and its out on the limb where your purpose manifests.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version). Today’s post is from the daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Each devotional is written from perspective of Jesus speaking to you.

BE WILLING to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.

why not go out on a limb

Let Me lead you step by step through this day. If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid. Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of your journey together. As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.

Accompanying Scriptures: Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (New International Version)

Few Details? Still Follow

I like to read and share devotionals from the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. The devotionals are rooted in scripture and presented in the perspective of Jesus speaking to you. Today’s message spoke to me. It encourages us to follow God in His calling for us, even if we’re unsure of the details. We must learn to trust His direction!

BE WILLING TO FOLLOW wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don’t know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough! Some of my richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, but nonetheless very real. To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith—not by sight. This doesn’t mean closing your eyes to what is all around you. It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul.

Follow JesusSometimes I lead you up a high mountain with only My hand to support you. The higher you climb, the more spectacular the view becomes; also the more keenly you sense your separation from the world with all of its problems. This frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence. Give yourself fully to these Glory-moments, awash in dazzling Light. I will eventually lead you down the mountain, back into the community with others. Let My Light continue to shine within you as you walk among the people again.

Accompanying Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” Psalm 96:6, “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.” Psalm 36:9, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” 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.”  (New International Version)