Sometimes It’s the Way You Think

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Hi People! While Satan uses fear as a tactic to hinder our progress, could he also use your deceptive ways of thinking and processing of information against you? Yes. Sometimes it’s the way you think that is hindering you. I call this ‘distorted thinking.’

For your consideration and equipping in Christ Jesus against your and my stealth (but defeated) enemy Satan, I share with you a devotional written by one of my Regent University Robertson School of Government professors, Dr. Gary Roberts. Thank you Dr. Roberts.

 

 

Godly Reasoning

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

As servant leaders and human beings made in the image of God, one of the primary weapons that Satan uses to discourage and defeat us is fear in its various forms. However, fear is not the first weapon of choice as most people suspect. Satan uses our flawed mental information processing patterns as a weapon of deception.

For example, we all possess the tendency to accept the first reasonable cause or answer to a problem given our inherent impatience and desire to minimize time and effort. This is an example of a heuristical (mental shortcut) that subverts our reasoning and logic.

The bottom line is that we are “hardwired” to draw inaccurate and flawed conclusions from our mental analysis. In other words, we engage in both magnification and minimization of danger and risk based upon our personal circumstances and experiences.

Distorted thinking patterns cropped

If we had a painful experience at the dentist as a child, we then project a much higher probability of future dental problems than logic and experience warrants. We hence avoid the dentist increasing the probability of experiencing serious to life-threatening medical problems from decayed and infected teeth. Depending on our mood and personal experiences, we either affix positive or negative blinders. When we are discouraged and depressed, that molehill looks like a 25,000-foot mountain, and when we are inspired and optimistic, that march up the 25,000-foot mountain appears to be a jaunt up the hill.

negative-thinking-patterns-full

Man trapped in jar by his negative thoughts.

However, the greatest deception is to reason without God’s presence and power, the absence of spiritual reasoning or intelligence. With Godly reasoning, we recognize when God is ready and willing to move the mountain to the sea, and when what looks like a “jaunt in the park” becomes a time of life and death struggle in the desert.

Irrespective of which vision is accurate, the antidote to killing fear or a lukewarm complacency is the presence of the Lord granting us the strength and wisdom to face whatever circumstance with His life-giving power and protection. Reflect on the faithful promises of security in Psalm 91, and seek his wisdom!

Thank you Dr. Roberts for this equipping and encouraging message. If this message resonates in your spirit and you recognize your distorted thinking patterns, I pray right now that you would allow the Lord’s power to renew and transform your mind to His ways, to His Godly reasoning. For “you can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives you strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

God bless you,

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.

It Can’t Hold Me

 

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Job 4:14 -“Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled.” (New Living Translation) 

 (This is dedicated to RR) Fear is nothing more than a deceitful agent that robs us of our hope. Fear is nothing more than a cataclysmic event of our consciousness warring within our souls. Fear is nothing more than venom, which seeks to systemically shut down each one of our bodily functions, until the color leaves our faces. From dust we were configured. From God’s breath we were made alive. From His love and sacrifice we were made whole. Therefore, may we seek confidence over the likelihood of defeat. May we seek strength over the crushing vice of of uncontrollable circumstances. May we seek comfort over the bed of needles this world provides for rest. For the mission is a laborious one, packed to the brim with disappointments and unlikable scenarios. But it is God who leads us to the path of victory. Hence, our FEAR slowly transforms into COURAGE. A trait that will lead anyone to the promise land flowing with milk and honey. 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.  At his current age of 24, 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.

Worry No More

James 1:8- “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Today has afforded me great clarity. Moreover, today is nothing more than a siren to alert all who are fearful of their future lives. For today or tomorrow is not merely a time for relaxation in prep for our upcoming work week, but a time to prepare our minds to reflect on all that God has given us. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” Therefore, fear shakes throughout the resurgence of power from the supportive words of our elders, friends, and family. Fear quivers throughout the warmth of love, which covers a multitude of sins, and is the reason we know grace. Fear trembles throughout the reading of The Word as it steadies our minds amidst the distractions of the world. Therefore, allow God to be the anchor that grounds your ship. (Thank you Mr. Shipley for your guidance) 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.  At his current age of 24, 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.

GO Past Fear of the Unknown

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. GO past it.

As a young girl, I won a beauty pageant in our small Michigan town.  I became “Little Miss Hispanic Princess.” During the pageant, I planned to do a tap dance number. However, technical failures with the music stopped my routine.  The judges then evaluated us according to how we looked and the answers we gave to their questions.  I responded with a desire to help children and those in need.  At that young age, I am unsure if I fully understood such a concept.

Following that victory, I wanted to enter our town’s main beauty pageant called “Little Miss Blueberry.” However, my mother’s friend told her that the only girls who win have “blonde hair and blue eyes.”  I was neither. I had golden tan skin, brown hair and deep chocolate eyes. So, we did not enter the pageant. Fear held us back.  I remember the confidence I had from winning the first pageant quickly dwindled away as if I was inadequate to even enter the next.   go-button

My Mother is White and my Father, Puerto Rican. Interestingly, I won “Little Miss Hispanic” and didn’t even speak Spanish.  I write this not to criticize race or people’s opinions. I write this to encourage you to not allow fear to prevent you from stepping into the unknown.  At that point in time, I could have been the first Spanish girl to win “Little Miss Blueberry.”  God sees our heart and judges by our inward condition.  We judge by outward appearances.  I would not be here today if a Puerto Rican man hadn’t fallen in love with a White American woman.  In spite of my parent’s differences of race and language, they shared a strong common denominator that brought and has held them together. They share a love for Christ and they were both determined to fulfill His Perfect Will for their lives, and thus they have.

1 Samuel 16:6-7 (King James Version) 6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.

7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance. But the LORD looketh on the heart.

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.

Ana resides in Southern California with her three beautiful children and seeks daily to model this scripture from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”