Grateful in the Wait

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Does it seem like everyone is being blessed except you? You’ve been faithful, obedient to what God asks, yet some of your requests presented to Him appear delayed with no Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). Living in a “microwave generation,” we want everything NOW.

Like you, I am waiting on God for some answers also. As I wait, I have asked, “Lord, where are you at on this? When are you going to release me from this situation?” Silence.

I write this message to minister to you and me. How can we remain grateful and joyful in the wait and not become depressed about requests God hasn’t yet answered? Here are five tips:

    1. Time is a Trainer. For those of us who’ve journeyed with the Lord for a while, we’ve come to learn that time is a trainer. Time develops our faith and trust in God and His holy Word. We’ve learned that He is not bound by time and therefore, can’t be rushed by our anxiousness. Time trains us to shed attitudes and behaviors that are not of Him so we can be more in alignment with His will. Time trains us to develop our muscle and weight in character, integrity, credibility, competency, perseverance, love, patience, and other traits that can’t be acquired overnight. Time trains us to victoriously run the race, equipped to address life’s opportunities and challenges. I’ve experienced this development in my journey and review it with joy!

Grateful in waiting 1

2. God Prepares a Place for Prepared People. As stated in tip #1, time is a great agent to develop character traits and skills necessary for us to move into and occupy that next level. Would you want to enter that role without the necessary preparation and refinement? Not if you want to operate in a spirit of excellence. As God prepares you to occupy that new level, He is also lining up the people, provision and resources to sustain you in your new role. God is excellent and will not do things half-baked. Allow Him to properly prepare you to step into your prepared position.

3. Remain Faithful and Avoid the Shortcuts. As we wait, we’re subject to complaining and may consider other options. Satan will present you with shortcuts that promise to deliver quicker answers and rewards rather than waiting on God. Don’t take the bait. The enemy’s counterfeit offers have convinced many to accept and adapt to less than fulfilling plans and outcomes. Remain faithful in what God has asked you to do. Remain grateful for how He is preparing you in the process. You won’t be disappointed when the promotion comes.

4. Suffering: God’s Instrument to Mature and Propel Us into Our Destiny. From challenging employers, to dwindling resources, illness or persecution, our perfection will not begin until we undergo affliction. God will use suffering and trials as instruments to spiritually mature us to become more like Christ and to propel us into our destiny. Suffering produces qualities within us that would otherwise remain dormant. We must expect it, go through it and not consider it strange. “Great spirituality came out of the suffering of Paul, Stephen and others. So it will be with God’s People today. These are the authentic outcomes of the Christian faith,” says Hakim Hazim, author and co-founder of Christian think tank Freedom Squared.

5. No Good Thing Will He Withhold. Satan will try to convince you that “God has forgotten about you.” This is a lie. Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things you have stored up for those who fear you that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” God delights in blessing you! “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11)

God’s ETA is always on time, never late. He is not limited by our circumstances or rushed by our anxiousness. Remain grateful and joyful in the wait. He will exceed your expectations and greatest imaginations (Ephesians 3:20).

God bless you,

Nicole

(Article originally published on November 21, 2014 on GospelToday.com. Site no longer exists.)

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The Hardest Words of God to Read

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

The hardest words of God to read. Some people think the hardest word or words to hear from God are “no,” “wait,” “be still” or “forgive.”

While those may be tough words to hear at the time, these words struck me with great soberness:

24- Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25-They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27- In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28- Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  (Romans 1:24-28 NIV)

“God gave them over.”

One scripture commentary reads that God is “leaving them to the pollution of their nature; by withdrawing his providential restraints from them, and by giving them up to judicial hardness: through the lusts of their own hearts.”

Another commentary in that same text reads: “As they deserted God, God in turn deserted them.”

“God gave them over.” No divine intervention. Divine abandonment.

Man grieved

 

I had to let these words set in for a moment. I felt grief, sorrow. Still do. It’s perhaps the grief felt by our Heavenly Father when His children choose paths that will lead to their self-destruction, ignoring His repeated warnings and attempts to protect them against such decisions. Far worse, they were presented God’s truth and exchanged it for lies.

God is so loving, merciful and extends His grace toward us, over and over, and over, and over again. As humans we’re less forgiving toward people’s repeated rebellion.

For God, Who is so loving toward us, when He gives you over to your fleshly desires and says, “If this is what you want, here it is,” who else but God could bring you back from the brink of such destruction??

Heavy. I have to leave it here. I’m not deceived in thinking that everyone will forgo their fleshly desires to pursue Christ. But if there’s an opportunity for someone to receive life, I lift this prayer in earnestness:

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your amazing love, long-suffering , grace and tender mercies extended toward us. While those of us who are secured and sealed in Christ’s righteousness and therefore face no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) as we strive to be transformed each day into Christ’s likeness, we ask your continued patience as we plant seeds and show Christ’s love among those who are choosing destructive paths. We pray for one more time, that their hearts might be prepared for true repentance to seek Your Son Jesus. We pray that sin’s grip will be broken in their lives and they will be made whole. We pray they choose abundant and eternal life instead of eternal, spiritual death. Where they’ve made You absent, we pray they make You present and tell others of your wondrous love. Thank you, Lord. Amen. 

-Nicole

To learn more about what is accelerating our nation’s decay, please read “Consequentialism in Romans,” written by our dear brother in Christ, Charles Holmes, of Christian think tank, FreedomSquared.org. Powerful piece.

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.

 

Consequentialism in Romans

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Abortion. Evolution. Homosexuality. These are three of several hot-button issues that people approach with varying beliefs and opinions. Convinced in their minds of these beliefs and opinions, many have suppressed God’s truth/exchanged His Truth on these issues for a lie. But believing in a lie doesn’t make the truth any less true. Consequently, because of those who have suppressed the truth, we are seeing God’s wrath poured out in our communities, nation and world. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 (English Standard Version)

What happens when we push for such beliefs, freedoms and opinions and God lets us have it our way? When God turns us over to our own hearts, it’s like He is saying to us, “Is this what you really want?”

Charles Holmes, writer and FreedomSquared.org contributor

Charles Holmes, researcher and writer, FreedomSquared.org

Proud of my friend, VATG radio show guest, a prayer partner and brother-in-Christ, Charles Holmes, Jr., researcher and writer for Christian think tank FreedomSquared.org. I am pleased to share with you his excellent article “Consequentialism in Romans,” as the Book of Romans lays out the consequences to these issues. His article outlines the many ways that we suppress the truth and the real reasons behind the accelerated deterioration happening in our nation.

http://www.freedomsquared.org/consequentialism-in-romans/

I pray the message speaks to your heart in those places where you may have suppressed the truth. Thank you Chuck, for sharing this powerful message with us. God bless you.

-Nicole

ETA: Grateful in the Wait

Grateful-WomanDoes it seem like everyone else is getting blessed but you? You’ve been faithful, obedient, waiting on God to move. How can we remain thankful in the wait? Read our 5 tips shared in this Gospel Today article! We pray it blesses you. http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2014/11/21/eta-grateful-in-the-wait/

God’s Will For You Is On-Point

Good Day! Be grateful that God doesn’t want to leave you or me the same as we came into this world! What He has planned is better than we could imagine for ourselves. We simply need to be obedient to His will and His way. Sharing with you this devotional from Minister Dracy Jenkins, our brother-in-Christ who writes for web-based Christian think tank, Freedom Squared.  His devotional and their team member writings can be found on FreedomSquared.org.  -Nicole

“Rejoice in knowing that you belong to God and that He is conforming you to the image of His Son. See every event of this day as part of that process. Yield to the Spirit’s prompting, and take heart that God will accomplish His will.” — John MacArthur

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Romans 12:2 NLT Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Point 1:  We are to rejoice because God’s Will for us is good, pleasing and perfect!  Hallelujah!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Point 2: We are to be joyful and thankful in and through all things, because that is His Will for us.

Hebrews 10:10 NLT  For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Point 3: We are to live differently than what the world says is acceptable and politically correct.  Because of Christ, we have been made holy and provided the righteousness of Christ. Which also is God’s Will for us. It is in and through the power of Christ that we’ll no longer have to conform and fit into the world’s decaying morals and values.  We can remain above it because we have been called and empowered to. Hallelujah!

Hebrews 10:36 NLT 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Point 4: Because it is God’s Will to deliver to us everything He promised in His Word, we are to patiently wait and endure the test and trials that come our way.  Our reward for following Christ and surrendering all is already reserved for us.  Its ours and cannot be taken away.  We simply need to remain focused on Christ and all that His life and sacrifice on the cross has made available for us.

Father, we thank you that your Will be done.  Nothing can stop it; nothing can change it.  We are yours and you are ours.  We praise your Holy name today and give thanks for Your Son and Your ever-present Spirit.  Thank you for loving us so.  It’s in Jesus name we pray and praise you, Amen.

-Minister Dracy Jenkins
After God’s Own Heart Ministries, and
FreedomSquared

 

Crisis-Driven World, Crisis-Driven Saints

Breaking news financial crisisShootings. Earthquakes. Financial crash. Typhoons.  Wars.  In His Word, God forewarns us of turmoil to come. He tells us these things so we won’t be distressed. Yes, we have empathy and concern for those affected—but our faith should not be moved nor should our reactions become crisis-driven. Our actions should be Spirit-led.

Read the following excellent post written by Hakim Hazim, dear friend,Voices Against the Grain radio show guest, national security expert, author and co-founder of Christian think tank, Freedom Squared. His post, “Crisis-Driven World, Crisis-Driven Saints,” speaks to the crisis-driven media that sends many into crisis-mode, fleeing from their inherited peace and rest found in Jesus Christ. Thank you Hakim for allowing Voices Against the Grain to share this message with our readers.

John 16:33:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (English Standard Version) Biblos.com

Hakim Hazim, Co-Founder of Freedom²

Hakim Hazim, Co-Founder of Freedom²

Everywhere we look we are reminded of impending doom and worst case scenarios. There is something about the human soul that is attracted to good character, beauty and hope; conversely, we are drawn to and occupied by evil, fear and uncertainty. Try making a movie without those six elements and the heroes and antagonists who embody them, and you will ensure a flop. Art mirrors life.

As a species we nurse the wounds and injuries we have acquired over the years. We constantly devise ways to protect ourselves and loved ones that come up short. Long term hope seems in short supply and when good things happen our next question is, how long will it last? This sometimes drives us to conclude we should extract everything we can from situations or people that will benefit us because we never know when they will end. We become survivalists and takers—not givers as instructed by scripture. Living in a perpetual state of high alert concerning the potential crises we may face next, we lose sight of our Savior. The world is crisis-driven and unfortunately, so are many saints.

To remedy this, I offer some instruction. Consider the statement of Christ above. He said that we would face tribulation in the world. There is no way around it; so plan on it and accept it. Next, ask God how we can glorify Him in the crises we face. We were born in a turbulent ocean but He has given us the navigational tools for the journey and an arc—Christ, who will safely guide us home to the New Jerusalem. Our peace is knowing that He is with us in every crisis, and He has equipped us to face each one, even those of our own making.

We must learn to be Spirit-led, not crisis-driven. The noise and tumult demand our attention, but we don’t have to focus on to them. God is worth our undivided attention. Let us rest in that regardless of what is to come. He has chosen us; therefore when He moves us forward and we see something on the horizon, we should move forward whether it appears fortuitous or ominous.

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.