“This Must Go”

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it too. As Christians, there are times when we distinctly hear the Holy Spirit tell us that something in our life “must go.” As we grow in Christ, the Lord purges us of things that ensnare; things that hinder our promotion to the next level; things that prevent our effectiveness in God’s Kingdom. Ultimately, the purging and “this must go” is designed to transform us more into Christ’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When you hear God say “this must go,” how do you respond? Do you immediately obey given your love for Him, or are you reluctant to lose the thing or an activity you’ve enjoyed?

The “this must go” items could include removing secular music from your playlists, abstaining from alcohol, not going to the dance club (particularly if your growth is still immature and unable to handle fleshly temptations often present in club environments), distancing yourself from certain people who are not aligned with your Kingdom calling, not watching movies or TV shows because of their cursing, violence or overtly sexual content, etc. It could be bad habits, foul language, thoughts or deceptions. More items could be listed but you get the point. For some, our devotion to the Lord enables us to say “bye bye” to whatever it is, realizing it will impede our spiritual growth. However, sometimes when the Holy Spirit tells us that “this must go,” it can be like prying the favorite toy from a crying toddler. Yikes!

toddler tantrum

One of my “this must go” items was dumping the R&B music I previously enjoyed. Primarily, R&B music with overtly sexual overtones produced by such artists as H-Town, Jodeci, 112 and a HOST of others! For a while it was difficult to rid myself of these songs that I liked dancing to. Not so much for the lyrics but the beats. Soon after, my playlists became more infused with Christian music, gospel music and my appetite for the previous went away. If I hear it today, it’s like “yuck” and I have a visceral reaction to it. My body, mind and spirit are fixed on godly things!

Clear out clutter

What I know to be true is this: If you struggle to let go of something that the Holy Spirit has said to you “This must go,” I understand. Flesh wants what it wants. On the flip side, if you desire to grow in Christ, you have to clear out the clutter. Clearing out the clutter makes room for the new things God wants to pour into you. You can’t put new things in a jammed closet. Clear out the old and clutter from the closet. The clutter will indeed hinder you, despite Satan’s lies telling you that “you can have a little.” Our goal is to be more and more like Christ;  to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” as told in Hebrews 12:1. The more we fall in love with Christ, the more we lose an appetite for the things of old and gain an appetite for the desires of Christ. 

When God asks us to do something, He gives us enough grace and forgiveness to accomplish the task. God works with us even in our flaws. God gives us grace, forbearance, forgiveness, gifts, to support His objectives. Without His grace, we’d never achieve His objectives. We never go at it alone. He is with us.

When God tells you “this must go” it’s so you can go forward.

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.

Confessions of a Weak Mind

2 Timothy 2:13- If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (New Living Translation)
Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Here are some phrases that describe the frailty of the human disposition: God is not with me; God does not hear me; God is too busy to care about me. Next, are some questions to describe the lack of faith within the human spirit: If God is so loving, why would he allow this? If God hates greed, why is money given to those who have turned their backs to you? If God loves me, why must I suffer? Lastly, are statements that seem to stoke the rebellious flame within all human beings: God can’t expect me to follow this, it’s too hard; When things get rough, then I will turn to God; Everything I obtained was through the work of my own hands. Thus, may we realize that each scenario carries with it an endless supply of forgiveness and grace to which no individual could comprehend. So let it no be known that the God who is, will remain faithful even when we follow our own path contrary to His will. Amen (#God’s way)

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. 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.

 

Saved, Now What?

Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. – Psalm 103:43-46 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Relented.” A verb that means “to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving.” May the grace, love, and peace of Jesus Christ be on all those who have trusted in him as their Lord and Savior.  Many of us understand up to a point Jesus being our Savior but our lifestyles seem to strongly reflect that we have neglected to make him our “Lord.”  It seems evident that in our pride and arrogance we refuse to allow Jesus Christ to have ultimate authority, control, and power over the way in which we conduct ourselves and lifestyles. Thus, we ready ourselves to live a life of sin. We may say, “Oh! The grace of God and love is on my life surely the Lord knows and doesn’t expect me to be perfect? And so I can continue to treat my neighbor with malice, cheat here and there on my taxes, even drink and smoke everyday souring this body because after all I did trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior!”

My friend, that mindset could not be farther from the truth. I’ve only highlighted a few of the many excuses we use to deceive ourselves into believing for the sake of blindly retaining our sense of autonomy. But we forget the consequences of living lifestyles that characterizes sin. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. –Romans 6:1-4.

turn from your sin

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but grace. –Romans 6:12-14

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may we truly take this message to heart. May we rationalize sin no longer but aim to be truly doer’s of the Word and not merely just hearers. Jesus Christ lives and he continues to echo the words he spoke to the invalid man he healed thousands of years ago. Jesus said, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” – John 5:14 Friends, Let us not trample on the blood of Jesus Christ any longer by the words that we speak, our conduct, or anything else that contradicts the work of righteousness that is being worked out through him. 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.

 

 

Unmerited: God’s Grace

Philemon 1:25- May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (New Living Translation)

 Grace- a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.
 Mercy- compassion shown toward an offender.

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

These two words are the life jacket that saved us from the roaring seas. These two words were bred in elegance and brought to view through an honorable death. These two words allowed Jesus’ life-giving blood to flow. For it didn’t stain the ground, but mixed with it, which caused the skies to thunder and the ground to shake, because even the Earth knew that this was the Son of God. Thus, we were all destined to fail, BUT GOD intervened to save us from the clutches of darkness to lead us into the light. By this act, we know grace, mercy, and love, which illustrates how our lives (bought at a price) must act accordingly to being good stewards of the faith. However, may we always keep in mind that we are imperfect and might stumble along the way, hence the beauty of God’s grace that bears no expiration date. 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.

Walk in God’s Amazing Gift of Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9- Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (King James Bible)

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Something that was said during the March 26, 2014, Voices Against the Grain radio show episode entitled “Celebrating Faith and Family,” truly spoke to me.  One of the guests (Lilly Hayes) mentioned the importance of walking in grace.  I did not truly recognize exactly what it meant to walk in His grace.  I knew I was forgiven, set free and His amazing grace is what rescued me but I still was trying so hard to do everything right.  I can’t change my past or failures and I will continue to fall short—yet I have found hope in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ rest upon me.” (King James Bible)

His grace is so precious and so sweet and I am basking in it.  I can feel His peace within me and His grace and strength rest upon me. Once we truly “Fully” walk in His Grace we can see ourselves the way Jesus sees us.  We can walk in truth and know that through Him we are more than Conquerors and He alone is what is holding us togther.  We then must extend that same grace toward others along with mercy to those who mistreat us. By doing this, we are not only walking in grace but living in it.

I leave you with a song of encouragement (play video below):

“In Heavenly armor we’ll enter the land the battle belongs to the Lord

No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand the battle belongs to the Lord

We sing glory and honor power and strength to the Lord

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord

When the power of darkness comes in like a flood the battle belongs to The Lord

He’s raised up a standard, the power of His Blood the battle belongs to The Lord

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord

When the enemy presses in hard do not fear the battle belongs to The Lord”

 

Take courage my friend. Your redemption is near and the battle belongs to The Lord!

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.