Sleep With the Doors Unlocked??

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Who can imagine or remember it? I’m reading a book set in 1940’s South Philadelphia in a Black, close-knit community. In that era and before, folks attended church services multiple days during the week. They were there morning, noon and night WITH ALL of their six, seven or eight children in tow. Whether a Sunday service, bible study, choir performance, bake sale, community meeting, wedding or funeral, church was THE place to be.

In that era and in my grandmother’s day as a child (she’s now 100, God bless her!), these words were spoken by her and others: “Yeah, we used to sleep with the doors unlocked.” Huh?? Furthermore, she’d say, “We also used to sleep on the porch and nobody would bother us.” My grandmother lives in Kansas (where I’m from) and not the streets of Philadelphia, and was born in Oklahoma.

In comparing the geographical and demographic differences of Philly and Kansas and thinking of that era of 1940s and before, my mind cannot firmly conceive this possibility of sleeping with doors unlocked. It sounds crazy to me—leaving your doors unlocked—at night OR during the day. Sadly, those of us who are Gen Xers or Gen Y/Millenials cannot recall such a freedom or security in our lifetime. If mom and dad had to run an errand and my brother and I were home, they’d sternly look at us and say, “Lock the doors,” and “don’t answer the door for anyone.”

We lived in a predominately White, Kansas suburban/country neighborhood and school district. Our neighborhood was pin-drop quiet at night (except for chirping crickets) and relatively quiet by day with the exception of someone mowing their lawn, or the jubilant squeals of kids racing each other up and down the road on their bikes.  Even in those carefree days, we were told to “lock up.”

Sadly, even in as much as we hope, we will never return to a time of, “sleeping with the doors unlocked.” Such a time is non-existent. What happened? As I mentioned in my opening, communities were close-knit. People knew each other’s children, knew each other’s business, rallied together on issues that adversely affected the community, made do with what they had and were joyful in it. Their fellowship and commune with God was within and throughout, permeating their lives, neighbor’s households and community. Yes, as cozy and Pollyanna-ish as this sounds, make no mistake: those days birthed injustices, violence and devastating family secrets.

Psalm 91-2 sunset

But perhaps the closer ties to God and community strengthened them to hold up and hold each other up. Now, particularly those of us living in fast-paced urban communities, we may or may not know well our neighbors and certainly don’t know the intricacies of their lives, and maybe we’re not interested. And while parents were taking all of their six or eight kids to church in those earlier eras, unless the family is in regular fellowship with the Lord, you might see their one or two children at church or the parents may simply drop them off and return home.

Thinking of “sleeping with the doors unlocked,” I look fondly on those who experienced that security. For those of us who never experienced it and frankly never will, can we ever abide in a daily peace, comfort or security that will keep us steady and unnerved in these progressively evil days? For those reading this who are of that “sleep with the doors unlocked” generation, can you ever have peace and security again? Joyfully, yes.

The key is: trusting in God’s Word, His Promises and remaining in daily, regular commune with Him to where His Peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), carries and steadies us. Praise God!

I invite you to read Psalm 91 on God’s promises made toward those who trust in Him when fear threatens your security and peace.

May you trust in the Lord to keep you and cover you and may we share His Peace with others,

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.

 

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He Keeps His Promises, Rest Assured

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. – Hebrews 10:23

 

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Has someone close to you ever let you down by not keeping their promise? It can be an empty and hurtful feeling when someone you trusted does not fulfill what they promised. However, although men and women don’t always keep their promises, we can rest assured that God always does. You have come a long way in your Christian walk. If you will think about it, your entire Christian life is centered on a group of divine and unconditional promises that come from the Word of God. You believed in a promise that our Lord Jesus Christ could and would cleanse you of your sins past, present, and future and that when you die, you will be then absent from your body and present with the Lord for eternity. That is an awesome promise!

The scripture says that we have to hold tightly without wavering to the hope that we affirm. For holding tightly to God’s promises builds our faith and we begin to trust him in more areas of our lives knowing that he will be with us. Unlike us, God has never broken a single promise. In fact, he cannot. For to keep a promise, one must have character and ability. And God is perfect therefore having perfect character. For the Bible says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” –Numbers 23:19

“Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” –Ephesians 1:11 You say, “Well I’m not a Christian. Can God’s promises work for me?” Unfortunately not, as the Bible says, “in your unbelieving state right now you are living in rebellion toward God and considered an enemy, cut off, because of your sins.” But there is hope! It is a conditional statement from God that becomes an unconditional promise. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”-Romans 10:9-10

Friend, trusting in the promises of God is a sure thing every time. They will never return void. For He is the God of love and He is faithful. He is truthful and immutable. Trust the God of the Bible and you will never regret it. Amen.

-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.

 

Assured of His Promises

Psalm 119:38-“Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!,” is the well-known intro verse from the song hymn “Blessed Assurance” written by Fanny J Crosby. If you were assured of immortality, what would you do? Would you go skydiving? Would you traverse the Sahara desert in search of hidden jewels cached beneath the sand? What if you were assured infinite wealth? Would you go to Turks and Caicos and lounge in the sun? Would you buy a yacht to navigate the seven seas? If guarantees were possible, everyone would live in bliss. However, our lives here on Earth aren’t assured, which is why our hope must be in Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins and granted us eternal life. Too often we seek insurance to battle the unknowns in our lives, only to find out that not everything can be covered. Therefore, seek out that long-term investment plan to store and build the spiritual currency needed to garner a secured future. For the interest will triple and the blessings will rain down. 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 23, 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.