Lord, Establish the Work of Our Hands

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17, New International Version)

Happy New Year!

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

To ask God to “establish the work of our hands,” it means we pray that He will bless and prosper the work in which we’re engaged. In advancing the work God has called us to, we can expect great joys. We will also encounter challenges—external and internal. If we’re unsure how to conquer those challenges, we’ll continue to miss our next level. The following tips will help you acknowledge your progress made last year and provide strategies to bring fruitfulness in 2015.

1. Overcome the Siege.  You are winning in some areas of your calling and in other areas, your activity has been hindered. The issue: you might be under siege. Say what? A siege is designed to interfere with you receiving instruction, to cause confusion and to hinder your forward movement. A siege will cut off your instinct to move forward so you remain stuck.  A siege is not always produced by external enemy forces. It can also stem from our negative thoughts. A “siege mentality” will suggest that “you can’t do it” or “how do you know if God is really in this?” Satan may remind you of your past failures or shortcomings to infer that you don’t deserve what you’re seeking. As instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5, we must, “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” To overcome a siege mentality, you must counter the negative thoughts with God’s Word and move forward.

2. Uncover Your Blind Spots. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken or aren’t willing to acknowledge. Blind spots refer to aspects of ourselves we’re not aware of but is observed by others. An example of a blind spot could be engaging in different relationships with the same negative results. Everyone has blind spots and some of us are more self-aware than others. With unaddressed blind spots, you will continue to miss the mark. Uncover the blind spots with a teachable spirit (rather than narcissism). Ask God for courage to help you make the necessary course corrections.

3. Quit What Isn’t Producing Fruit. The word ‘quit’ isn’t a bad word, according to Amos Johnson, Jr., PhD, founder of the God Idea Lab and his ministry, Church for Entrepreneurs.  “You need to quit some things to gain the success God has for you,” says Johnson on his recent God Idea Lab podcast. He further says, “When you quit something that is no longer producing fruit it opens up margins in your life to pursue what God has or you.”  In our work with the Lord, He desires that we bear fruit (John 15:1-8). He will cut off branches that aren’t bearing fruit and prune other areas to grow even more fruitful. Our close relationship with Christ Jesus is necessary for this process to occur. Spend time in His presence to discern what items He desires you remove and pursue. (Amos was our October 2014 radio show guest as we discussed “Starting and Doing Business God’s Way.”)© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporation

4. Lay the Fundamental Bricks. Two years ago, I asked God to help me better exercise the nine fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Each morning I prayed the Lord help me extend to others greater levels of faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control, regardless of the situation. These were the fundamental bricks I knew God was leading me to lay upon my spiritual foundation. Developing these fundamentals at a deeper level is essential as my ministry, service to and engagement with others enlarges. God may be asking you to lay down fundamental bricks to progress in your 2015 journey.

5. Applaud the Growth You’ve Made. Reflecting on Tip #4, I praise God for the growth He’s enabled me to experience in these areas! While the prayer for development began two years ago, I’ve noticed tangible and consistent growth in the past eight months. Others have witnessed the growth in me as well (particularly patience).

What growth have you made up to now? Celebrate it and praise God for the progress made! This progress will position you to successfully carry out the work God has established for you in 2015 and beyond.

About Nicole D. Hayes

Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C.  Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” 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.

God Prunes Us to Produce Fruit

“The vine dresser is never nearer the vine than when He is pruning it.” — Anonymous

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

John 15:1-8 NLT 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

There is a main reason that vines are pruned; so that they can grow stronger and produce more fruit.

Jesus tells us; no encourages us, to have faith, that our hardships and trials are for a purpose.  At least for those who belong to Him.

What amazes me at times, is that we still go through many hardships and trials in life, without Christ. And without Him, those same trials and hardships only bring despair, fear, frustration and hopelessness.

Why not allow God to do the pruning instead of the world?  Think about it.  It should be an easy decision.  Maybe this will help: while God simply prunes, the world uproots, destroys and wipes away all signs of life.

Trust God. Believe God.  Allow God to give you purpose and hope.

Minister Dracy

After God’s Own Heart Ministries

Luke 4:18-19 …to bring Good News…