Breathe Into Me

Ezekiel 37:5- This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

When your mind hurts, your heart aches. When your heart aches, your body shivers. When your body shivers, your whole demeanor is compromised, which ultimately affects the daily routine of your life. Thus, we search for a panacea. A proverbial cure-all elixir to take away the pain. We search within the darkness, grasping for a fleeting hope that something might help prop ourselves up. “THERE IS NOTHING LEFT,” we cry out, as the quiet solitude grows deafening. There is no more vitality left in our cheeks, as hope forged within the glint of light escapes our eyes. We are finished. Although, what is this light peeking through the doorway? What is this resurgence of hope and courage? What is this essence breathing life back into our bones? Well, that is the Lord giving back what the world sought to take from us.

Amen #HBSr

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here.   

Blessed, Blessed, Blessed

Psalm 119:1- You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. (Message Bible)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Let me hear you say blessed, blessed, blessed, for we are blessed in the city, blessed in the fields, and blessed on our jobs (Thank you Fred Hammond). Wherever we go we are eternally blessed. For our footing remains solid on that narrow road, which lies ahead of us. Our footing does not buckle under the pressure of temptation. Moreover, our footing regains its balance after a slip, because we know if we were to fall, God is right there to pick us back up. Thus, our ankles might hurt and our tendons might ache, but we ultimately will regain our strength to move with the bold confidence God has given us. Therefore, may we seek reconciliation over chaos, hope over despair, purity over impurity, kindness over cruelty, and love over hate. In essence, if you’re looking to walk/run without tape or a brace, cling to some of these traits and you too will walk without any impediments.

Amen #HBSr

Read more of the blessings depicted in Psalm 119. 

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here.   

Nothing But Symbiosis

Matthew 13:26- When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Weeds, barnacles, and leeches all have one thing in common: they prey upon the vitality of their hosts. Thus, these parasites construct a symbiotic bond to form a relationship detrimental to the overall health of its keeper. Like most, we seek to sever the connection in hopes to preserve our strength. However, every attempt to pull, discourage, or rid ourselves of this problem seems to make it worse. For the weeds multiply in number around our crops, while the barnacles fasten themselves to the hull with immense strength, leaving the leeches to take what little we have left through disorientation.

So, let us take another approach of working side by side. For if we “let both grow together until the harvest, we will sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, burn them, and put the wheat in the barn” (Matthew 13:30). Therefore, may we seek a strategy to secure our crop, while leaving the weeds/enemy spurned.

Amen #HBSr

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here.   

Loaded Promises

Leviticus 26:6- “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Whoa, that is a loaded scripture. In fact, it reminds me of a song entitled, “It’s Working,” by Will Murphy. For “this is my season for grace and favor, to reap what I have sewn.” Thus, everything is working together for our good to make us stalwart in the face of fear, strong in the debilitating afflictions of weakness, and humble in the beauty of victory. We are now conquerors equipped with keen insight to recognize that sometimes in order to move forward in life, we must stop and then turn around. Hence, we didn’t waste our time. We just know more now than we knew then. Thus, as we grow we become more attuned to the striking similarities found within bees, as we look to mimic their process of open pollination to strengthen every flower/person we come into contact with.

Amen #HBSr

To Infinity and Beyond

Ephesians 3:16- I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Our bodies are a thing of wonder. Unique and intricate with trillions of nerves and relays that allow us to think, be mobile and function. However, even with these physiological faculties, one still can’t account for the human spirit. This enigma eludes us scientifically, for it is something housed within our hearts, which we operate through faith. It’s our faith that empowered us years ago to take on the anguish of death, the perilous fear of helplessness and doubt, which crept into our minds from our limited resources.

Nevertheless, that was then so what is now? Well, the anguish of death has turned to joy for their legacy lives on within us. Helplessness turned to empowerment because God increased our territory and resources, to allow others to witness HIS mighty power. Thus, we are now conquerors equipped with major funding that can be utilized at any time.

#HBSr Amen

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here.   

It’s All Worthless

Philippians 3:7- I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Value is held within the eyes of the beholder. Value is the quintessential essence of what every individual holds dear within their own hearts and minds. Thus, some value money, family, relationships, jobs, etc., with the utmost esteem, each carrying their own brand of significance to that person’s life.

However, what happens when these things disappoint you? What happens when the money vanishes and family squabbles take center stage to divide one another into separate factions? What happens when relationships crumble and jobs slip from our sights? What happens? The answer? We look within ourselves to find a momentary solution. Hence, my faith stays in the Lord, who gives me peace in turmoil, gain in patience, love in persistence, and security in His arms. Therefore, HE who gave me life is PRICELESS, for no rust or decay will disintegrate our Lord. Amen #HBSr

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here.   

Trapped!

Exodus 14:14- The Lord himself will fight for you. “Just stay calm.”  (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

The battle is already won with the Lord on your side. See, many of us look at the eye of the storm instead of the tail end. We look at the darkness swirling over our heads instead of the serene blue skies rolling in to replace, which once dimmed our light. Moreover, when the Israelites looked back they saw men ready to take them back into captivity. They saw no way out from the Egyptians as what stood in front of them was a body of water known as the Red Sea. So like them, we panic and our faith scatters like rioters in a cloud of tear gas. We can no longer see our exit, as the water inundates our eyes and our vision goes blurry.

BUT IF GOD carved out a path within the water so the Israelites might pass, why wouldn’t He do the same for us in our time of need? Therefore, may we just stay calm for our battle is already won as our antagonists are undoubtedly sleeping with the fishes. #HBSr Amen

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Lessons from My Father

This past June, the father of our beloved VATG devotional writer Herbert Bowen, Jr., passed away. Since then, Herbert has taken time away to help his mother, siblings, family and manage his father’s business. Our team has remained in prayer for Herbert and his family. Today’s devotional is Herbert’s first return to writing since his father’s passing. We pray his message blesses you.

Philippians 2:5- You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Quibble over trivialities. Renounce the existence of an intangible God. Boil with disdain over a sudden loss or agree to avoid calamity. Advocate for the One who set you free, and paramount, simmer down to understand the reasons of certain occurrences, which will ultimately make you stronger. Thus, may we begin to capture the light edging over the horizon of a new day, to uncover items cached in the shadows of fear. For the antipode of fear is love and affection, which breeds kindness and peace. Understanding and lowering our expectations on others allows God to be creative with them as He was with us. Our molds are flawed and cracked, while HE repairs them at the sight of blemishes.

In essence, our lives are meant to be taken day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. For each experience is not meant to dissuade us from existing, but to enable our ongoing development through Christ. #HB(Sr) Amen

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Real Strength

Isaiah 40:11- He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If reading this scripture created warmth within your heart then you are on par with most individuals. If reading this scripture made you see the Shepherd as kind, then you are on par with most individuals. If you believe that gentleness and grace are precursors to weakness, then you are sorely mistaken. For the strongest people are those walking alongside others wading through their various trials, while demonstrating the meekness to recognize when they’re wrong. It’s that inexplicable eagerness to give 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances even when the situation seems bleak. These are the most indomitable people known to man. One of which, who shed HIS blood for you and me. Today may we change the social construct that determines strength over weakness, for none is a better example than the Shepherd holding the lamb.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

I Seeeee You

Colossians 4:5- Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Who are you? Who am I? Who do we think we are as a collective? Are we a band of brothers and sisters? Are we a unit built upon a foundation of titanium that no man can break? Are we able to fathom the novelties of this world alone? Or do we seek to proceed with narrow goals to satisfy our mundane desires? If we are for ourselves we will be captives of our own solidarity. If we are for others we will be loosed from the shackles that constrain us. Only this will lead us to comprehend the importance of first impressions and lasting relationships.

For if we remain God-focused, our lives will reflect HIS teachings. Our actions will not seem as though they are practiced, but will flow with legitimacy to everyone we come into contact. Hence, we learn. We educate. We listen. We love. We value our experiences because at the end of the day you never know who is watching.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here