Strive to Trust Him

Today’s post is from the daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Each devotional is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to you.

STRIVE TO TRUST ME in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings I have hidden in the difficulties. If you believe that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life, it is possible to trust Me in all situations. Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment—accepting things exactly as they are—and search for My way in the the midst of those circumstances.

Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me. If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed. Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind.

Trust-in-the-Lord-Proverbs-3-5-6

Accompanying Scriptures: Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD  with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” (New International Version)

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When the Blind Refuse Sight

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Who wouldn’t want to see? It seems strange that a blind person would willfully pass on the opportunity to receive their sight. Prior to considering this concept, I couldn’t imagine who’d make such a choice. But these people exist. I’ve met them.

No, they aren’t using a walking stick or guide dog. Nor are their eyes concealed by protective eye wear. Bumbling, fumbling and stumbling, these blind people walk with their eyes wide open but lack sight. When opportunities, life lessons or people present sight to them, they choose not to receive it. Instead, they choose to keep bumbling, fumbling and stumbling on the poorly lit path they tread. Proceeding with no sight and partial light, they dismiss the signs directly ahead and guides alongside them lighting the way. They prefer getting banged up and stumbling into a caution open ditch signditch…repeatedly. Ego, pride and a false perception of self have kept them ignorant, obstinate and afraid to see what they don’t want to see. They will also lead the unwise into the ditch. Hence the saying, “the blind leading the blind.”

I recall the 1999 movie “At First Sight” starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. Sorvino’s character is girlfriend to Kilmer’s character who is blind. They enjoy their lives together, yet in desiring to improve her boyfriend’s quality of life, she informs him of a new but risky surgery that could restore his sight. He resists the treatment for some time, but eventually proceeds. Not to spoil this 15-year-old movie if you haven’t yet viewed it, but upon receiving his gradual sight, the couple endures various challenges. His restored sight is a gift but is he prepared to handle what he sees/what he is shown?

The same scenario occurs when we’re blind to something we’re doing, involved in or contributing to, and then someone tries to tell us the truth about it; to shine light on it so we’re no longer walking into the ditch. We may not like what we see/what we’re shown. It takes humility to receive it and courage to make the course corrections with the information shown. Otherwise, be prepared to bumble, fumble and stumble. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, English Standard Version)

I used to invest significant time in people who I desperately wanted to help “see.” Oh, how my heart pained for them when an opportunity to receive sight presented itself and they preferred to stumble in the dark, because it was comfortable. Witnessing this scenario repeatedly with the same and different people, I realized I had to let them stumble.

I’ve shifted my efforts to preparing people who want to be prepared; people who want to see. I learned some people are not prepared to receive the sight I’m offering them. As they continue stumbling in the dark, I pray for them to see the futility in their thinking. I’ve also been liberated from their liability by saying this one, two-syllable word: “Ok.” “Ok” doesn’t mean I agree. It simply means I’m steering clear of the open ditch they’ve chosen.

In Matthew 15:14, Jesus shares these wise words: “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both fall into a pit.” (New International Version)

-Nicole

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 amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

 

 

When It Doesn’t Make Sense

Sudden/unexpected death of a loved one. Death of a child. Diagnosed with a serious illness when you’re doing all the right things. Faithfully and promptly going to work each day only to be handed your last paycheck. Missile strikes commercial jet, killing all crew and passengers aboard. Unarmed teen and robbery suspect in Ferguson, Mo., shot six times, fatally by police officer. When it doesn’t make sense.   man with question marks

This week in particular I’ve repeated the words “this doesn’t make sense” when I learned of the sudden passing of a dear friend. A young person, loved by his wife, family, friends and co-workers, his death seems unfair and leaves us wanting to understand the reasoning behind. We’re simply left to deal with the outcome, best handled on our knees in prayer. Prayers amounting in a few words, cries and groans, simply because there are no words. The one-worded question that resurfaces throughout is “Why?”

I’ve learned that such questions cannot be fully answered with an intellectual answer. God exists and operates beyond our human intellect and comprehension (read the Lord’s three-chapter response to Job’s questions in Job 38-41). Trust that nothing God does is random; He has a plan though we may not understand it on this side. What I do know is that God is sovereign—He’s in control of everything. We have to trust God even when life doesn’t make sense.

The following devotional written by brother-in-Christ Minister Dracy Jenkins is right on time. The encouragement offered in his message brought me some solace and I pray it brings you comfort and peace as well.  God bless you and in prayer.   -Nicole

“Anyone can thank God for the light. Jesus teaches us to thank God for the night. He says to us, ‘You’ll get through this!’  And we will.” – Max Lucado

 

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

1 Corinthians 11:23b-24a- On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24- and gave thanks to God for it. (New Living Translation)

For a long time, I focused on the Last Supper as Jesus shared one last meal with His Disciples and encouraged them for the times to come, when He was to leave them and return to Heaven. However, as we have read many times, Jesus’s words often contain much more than we initially hear and realize.

 

To understand the concept that even though Jesus was about to go through a horrendous ordeal at the hands of His enemies, He demonstrated the importance of giving thanks to our Heavenly Father. While we may not fully know what we will face tomorrow, Jesus did.  And regardless, Jesus knew He needed to continue to praise God and thank Him for all that He had.

 

This is a critical lesson I know I must learn and demonstrate.  I believe we all must learn this to truly demonstrate not only our love for Him, but our gratitude and faith in Him.

 

We are all going through something fearful, unpleasant or not what we wanted or expected.  If you are not right now, unfortunately, that time will come.  No matter when that time comes, giving thanks to God, through it all and for it all, is something that we must learn to do and actually do.

 

Jesus did it, I believe not only because it was part of His character, but to continue to teach those that followed Him, what they and subsequently, we, must do.

 

Giving thanks in the midst of our struggles doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but there are those around us watching, whose hearts and thinking may be encouraged and changed by our actions.  We are witnesses of God’s love, power and grace in all that we say and do.

 

Praise God for His light that is illuminating our lives for His glory.

 

Minister Dracy
After God’s Own Heart Ministries
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

 

 

Some People Just Need a Hug

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Some people just need a hug!

We can pretend to hold it all together when we are just about to crumble and cave. On Monday morning, I was on the brink of losing it.  The overwhelming pressures of work, being a single parent—with all the concerns and worries of my children’s well-being— really took its toll. That morning, I desperately asked God to send someone to encourage me. While I was preparing breakfast for my boss, he kindly witnessed to me of how my life and struggles have been a witness to him.  Then, a much needed conversation with our Voices Against the Grain editor-in-chief, lifted my spirit.  Later that morning, I had a great laugh with my sister but still through the day the struggle continued.  My 3-year-old niece asked me to dance with her as I lay on the couch tired and waking up from an afternoon nap.  Dancing with her strengthened me to get up and go on with my day. But it was a hug from my son and nephew after school that really brought things into perspective and gave me the breakthrough.

All I have is right now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  To worry and stress over things that are not even happening is worthless. As noted in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” I am blessed to have three Amazing children who I can hug and love. I am blessed to know that when I die, I will be in heaven. I am blessed to serve the One true God who not only sent one person to encourage me but many in one day!

God is in control and all I must do is continue to trust that Jesus has me covered. I may not have all that I want but I have exactly what I need. I encourage you to hug the ones you love, wholeheartedly praise the Lord above, and be tender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Your hug just might be what the person next to you needs.

Psalm 46:1-“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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.

 

Christmas Post Office Push: Show Love

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Like many people during this time of year, it was a must that I venture to the post office.  I needed stamps to mail my Christmas greeting cards. Guessing by the packed post office lobby, so was everyone else.  We all stood there patiently waiting in the long single line, mixed with other patrons looking to send out packages.  Suddenly a glimmer of hope: the clerks opened a register for stamp purchase only. I quietly thought to myself, “This is it; only one person in front of me now.” Like everyone else, I was in a hurry.  You would have thought they were giving away a million dollars, the way everyone darted for the line.  People began cutting in front of others, who had been patiently waiting longer than them.  This all got me wondering about how Jesus sees us, especially this time of year.  I read in a Christmas book before, “If I have a perfect house and give the perfect gift but do not show love to my family what good is it?”

Isn’t that so true? We can all become wrapped up in the Idea of Christmas and really miss the point.  Jesus is not concerned with how perfect your house is decorated, or if you mailed your greetings cards on time.  He is more concerned with your inward condition.  Are you showing His love to those around you? Even at the post office?  If we take a minute and stop rushing we might see that there are people hurting and many in need of a Savior. So I challenge you to take a moment and ask Jesus what He wants from you this year, for His birthday!

Luke 2: 13-14

13– And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14- “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

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 principals 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 isGeorgia 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.

Ana resides in Southern California with her three beautiful children and seeks daily to model this scripture from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Searching for Real Love

Award-winning R&B songstress Mary J. Blige (my girl!) produced her 9os hit “Real Love” that became an anthem for many in search of ‘real love.’ With the chorus, “I’m searchin’ for a a real love, someone who sets my heart free, real love!” And subsequent lyrics, “So I try my best and pray to God he’d send me someone real, to caress me and to guide me toward a love my heart can feel…” You know the rest!

What is ‘real love’? Our first exposure to real love was when God sent US His Son Jesus Christ to Earth to become flesh and die for our sins, so we would be saved from eternal death and separation from God, with our flawed selves. This is agape love; an unconditional love; a love we don’t deserve.

Though there are other forms of love (friend love, family love, parent-child love, love for community, eros/romantic love), real love in any form should consist of these attributes as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 4- “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5- or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6- It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7- Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Read today’s post below written by Voices Against the Grain guest blogger, Herbert Bowen, Jr., on the subject of romantic love. In today’s microwave generation lead by “anything goes,” many people want a quick love and want it NOW, usually for selfish reasons and with multiple partners. In our search for real love, how are we demonstrating love toward others? Many want the world’s version of romantic love and  forgo  expressing the love Christ asks us to give. We should model after Christ our love (in any form) toward others. Laying this foundation first helps build the right kind of love required for romantic and non-romantic relationships.

-Nicole

Song of Songs 8:6-7- “Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love nor can rivers drown it.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Love is to be treasured. For if love is awakened before its time, we will expend a lifetime of energy seeking what we once had. Love is to be saved. We as a culture have fallen victim to the fads of desensitization. We have lost the meaning of companionship to indulge in every desire. We have lost the meaning of love. Romantic love is monogamous. A concept that will probably fall on deaf ears, but is the only way to live our lives the way God intended. Men and women are too quick to rush into the bedroom, too quick to fulfill their lusts only to be in search for a new fix the next night. How does it feel, because for every immediate gratification there are eons of misery and regret. Love is Christ.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love each other because he loved us first.” In essence, His sacrifice is love incarnate. So before jumping in blindly with another individual, seek out the meaning of true love, as it may save you precious time. 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 24, 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.

Low Cash Flow? Lonely? Press On

Listen to Herbert Bowen, Jr., this Wednesday at 1-2p ET on the Voices Against the Grain Radio Show as he shares how Jesus has helped him as a 24-year-old abstain from sex and navigate around society’s unrelenting “pleasure principles.” He’ll be joined by Myranda Dorsey, 26, who shares how through Christ Jesus she overcame a confused identity predicated by low self-esteem, and now views herself as Jesus sees her.

Philippians 3:12- “But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

I’m not perfect and neither are you. If we were perfect would we need God too? If money was stacked to the ceiling would our lives be easier? If loneliness was eradicated and everyone had ONE companion, would our lives be sweeter? If worry was engulfed by reassurance would anything affect us? The answer is simple, but the effect it has on our lives is complex. Broken down, we were given free will to choose our routes in life. Some stand affixed in faith, some don’t. Some die daily in the flesh, while some indulge in it. Ultimately, loneliness doesn’t have to result in suicide or catastrophe. Minimal funds doesn’t mean we will never be self-sufficient. Such situations are temporary. Trust that fear can flee our side and be replaced by the spear of courage. Thus, let us move toward perfection knowing God will never abandon us on our journey. 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 24, 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.

Be Watchful of Faulty Shepherds and Helicopter Upgrades

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

“Ticked” is the politest word I can use to describe my feelings in reading the following article. Houston megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard of New Light Christian Center asks his members to sow a “$52 favor seed” to upgrade his helicopter with new blades. He said the upgrade would save the church $50,000 in future costs (but why is this his choice of transportation??).  According to the article published by BlackEnterprise.com, Hilliard sent a newsletter to members, saying their blessing in return for the seed sown would be a “breakthrough favor” within 52 days or 52 weeks. For the low, low price of $52, of course. He said he heard the small voice of the Holy Spirit instructing him to seek this special seed.

Whaatt?? Help me shut my mouth. Enough with the promises of prosperity. Did Jesus need a helicopter to accomplish His purposes? Would Jesus ask those 5,000 on the hillside in which he fed loaves of bread and fish, to please sow a seed for upgraded shoes and donkey to help Him on his travels??

New Light Christian Center megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard (sunglasses) exits church helicopter   for which he now seeks a financial seed from members for a blade upgrade.

New Light Christian Center megachurch pastor Bishop I.V. Hilliard (sunglasses) exits church helicopter for which he now seeks a financial seed from members for a blade upgrade.

Here seems another example of a wayward pastor fleecing God’s sheep. It’s unfortunate that it happens. But remember, places of worship are run by who? A: Flawed human beings. So, problems will inherently arise. It’s our job here to expose you to what God says about corrupt leaders.

Trust and know God will take serious measures against such people.  When God judges shepherds/leaders, it is to deliver His people from the hands of deceptive leaders—particularly those who only seek to profit off their flock. Certainly, flawed leadership will deter some people from coming to church (understandable) or from seeking God. But remember—God isn’t the bad guy. Those who perpetrate the fraud, indeed are. Because God is Sovereign he is able to save and reach hearts beyond the church walls. Don’t allow poor leadership examples to keep you from having your relationship with God.

In Ezekiel 13, God tells of his condemnation toward false prophets.

In verses 13:2-3, 8 God instructs Ezekiel, 2- “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD! 3-This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 8-Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. 9- My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations.” The New Living Translation reads, “destruction is certain for the false prophets following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!”

Ezekiel 34:2-5 reads, 2- Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3- You eat curds, clothe yourselves with wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4- You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the wicked. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5- So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for wild animals.”

Case and point- “djgrandstand,” a former New Light Christian Center member, posted this comment on the article:

“I was a member of this church back in like ’94 I think. Then it was still in a strip mall. I left the church because I noticed over time the entire sermon was always becoming about prosperity… But the final straw for me was when Hilliard refused to help a member in need but had the nerve to ask for the helicopter in the first place. I knew then something wasn’t right. I was out done. That was the last time I was an official member of any church.”
God is displeased with such fleecing and corruption. These folks need to repent and step aside. God is raising up new witnesses whose eyes are wide open to the deception and willing to call it out. As God’s elect, we are to instructpreserve and provide for His people. We are to be salt and light. God doesn’t say anything about us asking others to come out of their pockets for a new helicopter blade. A good shepherd will first and foremost seek God’s will and care for His people. Period. We need to truly revisit how the church should look and operate. 
Believers: We can’t blame this entirely on the faulty shepherd. We also have a shared responsibility from becoming victims of such abuses. More of us need to study and know God’s Word and ways for ourselves so we can quickly recognize deception before it ensnares us. As Hosea 4:6 ascribes, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.”

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.

Filling the God-Shaped Vacuum Within Us

Dear Friends. I am happy to share with you a guest devotional from a great brother in Christ, Dracy Jenkins. His devotional reminds us that when we were formed in our mother’s womb, God deliberately created a void within us that only He can fill. People seek other people, things and behaviors to fill this void and find themselves feeling empty and always seeking but never finding the joy, love, peace and security only He can provide.  Thank you Dracy! God bless each of you.   -Nicole

There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ. Blaise Pascal (17th century mathematician, physicist and Christian philosopher)

Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Philippians 1:9-11- 9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (New Living Translation)

I still remember how I tried to fill the emptiness in my life with so many different things, in order to bring me joy and happiness.  The more I purchased or did, the more that was required to appease the desire to be someone that I wasn’t.  At that time, like so many of us, I had bought in to the lie that to be somebody, I had to look and act like what was being portrayed in the media.  And every time, I achieved a certain level or purchased the next great thing, I was left emptier than before.

It wasn’t until I was in the midst of my frustration, despair and anger, that I was able to hear Christ knocking at the door to my heart.  I heard Him speak to my spirit and tell me that I wasn’t created to be like the world, and that no matter how hard I tried to fill my life with anything other than God’s love, I would never be satisfied or complete.  He said that only He could adequately change me into the person that would be pleasing to God and to me.  He then said it was my choice.

Maybe you are struggling to be satisfied with your life and are looking to fill that emptiness you feel inside with everything you see or hear from society.  Can I share with you how futile that is going to be?  Maybe you already realize it.  But the reason that the things of the world will not fit the void in our lives is because that void is shaped exactly like a cross.  It’s an old rugged, wooden cross, where our Savior Jesus was nailed to and died upon for our sins.  There are many things of the world that appear to fit, but a closer self-examination will show gaps, voids, air pockets and holes, that continue to leave one incomplete, unfulfilled and without hope.

But I’m here to tell you that Jesus is still knocking on a lot of our doors with the answer to our incompleteness.  He wants to fully fill that emptiness in your heart, but He’s not going to force Himself into it.  You have to ask Him.  It’s your choice.

My prayer today is that we all will do a self-assessment to determine if there are holes or gaps in our heart.  If so, let’s remove those things that are inappropriately in the cross-shaped vacuum of our hearts and allow Christ to complete us and make us whole again.  He’s standing at the door and knocking.  Will you open the door?

God bless.