We Are Grateful For…

Gratitude rockA spirit of gratitude makes you acutely aware of how much we truly have to be thankful for. From dear people the Lord has brought into our lives, to relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to enjoying fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, to being able to carry out daily functions sometimes taken for granted, or being treated to coffee or a meal, the list is endless. As Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Another word used for “follow” is “to chase after.” For those who love the Lord, His goodness surely chases after us even in times we don’t immediately see it. In the messages below, the Voices Against the Grain ministry team share what we are grateful for. We are grateful the Lord has provided us this platform as an opportunity to fellowship with and bless you.

Jason is grateful for…

Jason Alexandre photo

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

I am grateful first and foremost for my salvation in Jesus Christ. With my birthday around the corner this Sunday, I’ve been reflecting on my fulfilled need for a Savior. It seems like the older I get, the more apparent the condition of my soul becomes to me. I thank God every day that Jesus made it possible for me to be justified and sanctified before God through Him. I am also very grateful for my wife and our families. Life on earth would be meaningless to me without them. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

 

 

 

Ana is grateful for…

Ana Martinez in blue dress

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

I am grateful for my family—to have my three precious children and parents who love the Lord. I am grateful for my two amazing sisters, two fantastic brother-in-laws and wonderful nieces and nephews. I am thankful for Christ’s redeeming love and the friends He has blessed me with. I am grateful to be an American. Grateful for the sky above, the trees I see and the love I share with those around me.

 

 

 

Destiney is grateful for…

Destiney in pink

Destiney Bishop, Voices Against the Grain Digital Media Coordinator

I am grateful for my health, well-being and peace of mind. I am grateful that God has provided me with a sense of direction in life. Though I am not fully aware of His plan, I know He has something great in store for me. I am grateful to spend another Thanksgiving with my family. Grateful that my sister returned home safely from deployment. I am also grateful for growth, specifically over the past year.

 

Jill is grateful for…

Jill profile pic

Jill Tomlinson, co-founder of Transcend Ministries and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

There are too many things to mention, but I will start with the people I love. I am incredibly, beyond words thankful for my family—the ones God chose for me to walk through this life together with every day…a priceless treasure to me! Even greater still is the gift of knowing they are living lives set apart unto the Lord. As a mom, knowing my kids are hidden in Christ brings me joy unspeakable.

The intangible things are sometimes overlooked when we give thanks to God, yet these are the things that have no end. What we can see, feel, hear, taste, and touch are good gifts from God, but those things we only know and possess by the Spirit of God are the most amazing of all. Today I am thankful for those precious gifts that cannot be shaken or taken from me such as salvation that is secure, peace beyond all understanding—even in the most violent of storms, joy that cannot be measured with things or changed by circumstances, love that never fails and knows no bounds, favor that surrounds me as a shield, and the goodness and mercy of God that follow me wherever I go.

These are just a few of the blessings of the Lord that I thank Him for today. He is good and His mercies endure for all of time! Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicole is grateful for…

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, founder, Voices Against the Grain

I am grateful for the relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Since coming to Christ at age 12, He still keeps me in awe of Him. I thank God that He chose me before the earth’s foundations were laid and that He has a purpose for me to lead, serve and teach others. He’s concerned with everything in my life, great, small and in between. I am grateful for a deepening relationship with Him and the joy, love and peace experienced in His Presence. I am THANKFUL for His Holy Spirit, wisdom and words that transform me more like Christ, enabling me and others to see the changes (a work in progress). He reminds me in many ways that He is with me. I am grateful for family, friends and friends like family and for colleagues. I am grateful for health with the function of all of my faculties. I am grateful for blessings and protections seen and unseen. Grateful for clean water, access to food and ability to purchase food. Much to be thankful for.

I am grateful forWe hope our messages shared have got you thinking of what you’re grateful for. What are you thankful for? Please share with us here, via Twitter or on our Facebook page.

A blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sincerely,

Your Brothers & Sisters in Christ at Voices Against the Grain

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Finish What You Start

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.  (Philippians 1:6 MSG)

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Can you relate to the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction you feel when you complete a project? It’s a great feeling to see the fruit of your labor and to know you persevered to see it to completion.

On the other hand, have you ever begun a project with great enthusiasm only to throw in the towel before it was time? Admittedly, this is not a great trait to possess, but it is pretty common among people from all walks of life. I know I have been guilty of leaving some things unfinished and abandoning projects in my lifetime. It is a character flaw and temptation that many people wrestle with at home, at work, or in school.

The great news is God is not flawed and He finishes every single thing He starts! He is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Sometimes in the craziness of life or the storms that are sent to discourage us, we begin to believe the subtle lie that God has forgotten us or our situation. We can remember His all-sufficient grace that was so real at salvation, but somehow feel as though we need to help Him finish the good work He began.

The belief that God has forgotten or failed us even for a minute couldn’t be further from the truth. God is for us, He is with us, and He is always perfecting His “project” and purpose within our lives. He will not fail or falter. He has also given us the mind of Christ and the ability through His Spirit to resist the temptation to give up. You and I are overcomers through the blood of Jesus. What we start, we can see to completion and enjoy the fruitfulness of it.

startfinish

Be encouraged today, knowing that what you start you can finish through the strength and wisdom of Christ and that the good work God has begun in you, He will finish. Nothing gives Him greater satisfaction—He delights in it!

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. Jill’s next book, Forgiven, Favored & Free, is available September 2015. For more information or to order her books, visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

All, None or Some?

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” ~ Mark 4:20

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

I have read this scripture literally hundreds of times, and I have probably heard sermons preached from Mark 4 equally as many times. However, I read it again lately and saw something fresh and new. This scripture points out that there are actually varying degrees of bearing fruit. How much fruit we bear is directly related to our ability to hear spiritually and our willingness to receive it by faith when we do hear it.

The scriptures prior to this one describe scenarios whereby the Word is sown, but then stolen, choked out, or not applied at all for various reasons including hardness, shallow roots, and cares of this world. Those are the things I have always taken away from Mark 4, but there is so much more!

I want to be a person who bears much fruit, not just a small harvest. I want people to smell the sweet aroma of the fruit and fragrance of Christ being produced in my life. I want to do more than hear the Word with my natural ears. I want to really hear what the Spirit of God is saying and I sincerely desire a 100-fold harvest on the seed of truth that is sown in my life. So, how can it happen?

How can it be fair for three different people to hear the same Word of God and one only bear a 30-fold return, another 60 fold, and yet another bears a 100 fold? Is God playing favorites here? This scripture makes it so clear that we are the ones who determine our harvest of fruit!

Mark 4-20 grapevine
Mark 4-20 cracked soil

To what degree will we believe and receive the Word? What priority will it have in every situation or new problem we face?

Will we apply it to our relationships, parenting, finances, health, careers, wants, and needs? Will we accept the Word we hear and make it ours, or will we only believe it is for someone else instead?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17

Jesus makes reference to having “ears to hear” throughout Mark 4. Accepting the Word in our hearts requires the ability to hear spiritually. According to Romans 10:17, this ability to hear is produced by the Word of God. As we begin to expose ourselves to the Word of God, we acquire the ability to “hear” what He is saying. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It changes things. Hard ground is softened, roots begin to grow deep, and the cares of this world grow strangely dim and insignificant. Now our hearts are ready to not only hear, but to also receive. First, we “hear” by the Word of God preparing the ground of our hearts. Then, we apply it by faith, which comes by that spiritual hearing.

Now that we have “heard” and accepted the Word, it can begin to bear fruit in our lives. We don’t have to strive or stress about it, we simply have to believe, receive, and apply what the Lord has already so graciously provided. The amount of fruit we bear will be directly proportionate to the degree to which we believe, receive, and apply the Word of God. As we purpose to do this, we will begin to see fruit in every area of our lives. I’m all in!!! Are you? EXPECT, BELIEVE, AND RECEIVE!!

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. Jill’s next book, Forgiven, Favored & Free, is available September 2015. For more information or to order her books, visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

A Walk Through the Wilderness

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

This is a little different from my typical article writings. It is very personal, and I share it all with the knowing that someone somewhere will read it and be encouraged in the Lord.

A few months ago the Lord asked me to write another book. Forgiven, Favored, & Free  would be a book that would empower His sons and daughters to live more fully in the inheritance He provided through Jesus. It would be a book that focused wholly on the finished work of Jesus and our complete identity and victory in Him.

It was April when my family returned from a ministry trip to Australia and I finished the manuscript that He laid on my heart in the same month. Both were “high” points in my life and there was a sweet sense of amazement and satisfaction. I was thankful and life was good. I knew beyond a doubt that I was living out God’s will for my life. The moment of victory appeared short-lived, however, as the waters began to rise around me and my family almost immediately.

I was hit suddenly with sickness and painful physical symptoms. Our family was bombarded from many different directions with seemingly insurmountable issues. In the natural, everything seemed to be falling apart. It was as though I had been pushed from the mountaintop and thrown into the valley literally overnight. I felt as if I was lost in the wilderness. But I knew truth and I chose to stand upon it. Even as I prayed, took my authority in Christ, and spoke the Word over my body, family, and life, my physical symptoms intensified and other problems seemed to get more complex. Using my faith seemed to get me nowhere. Still, I held onto the hope of Christ and the message of His finished work.

The physical pain was almost constant. Some days were really dark, lonely, and at times the intensity of the battle was more than what I thought I could bear. I was fighting, but most days I felt like a wounded warrior at best. For the most part I kept it to myself. Only a few close and trusted friends and family knew about any of it simply because I didn’t want to give the enemy any ammunition.

More than once on this journey I cried. More than once I questioned what I really believe.  More than once I wanted to give up. More than once I heard the words of my accuser, Satan…how can you preach a Gospel that doesn’t work in your own life…where is God in all of this anyway…you are living a lie….give up…don’t print that book…this doesn’t work…you don’t really believe…you are not called…you can’t possibly minister to anyone…you are weak…you are sick….God doesn’t even care…retreat.

Oh, but Hallelujah! More than once, the Spirit of God comforted me. More than once He spoke to me…do not give up…submit to Me by staying in agreement with My Word…resist the devil and he WILL flee…hold on…stand fast…the enemy is trying to steal My Word that has been planted in you…you are Mine…I am for you…I have called you…do not cast off your confidence…I am Truth…you are strong…you are healed…you are whole…I love you.

Hebrews 10 35-36 don't throw away your confidence

I also heard the sweet voice of God repeatedly instruct me to rest—not only spiritually in Him, but physically. I heeded His voice and while I still had ministry engagements and things to do, I made rest a priority. I stopped writing. I cut out everything that was unnecessary, and I spent hours listening for God and pouring my heart out to Him. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night when I was in too much pain to sleep. Sometimes it was in the car for hours as we drove across the country to minister. I felt nothing. The forest got darker, the symptoms became more painful, the problems lingered. There were many times I was discouraged and afraid. Still, I rested, I listened, I meditated on truth, and I waited.

Finally, breakthrough came in the depths of my soul though not the way I expected. The revelation of God broke through the darkness somewhere along the way and I felt a sweet release in my spirit. Nearly four months later, I am writing again for the first time because it’s time. While I did not awaken this morning to a problem free life or a symptom free body, my heart is free, my mind is clear, and I am rejoicing in true victory. For true victory isn’t the absence of problems. It is, instead, the presence of Jesus.

Through it all I have learned much. My beliefs are more solidified than ever before. My God is good and faithful. My roots are deeper, and my passion more fierce. At the center of my life, family, writing, teaching, and ministry is the Word of God—the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the abundant life He provided. It is the only true message of healing, hope, and victory that exists. Any other message falls short of pure truth and fails to deliver. The enemy seeks to steal the message, but Jesus prevails!

Whatever you face today know that BECAUSE OF JESUS, for every tear there is greater peace, for every doubt and lie there is greater truth, for every hurt there is greater healing, for every sin there is greater grace, for every loss there is greater restoration, for every disappointment there is greater hope, and for every defeat there is greater victory. Fix your eyes on Jesus—the Prince of Peace. He knows the way out of the wilderness even when you cannot see!

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. For more information or to order her book visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

Meet the Team: Q & A With Jill Tomlinson

“Exposing lies, imparting truth and empowering the body of Christ” as it reads from her and her husband Jimmy Tomlinson’s ministry website, Jill Tomlinson is the newest member to join the Voices Against the Grain team. Joining our ministry team as a devotional writer in April 2015, Jill and her husband are the co-founders of Transcend Ministries. She is also the author of No More Liesa transparent and candid book that exposes Satan’s lies that produce strongholds on our lives. Jill leads readers through biblical truths that bring freedom and wholeness found only in Christ Jesus. We are blessed to serve with this woman of God who helps free people from emotional shackles! What’s her favorite food? Favorite scripture? Learn more about Jill in the Q & A below.

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Where are you from? I am originally from Moultrie, GA. I now live in Colorado Springs, CO but still have a strong southern accent.   🙂

When is your birthday? My birthday is January 1. I love it because it is always a holiday!

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team? I was introduced to Nicole Hayes through a dear mutual friend, Dawn Bauer. It didn’t take long to realize our hearts were knit together by the blood of Jesus and that this was a God-connection. I was honored to accept when Nicole asked me to join the writing team for Voices Against the Grain.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memory is playing in fields of Easter lilies on the family farm in Georgia.

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/temptations to come into our lives? My earthly dad would never give permission for a thief to tie me up, beat me, rob me and leave me for dead. He would never give permission for that to happen, and how much more loving and perfect is my Father in Heaven? I believe when trials and temptations come, they come from the enemy, Satan. He is the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). To believe that God allows these things in our lives is to believe that He actively or passively (by allowing) causes evil to come to us. That is not who God is.

God is sovereign which means that He is supreme in being. He is completely superior and autonomous, but that does not mean He controls everything (either actively or passively) that happens in our lives. For example, God does not cause sickness. Nor does He allow sickness. Sickness is a tool of the enemy. Jesus healed all who were sick. If God was allowing sickness, why would Jesus (God made flesh) turn around and heal the sick? Jesus would have been going against the will of His Father, which He could not do. God does not allow sickness, sin, or trouble. Everything evil entered the human race and this world when sin did and none of it came from God.

Jesus is our Advocate before God. He is at the right hand of God representing us and interceding for us. The finished work of Jesus put an end to the enemy approaching God to accuse us before Him. Satan has been cast down and has no voice in the presence of God. Jesus ended that through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

On this earth, the enemy still reigns and sin still affects this world. This is temporary, but while it lasts, the effects of sin are still all around us. This includes trials and troubles that we face at times, but they are not by God’s permission. They are sent from the enemy. As believers we have been given the authority of Christ to stand against the enemy and his schemes and believe, declare, and receive all the promises of God made available to us through Jesus.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – John 10:10 AMP

What do you do in your spare time? I most enjoy just hanging out with my husband and kids in my spare time. It is the sweetness of the simple things that make me happiest.

What is your favorite bible verse? For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? I believe having a relationship with God means living moment-by-moment in oneness with Him. It isn’t about religious traditions. It is the deepest love and only real freedom. I am His and He is mine. We do each and every moment of life together.

What is your favorite food? I love seafood.

If you had a superpower what would it be? If I had a superpower, I would want it to be the ability to travel through time.

Is there anything else we should know about you? I’m simple, honest, and passionate. I want every breath and every moment of my life to count for Jesus.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

Voices Against the Grain Turns 2!

“Do not despise small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10, New Living Translation)

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Mixed with some trepidation but more exhilaration and freedom, I hit the “publish” button on May 28, 2013 to share with the world our first blog post. I was now “out there” with a bold message that would show everyone for sure who I was and where I stood on life issues. No going back. No retreat. I was living and speaking from my authentic self. No longer afraid of being politically correct or concerned about whose toes I might step on in the process of lovingly sharing God’s Word, I still remember that day as the Holy Spirit stirred in me. I stepped out of the shackles of worrying what others thought and boldly began sharing about Jesus Christ in hopes to free and embolden others. That was two years ago!  In this daily journey of yielding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings/instructions and putting our faith in action to share His Word, our ministry team has been AMAZED and HONORED to witness the consistent growth. All to His Name and Glory!! Since our May 28, 2013 launch we’ve:

  • Published 292 blog posts
  • Received nearly 16,000 visitors to our site (15,946)
    • Launched online 1-hour weekly radio show on September 4, 2013
    • Hosted nearly 30 shows with more than 30 guests
    • Transitioning from online-only radio network to a DC-based radio station w/wider reach
    • Have exponentially grown our social media reach
    • Became monthly faith columnist for GospelToday.com (since June 2014)
    • Gained ministry partnerships
    • Secured ministry events with select colleges

Praise God for how He has used our ministry platform as a vessel to equip and empower Believers; to bring clarity, truth and restoration through His Word to unbelievers walking in confusion, deception and brokenness caused by Satan’s counterfeit schemes. We are grateful to be in His service! With a continued mission and mantra of “Advancing God’s Kingdom in a ‘do your own thing society’,” we are excited for what the Lord has done, what He is doing and will do through us and others.

birthday cake 2

I am grateful to God for each of our team members who He has gifted with talents, messages and their own ministries: Ana, Destiney, Herbert, Jason and Jill. Thank you for our ministry partners PureHOPE and The Family Hope Line who have blessed us with support. Thank you for each of our radio show guests who’ve brought excellent messages of truth and restoration to our audience since the show’s launch on September 4, 2013. Thank you to my amazing and dearly loved prayer partners, mentors, family and friends whose godly words, counsel, prayers have guided me on this journey. Blessed to serve and love in truth those who we are reaching through written content, messages from radio show guests, etc.

How did Voices Against the Grain start? What were my feelings about it? Read my first blog post from our May 28, 2013 launch. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we grow and disperse salt, light, love and truth into the territories God has called us to! Love and Blessings to each of you and yours.

-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 and the VATG ministry team here. 

The Sweet Smell of Victory

And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. (Daniel 3:27)

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

The men referred to in this scripture were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—friends of Daniel and servants of the Living God. When they refused to bow and worship King Nebuchadnezzar instead of the One True God, the king was enraged. The penalty for their rebellion was death by fire. King Nebuchadnezzar instructed his men to heat the fire seven times hotter than usual before throwing the three men into the pit. Surely this would quench his prideful rage and satisfy his wrathful vengeance.

The fire was so hot that the men responsible for throwing them into the blazing inferno burned to death as they approached the rim. However, something very different happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They fell into the fire, but they were completely untouched by it. They were not alone in the blaze. When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire, he saw another man walking with them, and when they emerged from the fiery flames, the three men were totally unharmed!

shadrach meshach-fiery-furnance-360x513

Even when they were facing death by fire, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego never saw themselves as victims. They saw themselves as victors. They knew beyond any doubt that they were God’s and as such, they would prevail. The fire had no power on them. Even their hair and clothes were untouched. And perhaps most amazing of all, they didn’t even smell like smoke!

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we have a choice in every situation. Will we see ourselves as victims to the circumstances of life and react accordingly, or will we refuse the lie and choose to believe truth instead? As children of God, we have been made victorious through Christ. When we look to Him—the fourth Man in the fire, we will diffuse the sweet fragrance of Him, instead of the stench of smoke.  The fire may get hot, but it has no lasting power on you and me as children of the Living God!

If you find yourself in a difficult, hot mess today, choose to walk as a victor and trust the fourth Man in the fire. Stay in His protective embrace. Victors aren’t victors because they have never walked through a fire. Victors are victors because they choose to walk in Truth!    

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. For more information or to order her book visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

Guarding Your Heart God’s Way

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Have you ever felt the sting of rejection or the cut of thoughtless or unkind words? Maybe you have been taken for granted, or even lied about by others. These and other offenses, when taken into the heart become wounds.  A wound left unattended becomes bitterness. Bitterness and unforgiveness produce cynicism, criticism, anger, depression, a hard heart and a life cluttered with bad fruit in almost every area.

I don’t know a single person who has not dealt with offense at some point in life. Offenses cause pain, and pain triggers our “natural” defense mechanisms to kick in. We tend to “put up walls” to make the pain stop and prevent it from happening again. This might seem to be the only way to guard our hearts, it isn’t God’s way.

So, what does it mean to “guard your heart” God’s way?

1. Recognize the real enemy. Jesus clearly told us that troubles would come to us in this life. Troubles usually bring with them a temptation to be offended at another person, God, or yourself. The real enemy is Satan, who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Although people are oftentimes (usually unknowingly) used by Satan, the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Although we “feel” things in the physical realm, the battle is altogether spiritual.

2. Live from truth. Being able to quickly recognize and cast down the lies of the enemy about yourself, God, and others will keep your heart safe. Satan sends forth his lies in an attempt to get you to step into his snare of offense. He is the master weaver of webs of deception. Knowing the truth of God’s Word will keep you out of snares of offense and keep your heart healthy.

heart locked

3. Give up your right to be right. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is the health of your soul. Holding on to offense while you are waiting for an apology that may never come or for someone else to see they are wrong, is prideful stubbornness and it will not result in the joy-filled life Jesus paid for you to have.

4. Release wounds, offenses, and hurts of every kind to Jesus. This is an act of faith, not feelings. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). There is nothing heavier to carry through this life than a wounded, bitter soul. Regardless of how long you have carried it, it is never too late to give it to Jesus and receive His sweet rest instead. As often as you are offended, lay the offense at the feet of King Jesus and let your heart remain tender and free.

Next time you feel the temptation to be offended, remember it is not your burden to carry. Let the Lord be your Avenger. Keep your heart at peace by refusing to live in offense. Make a choice by faith to give it to Jesus. It is a spiritual decision. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel any pain, it simply means God’s peace is greater. It’s wise to deal with offense on the front end when it is a little seed than it is to wait until it is a full grown weed choking the life out of everything else in the garden of your soul.

-Jill

A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Jill Tomlinson understands how tolerating toxic emotions and believing lies from Satan can change the entire course of your life. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. This book is not only for victims of sexual abuse. It is for anyone who has ever dealt with bitterness, fear, shame, rejection, failure, or feelings of unworthiness just to name a few. With transparency and candor, Jill addresses a myriad of issues that keep men, women, and young people in emotional shackles. Her passion is to see lives beautifully restored by the grace and truth of God and to see God’s children walking in true and lasting victory. She believes every single person was born with divine purpose and she loves to empower others to walk confidently into their unique Kingdom destiny!

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries – a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children – two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law.

For more information or to order her book visit www.transcendministries.org.

Hear in 3 Minutes What Satan is Up To

counterfeitSatan has done well to deceive the world. Unfortunately many have played into his hands. They thought they were pursuing paths of happiness, greater freedoms, quicker paths to prosperity and love, only to find themselves broken, empty and enslaved. What counterfeit schemes is Satan unleashing next? How do we stop this?

Listen to our 3-minute message on how you can successfully navigate around Satan’s counterfeit schemes and walk confidently in God’s Truth.

Holding the Keys, But Still Shackled

shackled-feetAm I saved? Am I free? Despite Jesus’s victory obtained for us on the cross, some Christians have forgotten their right-standing in Christ Jesus, their God-given authority and that Christ has defeated Satan. They are still shackled by the enemy’s lies. Nicole D. Hayes, our ministry founder, provides four tips in this Gospel Today article on how you can encourage others to walk in their God-given authority against the enemy! Read “Holding the Keys, But Still Shackled.”