God Will Be God Without Requiring Our Understanding

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9 (New International Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Shock. Anger. Despair. We hurt. We grieve. Tragedies, injustices and lives taken by illnesses of any kind leave many of us asking God, “Why?” and “Where were you?!” We’re perplexed by how a loving God who is all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere can allow such events as the June 17 massacre of nine Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church members of Charleston, S.C., participating in bible study, to perish on His watch.

The aforementioned words captured in Isaiah 55:8-9 give us the answer. It’s not the answer our natural mind desires or is able to reconcile. Tragedies that befall wrongdoers are easier to reconcile in our minds because we inherently believe justice was rendered. But what solace can be found in the death(s) of those who selflessly serve others? Those who love and trust others? Those who gather for bible study on a Wednesday night, welcoming members and strangers alike?

Answer: God is and always will be sovereign (in control, giving allowance for situations to occur). We weren’t there when God hung the stars in the sky, or when He formed the Earth’s foundations and positioned our planet in perfect distance from the sun. In our limited abilities, intellect and understanding we are in no position to dictate what God should and shouldn’t do. In Romans 11:33 the apostle Paul writes, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” (Romans 11:33, 34).

Good and evil are always at war in this fallen world. Evil is on an uptick and is not taking a backseat. God works through Believers, unbelievers and events to bring light to darkness. To accomplish His purposes, God will be God without requiring our understanding. What IS required of us if we so choose: to have faith in Who He is, faith in His good plans for us, to believe that He is drawing people and transforming hearts even in tragedies, trust His love for us, believe His promise to always be with us and to believe in the One He sent in Who we are to place our hope: His Son Jesus Christ.

A Charleston community member comforts a man mourning news learned of nine Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church members shot and killed during bible study on Wednesday night, June 17, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Photo courtesy: Associated Press

A Charleston community member comforts a man mourning news learned of nine Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church members shot and killed during bible study on Wednesday night, June 17, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Photo courtesy: Associated Press

We will encounter troubles in this life. To seek solace in this world will not garner peace that lasts. In Christ Jesus alone will we find true peace, as He tells us in John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Those who have passed on have run their race in victory. The Voices Against the Grain ministry team unites in spirit with our brothers and sisters in Christ and others to extend prayers of comfort, hope and love to the family members of those killed, to the members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Charleston, S.C., community.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here. 

Technology: Liberator, Idol and Enemy

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Sony Pictures. “The Interview.” Hackers. Threats. North Korea. Public freedoms hindered. These few words describe our current dicey and sensitive situation. An exercise in “freedom of speech” to create and produce a movie that while containing humorous overtones, would certainly set off emotions and spur repercussions unseen given the movie’s premise: a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un—a person who needs no fuel added to his instability.

We know the story now. Upon infiltrating the computer systems of Sony Pictures, the hackers released a slew of embarrassing emails to media for a public flogging of Sony leadership; 9/11-level threats were made to theaters if they carried the movie “The Interview” (was to release on Christmas Day). Sony then decided not to release the movie in theaters or any format, including Video On Demand or DVD. The situation which unfolded first quietly then quickly, tells us this: hackers have made us very aware how intimate and imminent technology has positioned us for danger and destruction.

My brief response on the subject: Technology has been our liberator; liberating us from HUGE, slow, clunky room-size computers, to large, expensive, slow and performance-limited personal computers, to faster than speed of light, chalkboard eraser-sized instruments capable of doing everything for us. Technology has liberated our time and tasks, giving us more freedom. We love such advancements so much and can’t imagine how we did life before without these instruments. We love these technological advancements to a point that we can’t be separated from them at all or not for long. Technology has become our idol. Now, we are perplexed and stunned by this liberator’s ability to quickly position us into dangerous, unseen hands. Hands, that at the click of a few keys, can turn our lives and world upside down or grind it to a halt. We’ve been lulled into supporting more freedoms only to be perplexed by the unintended outcomes. In the wrong hands, this wonderful liberator known as technology, is and will be our enemy.

First storage room computer

First storage room computer

We see what “liberation” brings when it is not anchored in the true freedom and wisdom offered through the One, True Liberator: Jesus Christ. Our desire here at Voices Against the Grain is to equip you to be a critical thinker to successfully navigate all situations, even in these unsettling times. These times demand that we establish our foundation, our guidance and wisdom on how to proceed in life through Jesus Christ, who knows all.

iphone 4s

iphone 4s

For those in relationship with Jesus Christ, we can remain steady in unsettling times because we know who holds our future and who has conquered our enemy. For Jesus tells us these comforting words in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

If you don’t know Jesus Christ, learn Him for yourself as your True Liberator. God bless you.

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.

Normalcy Bias or Great Expectation? Your View

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Rose-colored glasses. All is well with the world. ARE YOU KIDDING? Even some of the most skeptical realize something is amiss. As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bluntly stated, “The world is a mess.” So do you approach life with a normalcy bias or with a great expectation?

THE NORMALCY BIAS 

According to Wikipedia, “the normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster.” 

In short, you will consider our times to be normal and not strange. And for that reason, when time is up you’ll be caught flat-footed, without a life preserver, and without hope. Like the frog sitting comfortably in a slow-boiling pot, you’ll be finished. Done. normal

Today, we are in the 11th hour. What’s the 11th hour? It means “time’s almost up.” “Gather everyone before the doors close.” “Last call.” Read Matthew 24 in its entirety. In short, Jesus fortells the signs of the end of this age. Matthew 24:3-8 reads: 

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us,when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

And verse 29: “The stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  

Zephaniah 1:14-15, 18 further warns:  “The great day of the Lord is near–near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter… That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish… In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”

ready or notAt that point:

  • God’s wrath will not be to discipline those who denied Him
  • It’s not the unbeliever’s chance to invite His Son Jesus Christ into their life
  • This is not God’s opportunity to improve a person or lead them to holiness
  • Time has passed; He will no longer strive with man

A GREAT EXPECTATION…As the Sky is Falling

For the Believer whose hope, joy, life, peace and eternity rests in Jesus Christ:

  • We have nothing to fear about the coming events
  • God’s people will be in the midst of the battle and judgment, but He will equip us
  • As the “sky is falling” He has given us His Spirit of peace
  • We must continue to plant seeds, leave the Holy Spirit to harvest those last few souls
  • We will be sorrowed by the tragic times, yet will have a great expectation and joy!
  • We know these strange times indicate the expected and soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Those in Christ Jesus have assurance in these critical times, for He said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (New International Version)

Have no delusions but clarity about what is coming down the pike. It’s your choice and your chance. Tomorrow will not be the same “normalcy” as today. Time is drawing near. If you don’t have the answers to get out of your mess or can’t rescue your own future, Jesus is the answer. Express that you need Him, acknowledge that He died and rose again for you so that you will have victory, and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit to serve as your guide along the way.

God bless you,

Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Everything In Its Time

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. The message truly spoke to me!   -Nicole

ecclesiastes3-1STOP TRYING TO WORK THINGS OUT before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release it into My care and go on about today’s duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.

A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you. Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace.

Accompanying Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (New International Version)