Learning to Obey God

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” –John 4:34 (New Living Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

In the Christian walk, “obedience” is a word often associated within a negative context rather than positive. The English dictionary defines obedience to be “the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance.” In a world that is increasingly encouraging personal, financial, and sexual freedom among many other things, obedience can be a dreadful experience if you’re not thinking rightly about it. But Jesus wants us to have JOY in obeying the Father! Just as it pleased Him and gave Him joy to obey God, so it should please us!

But if we desire to obey God, let it not be from a spirit of unwillingness, fear, or contempt but rather because we LOVE Him. For Jesus said, “All who love me will do what I say. My father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” – John 14:23 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. – 1 John 5:2-3

One thing we must remember while being obedient is that we have a High Priest in Jesus who endured obedience before us. In his humanity, he learned the impact of full obedience to God. For even though Jesus was God’s son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. –Hebrews 5:8. And this High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing’s we do, yet he did not sin. –Hebrews 4:15 He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. –Philippians 2:8 He did this out of LOVE for his father and out of love for us.

So how exactly do we learn how to obey God? Let me suggest a few ways that has worked in my life and other Christians. First we choose to TRUST him and do it his way instead of our own. Jesus gave us an example of this when he said, “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.” –John 6:38 Second, understand that patience and faith are requirements in obedience. Be determined to wait upon God in prayer. His timing is always perfect.

Third, we must meditate on His word EVERY single day. It is impossible to live an obedient life with a closed Bible. Finally, we must be CONFIDENT enough to leave all the consequences to him. There is an inexplicable FREEDOM in knowing that you have obeyed God in your life situation and you leave whatever happens next to him. The psalmist knew this very well when he said, “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments”-Psalm 119:45. Yet, beware of that prowling lion our enemy the Devil. He will keep attempting to move you toward “partial obedience.” Rationalization is one of Satan’s biggest weapons to keep you off base in your relationship with God.

Dear friends, life at its best comes from obeying the Father. Obedience is something you will never regret for it ALWAYS brings blessings. Amen.

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

Day and Night

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:6-9 (New Living Translation)

This passage of scripture reminds us of a time in the past where the nation of Israel should have been afraid. For their leader, a godly man named Moses, just passed away. Now who would lead the people into the Promised Land? The Lord gave that special charge to Joshua and God assured Joshua that just as he was with Moses so he would be with him. –Joshua 1:2-5. Yet, this was a conditional promise. For Joshua had to study the book of instruction, meditate on it day and night, and obey what was written in it. Only then would he and the Israelites prosper and succeed in everything they did. At that time, their book of instruction is what our Bible is today.  Although, the Bible was written thousands of years ago, its content is still applicable to us today and was written for us.

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” –2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Word of God (Bible) teaches us His will and purpose for our lives. It is the very mind of God on paper that was imparted to us and for our benefit. He speaks to us through it. Not only can the word give us direction but it also encourages us and gives us courage to face a world and its many contradictory belief systems on how to truly live a successful godly life. The psalmist knew this very well when he said, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”-Psalm 119:105

Truth is, although it may look like many people have the appearance of success and seem to get along without reading and absorbing the Bible, whatever one acquires outside of God’s will eventually turns to ashes. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-James 1:22. If you are reading this today and forget everything tomorrow, remember this, OBEDIENCE ALWAYS BRINGS BLESSINGS.

Friend, I encourage you today to stay in the Word of God each day and each night. But don’t do it because God commanded it although we should. Do it because he loves you and you love him. For Jesus said “if you love me, obey my commandments”-John 14:15. God wants the BEST for you friend and he wants to show you all that he has for you. Yes! He is faithful and will keep his promises. I am a witness. Just as he was with those who came before us so he will be with us. Indeed, “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced.” –Psalm 25:3

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

Your Testimony Will Free Somebody Else

Your testimony, your healing will free somebody else.

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

On Wednesday’s Voices Against the Grain radio show, we heard a powerful testimony of healing and restoration from sexual trauma and self-hatred shared by our blogger/devotional writer, Ana Martinez. For 22 years, she stuffed feelings of shame and guilt, starting with being molested at age 8, statutory rape at age 13, and raped again at 15. Growing up in her parent’s church and loving the Lord, she then walked away from God and His call upon her life. Today, she is a mom and bold woman of God involved in several ministries and has received freedom by sharing her story with others—so they too can heal. The episode, entitled “Christ: Your True Heart Healer, Soul Lover” conveys how deep, wide and unconditional Jesus Christ’s love for us. He is our special Valentine. No matter how horrific and dark your past or present situation, He LOVES YOU more than you can imagine. He died, rose and lives so you may experience true freedom, joy and peace —not bound by things of this world that enslave.

We were joined by Noel Bouché, president of pureHOPE, a ministry that provides Christian solutions in a sexualized culture. Noel discussed how they provide strategies to equip parents to help their children navigate in this digitized world, where images and messages of sexual immorality are rampant. pureHOPE envisions a world free of exploitation and brokenness. As a new partner with pureHOPE, Voices Against the Grain will join them to fight the proliferation of porn and sex trafficking in our society. To win this fight, Jesus Christ is our HOPE.

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Noel Bouché, President of pureHOPE

Noel Bouché, President of pureHOPE

Immediately following the airing of Wednesday’s show, the calls, emails and text messages poured in from listeners (some in tears) who were positively impacted by the conversation. We could not have planned the perfect formation of elements that has begun the healing and restoration process for many since our discussion. God’s perfect timing unites situations, people and willing hearts to accomplish His purposes. Not a day sooner or later. Right on time.

Words cannot adequately convey what I feel in my spirit. In simplest words, I have a spirit of gratitude and humility that such a big God chooses to involve us in His greater plan. Thank you Lord. We love you.

Satan hoped that Ana would remain silent, ashamed and bound by her past. But God’s plan was already at work. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” As referenced in Jeremiah 29:11, which furthermore says, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,” “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

As Ana says, “No matter your situation, your story, know that GOD can restore you. HE can heal you. HE is our Redeemer. He has a bigger plan for your life greater than you know. He will turn around the darkest things in your life and make them beautiful.”

Just like Ana, sharing your story, your healing will help somebody else.

Listen to the show here. 

Love, Obedience and Not Judgment

Pride is one of those seven deadly sins that sneaks up on us. We think ourselves better than others if we don’t do this or don’t do that sin. We cast judgment upon others without knowing their story, or first extending compassion. Even those of us who strive daily to live holy and obedient to God’s Word fall short in one area or another. We should first seek to understand, and show love. Then instruct truth.  But before we can instruct God’s truth with others who are walking in darkness, remember: Without relationship with Christ, we have no witness and people cannot receive from us.

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Luke 13:2- “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered?” (New Living Translation)

“Your sin is greater than mine, therefore what could you teach me?”

How many of us have uttered this phrase, or have at least thought it? In some fashion we all have had indignant attitudes toward individuals or their experiences, which we believed below our standing of living. This verse refers to sinners, but we have plenty of categories of comparisons, such as money, morality, and so on… In my case, I work to not cast a leering eye, a point of confession to become accountable for my actions. Who is next? For God isn’t interested in keepers of the law, or hypocrites. His blood shed for you and me cast out the law, so that we might have eternal life. Hence, no one is perfect, but we all should strive to live obedient to God’s word. He seeks those who desire to live holy. Here we will grow. There we will flourish. Only then will community of supporters populate, which will spread the glory of Christ. 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.