What Time is It? Our Greatest Opportunity

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

This week…there have been few words to be offered other than those spoken to comfort, encourage others and commune with God in prayer. We continue to pray for the families affected. All of us have been affected one way or another by the back-to-back traumas. Our hearts are grieved. The successive acts of violence committed against Black men and White police officers has left us heartbroken, angry and in search for answers. Many have asked, “When is this going to stop??!”

Sadly, we’ve yet to witness evil’s capacity. Yet, the times should indicate to Believers and unbelievers that the answer to “when is this going to stop” is beyond the implementation of traditional, temporary, external solutions. This indeed and always has required us to surrender our human arrogance to offer up Band-Aid solutions to curtail evil’s appetite with counterfeit solutions only to dismiss the true answer, which is Jesus Christ.

Dallas police makeshfit memorial

Michael O’ Mahoney, a former police officer, places his patch on a makeshift memorial at the Dallas police headquarters on July 8, 2016. Photo courtesy: AP

So what time is it? 

As Believers, it is our greatest opportunity to remain vigilant in prayer and fasting. It is our greatest opportunity to display unity and true freedom to a world that is fractured, broken and seeking life and healing to no avail. It is our greatest opportunity to be salt, light and truth when people offer textbook solutions and seek not the heart of God for answers.

As Believers, it is our greatest opportunity to stop being led by others who aren’t plugged into the Vine, who aren’t yielding to the Holy Spirit, who aren’t in their prayer closets, and to walk in the instructions the Holy Spirit gives us on how to push back the darkness.

As Believers, it is our greatest opportunity to become unshackled from false doctrine and legalism and be transformed by Christ in our thinking so we can move with clarity, unhindered. As Believers, it is our greatest opportunity to boldly and confidently move in our callings where God has placed us, particularly to challenge broken, traditional processes and systems that continue to churn out temporary remedies in our communities.

As Believers, it is our greatest opportunity to share with those who are crying out for answers and relief; to joyfully and lovingly share Who is our Greatest Hope, and not be afraid of offending someone or seek to be politically correct.

So again, what time is it?

To the Believer, there should be no question as to “what time it is.” Everything is telling us “what time it is.” Question is, how will you respond with this insight? Should you choose to move as Light against the darkness and as described in the aforementioned paragraphs, you will certainly be met with opposition. But even so, do you dare to use this greatest opportunity to allow God to show you all that He is and all that you are in Him?

light of the world

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

Praying for bold warriors. Prayers for vigilance in the Body of Christ. Prayers for the Body of Christ to continue to be salt, light and truth in a world that pursues other methods for solutions rather than pursuing God. Prayers for those seeking answers in these dark times to find Jesus Christ, Who is our Answer and Greatest Hope.

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.

 

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Why Do We Fast and Pray?

 

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Why should we fast and pray—individually and corporately? The quick answer: Fasting helps us get into God’s will. Prayer helps us to hear what God wants.  This benefits us individually and corporately to discern how God wants us to move in the various populations and territories we occupy.

When it comes to fasting and prayer, the misstep some people make is trying to draw God’s focus to their desires without seeking to hear and learn where God is focused. It’s human nature for us to desire comfortable lives and to want that comfort right now. Some people view fasting and prayer as tools to “help God out.” They use it as an opportunity to dictate to God what He should do. In fact, as the late evangelist David Wilkerson said, “We know too much about what we want and too little about what God wants.” In prayer we need to ask God, “What is it that you want from me?”

In truth, even in our diligence in prayer, we’ve all experienced what seems like delayed answers. When we read Daniel 10, we see that Daniel has been fasting and praying for 21 days with no response to his prayer. The angel Michael comes to Daniel and explains that his prayer was heard initially. The delayed response was due to spiritual opposition with the prince of the Persian kingdom that resisted him for 21 days. In essence, Michael was battling demons on Daniel’s behalf.

The same occurs for us, particularly when we’re fasting and praying.  We are likely to encounter spiritual warfare.  It’s important that daily we put on our spiritual armor, as instructed in Ephesians 6:10-17. “For our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (v. 12) Our engagement in such warfare makes the enemy take notice.  Sometimes our situations require an extended period of fasting and prayer to break the enemy’s strategies to keep us oppressed. It also engages angels to war on our behalf.

Woman-praying

For individual and corporate prayer and fasting, the greatest gain is that we come to learn the heart of God. If we truly desire to know God’s will for us, we will seek to know what God wants from us. He will certainly answer. As we seek to accomplish 2016 goals, let one of those be that we examine our prayers and become concerned about the things of God, and less focused on what we need. Ultimately, our goal is to decrease self so Christ can increase. When flesh is subdued, He will do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

Do you seek to know God’s will for you? Are you prepared to go the distance in God by first seeking to know what He desires, above your desires? Fast and pray.

-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.

 

On Solid Rock I Stand

Herbert G. Bowen, Jr., Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, Jr., Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Psalm 28:1- “I pray to you, O LORD, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die.”  (New Living Translation)

Shhh, be quiet, so we might hear the whisper of God’s voice. Now we sit in silence, waiting and cogitating our lives within the still of the darkness. Our thoughts are now projected into tangible representations before us. We grasp, but cannot touch. We stare, but cannot see. Thus, how can these representations be tangible?

Well, they’re held within the caverns of our hearts and are made real by the mere thoughts of our minds:

A desire to help others is met with swindlers and smooth talkers at our doorstep.

A desire to employ others is met with impediments and capital losses threatening to steal our businesses.

A desire to stay moral and clean is met with solidarity and loneliness.

Every desire started off with good intent, but ended up in failure and discontent. The solution is prayer, which is the direct link to God, our Rock and our Fortress. 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.