Sometimes It’s the Way You Think

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Hi People! While Satan uses fear as a tactic to hinder our progress, could he also use your deceptive ways of thinking and processing of information against you? Yes. Sometimes it’s the way you think that is hindering you. I call this ‘distorted thinking.’

For your consideration and equipping in Christ Jesus against your and my stealth (but defeated) enemy Satan, I share with you a devotional written by one of my Regent University Robertson School of Government professors, Dr. Gary Roberts. Thank you Dr. Roberts.



Godly Reasoning

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

As servant leaders and human beings made in the image of God, one of the primary weapons that Satan uses to discourage and defeat us is fear in its various forms. However, fear is not the first weapon of choice as most people suspect. Satan uses our flawed mental information processing patterns as a weapon of deception.

For example, we all possess the tendency to accept the first reasonable cause or answer to a problem given our inherent impatience and desire to minimize time and effort. This is an example of a heuristical (mental shortcut) that subverts our reasoning and logic.

The bottom line is that we are “hardwired” to draw inaccurate and flawed conclusions from our mental analysis. In other words, we engage in both magnification and minimization of danger and risk based upon our personal circumstances and experiences.

Distorted thinking patterns cropped

If we had a painful experience at the dentist as a child, we then project a much higher probability of future dental problems than logic and experience warrants. We hence avoid the dentist increasing the probability of experiencing serious to life-threatening medical problems from decayed and infected teeth. Depending on our mood and personal experiences, we either affix positive or negative blinders. When we are discouraged and depressed, that molehill looks like a 25,000-foot mountain, and when we are inspired and optimistic, that march up the 25,000-foot mountain appears to be a jaunt up the hill.


Man trapped in jar by his negative thoughts.

However, the greatest deception is to reason without God’s presence and power, the absence of spiritual reasoning or intelligence. With Godly reasoning, we recognize when God is ready and willing to move the mountain to the sea, and when what looks like a “jaunt in the park” becomes a time of life and death struggle in the desert.

Irrespective of which vision is accurate, the antidote to killing fear or a lukewarm complacency is the presence of the Lord granting us the strength and wisdom to face whatever circumstance with His life-giving power and protection. Reflect on the faithful promises of security in Psalm 91, and seek his wisdom!

Thank you Dr. Roberts for this equipping and encouraging message. If this message resonates in your spirit and you recognize your distorted thinking patterns, I pray right now that you would allow the Lord’s power to renew and transform your mind to His ways, to His Godly reasoning. For “you can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives you strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

God bless you,


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.


Are You a Slave to Worldly Success?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Have you become blinded by the need to pursue and accrue worldly success that you’ve misunderstood God’s view of success?  What standards do you use to measure achievement and success? I share with you a self-examining devotional on this subject written by one of my Regent University Robertson School of Government professors, Dr. Gary Roberts. I pray his message and prayer blesses you.







“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”– 1 Corinthians 3: 12-13 (KJV)


We are frequently our own worst enemy when it comes to living a godly-directed, balanced life. I am a professor, and if you have any experience in higher education, you discover that both academics and students are very achievement-oriented, and we do not like to lose!

Satan inflates the importance of our achievement goals to encourage us to discard our moral compass leading to compromise in our motives and means. Our drive to succeed can enslave us as we attempt to achieve goals that we falsely believe equate with enduring success. We frequently use the wrong standards and measuring stick to assess achievement. Godly success occurs through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit through the sanctification process and Christian character development as we learn to live, work and play like Christ. It is a pernicious lie that success and peace comes from things and accomplishments, not the Creator. Our challenge is to recalibrate our standards of excellence and the goals and ends pursued according to God’s metrics. As author, Richard Swenson, M.D., states in his book Margin, the most important criterion of success is the cultivation of obedience through loving relationships.

measuring success

Satan adroitly uses the temptation of accomplishments and recognition to distract each of us from our true mission and purpose. In effect, our spiritual job description is always the most important element. The pride of performance, recognition, and wealth is a powerful drug that manifests diminishing returns thereby increasing our craving for more attention and recognition. Many Christians are enslaving their lives to the god of mammon, blinded by its allure of power, wealth, and material comforts over relationships. Very few on their deathbed regret not making more money, publishing one more article or losing that promotion. What causes deep soul pain and regret is the loss of loving relationships. Let us commit to place our hearts and minds on the things of God and reject our idols. Only the blood of Jesus provides the solution!


Dear Father, I give praise and glory for your love, grace, and wisdom. Please help me this day to measure success using your standards, not mine.

-Dr. Gary Roberts, professor, Regent University, Robertson School of Government

Serve Without Outrageous Nonsense

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

As Christians, shouldn’t our “God talk” be followed by “God acts”? Yes. We likely know people who talk the talk but their promises aren’t kept or followed up by actions. Unfortunately, we see this most often in public office. The candidate campaigns, promises to take certain actions to help the public once they’re in office and then…actions fall short. Is there anyone who will not only say God’s Word but carry it out to serve others?

This fall, I will pursue my Master of Public Administration (MPA) with Regent University’s Robertson School of Government. While I already consider myself a Christian public servant by virtue of being Christ’s hands and feet on this earth, I desire the additional knowledge and undergirding to lead effectively our Voices Against the Grain ministry and in other areas of public service to which God is calling me.

If you are a Christian, layperson, minister, business leader, etc., you are also a public servant wherever you are, wherever you go. Delighted to share the following devotional written by fellow Regent University Robertson School of Government student Matt Whitman. The Christian Public Servant is a Monday through Friday devotional service written by Regent University Robertson School of Government faculty and students, offered to anyone who wishes to subscribe. Following the devotional is information about the The Christian Public Servant and how you can receive their devotionals.

May 18, 2015 – Monday


James 2:14(b)-17 (The Message) do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

ReflectionJames 2-14 work your faith

When public servants campaign for office, they try to convince the voting public how they will govern. If elected through the faith of the public, the citizens will actually get the chance to see that faith in action…or not.

Too often, promises made are not promises kept. Talk of future action is never realized. After the election, too many forget to walk the walk. And that means not just knowing what’s right, not just saying what’s right, but doing what’s right.

As Christian public servants—elected, appointed, or employed—we have a daily obligation to practice our faith. To translate God-talk into God-acts. To keep promises for the good of those we serve. To proclaim what is right, and then to do what is right. To do as Jesus would do.

Today at work, put your faith into action. For His sake, serve without outrageous nonsense.


Lord, in Your name, I step up and accept the responsibility of putting You into my action. Today I serve without outrageous nonsense. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Matt Whitman

City Councillor

Halifax, Nova Scotia


What is The Christian Public Servant?

Issued Monday through Friday since 5 November 2012, The Christian Public Servant is sponsored by the Robertson School of Government at Regent University (Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA). It is dedicated to public servants world-wide in all areas of government, non-profit management, health care, social work, faith-based service organizations, public safety and defense, k-12-college education, and church management. For the glory of God, it affirms the public servant on six continents by offering morning devotionals and by receiving prayer-requestsRegardless of faith-path, all are welcome to join us!

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