An Appeal When Love Wanes and Anger Flames

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed last Friday by Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby. Crutcher’s SUV had stalled in the middle of the road and police arrived to address the situation. Crutcher, a large black man, threw his hands up as police approached (to show he was not a threat) but was still tasered, shot and later died at the hospital. Husband. Father. Brother. Unarmed black man. Another one, again.

I was angrier than I’ve felt in some time in learning this news story yesterday. Another unarmed black man shot and killed by a white police officer. The egregious incident, captured on a police dashboard camera, shows Crutcher with his hands up. Officer Shelby is under federal investigation.

Many are angry. We’re inflamed by the injustice of it all. We’re in disbelief that another black man has been taken away from his family like this. In their anger, many have lost their love for others, particularly a number of blacks toward whites. But this response further divides us and plays right into Satan’s ploy. As more Believers grow into the image of Christ, Satan is trying to derail the light of the Church. He seeks to cause division and dissension to where unity cannot be forged. We reject that in Jesus’ Mighty Name!

In recognizing the signs of the end of the age, Matthew 24:12 (NIV) warns us:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

This is happening now, among some Believers. 

ice-heart

And Matthew 24:13 encourages us:

but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

My appeal to all who read this: 

As the crises increase in frequency and intensity, when justice seems elusive and our very lives seem to be under siege, we have an even greater opportunity to display Godly character.  We should be the hands and feet of Christ, serving one another in love; to not lose our love for one another, to not allow our love to grow cold toward others. God’s love demonstrated is exactly what the world desperately needs. Those who are children of God, we are called to manifest His love to others:

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (1 John 3:10, NIV)

As a dear sister in Christ reminded me:

Proverbs 4:23: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV)

My appeal to you: In our thirst for justice to be rendered, let’s maintain our love for one another. Keep your hope, Godly character and faith. Don’t become disheartened and drift away from Him but rather, draw nearer and cleave to Him more. Others need to see His Light in us! If we lose our love toward others, then sadly, we’ve drifted away from our first love: Jesus Christ.

My appeal to you: Remember how the story ends: love/good wins over evil in the end. Satan knows this too. Though he is already defeated, he hopes to make you forget your victory already won.

Lord Jesus, we need You. Our hearts are grieved again by the injustice that has occurred here. Forgive us for our words, thoughts and actions that have not displayed Your Love. Though we are angered by this situation, let it not pull us out of Godly character. Renew a right spirit within us, dear Lord. Create in us a clean heart, for You are holy and require us to be as well. Lord, may we desire to stay close to You, so we can truly be Your hands and feet to others in this sinful and perishing world. So long as we keep You, Jesus, as our first love, our love for others will not grow cold. 

Jesus, please comfort the Crutcher Family in their loss, and all those affected. We pray for the police officer involved, that she would accept responsibility for her actions; that she would seek You to transform her heart and renew her mind so she may truly love and serve others in Your way.  We pray healing for Tulsa and all communities devastated by such actions. Thank you, Jesus. 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

-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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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.

negative-thinking-patterns-full

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

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.

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.

Previously Deceived, Now We See

Proverbs 14:13- Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

It used to be funny, but now we know the truth. You snuck in and stole our hearts, like an unsuspecting sleuth. Your solutions led me to believe you had my best interest in mind. But your gesticulations guided me toward the wrong sign. Our souls are writhing now, for the gratification was too much to bear. For the price paid for you and I should deserve our care. Now we see, that we must proceed onto the path labeled eternity. Conducive to shunning the very chance of us reaching our maximum marginal utility. Therefore, may we seek the safety of immovable ground, instead of the quicksand that conceals are bodies from being found. Whereas we are burdened with an extremely important decision, to which requires neither correct timing, nor immaculate precision. All that is needed is the willingness of heart to escape from our utopias in an effort to move back into reality to seek God’s grace. 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.  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.

God-Appointed and Hated

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – John 15:18 (New International Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Since the moment you asked Jesus Christ to be yours and He made you His, you’ve had a target on your back.  Make no mistake: your enemy Satan hates you. The very fact you are a mouthpiece, a living testimony of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, moving throughout the earth empowering and equipping other believers, you have stirred your greatest adversary to seek your destruction. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (New International Version). Don’t believe the devil is real? Enter a room speaking love and correction where occupants are backbiting and gossiping. Lift up the name of Jesus in a non-believing environment. Note the atmosphere shift. Stand up to illegal activities and injustices. Call popular worldly and accepted norms ungodly. Hold the unaccountable accountable. Note how many slip a Valentine’s Day card into your shoebox.  🙂 We don’t typically move into these spaces with people greeting us with arms wide open.

Backside of Voices Against the Grain t-shirt. We'll get you one too!

Backside of Voices Against the Grain t-shirt. We’ll get you one too!

As a Christian, you’ve been called specifically to bring light, restoration and truth to areas of darkness the enemy has long and comfortably occupied. You are shaking up and reclaiming this territory for God’s Kingdom. We enter the fight knowing we will face attacks head-on presented by our adversary. Satan will seek to discourage us so we won’t move.  He knows every time we move in God, life and light is put forth and swallows up darkness.

The devil does not want us to do anything that brings people closer to God. We are proxy authorities—we don’t always perfectly represent God, but we are growing in our authority and as special missionaries of God. Satan can only work with our imperfections, but Satan doesn’t know what the Spirit of God is doing. We’ve been appointed by God. 

The good news: You belong in the space God has sent you to occupy. God has made you worthy. God’s decisions are flawless, incorruptible. God’s election of His people is incorruptible. Stay staunch!

If you do not have such an adversary, you have a greater problem: If you’re not operating in the true freedom, peace and abundant life which are some of the blessings of being a co-worker with Christ, then you’ve been comfortably lulled into being a co-worker with Satan, whose counterfeit offerings of “freedom” will enslave and wreck you As Jesus said in John 10: 9-10, “Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (The Message Bible)

You Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made! And Your Accuser is a Loser

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

“Kicking the devil in the teeth every day!” Yes! Those words began this Wednesday’s radio show with Pastor Kimberly Jones-Pothier of RealTalkKim.com and Conquering Hell in High Heels ministry, and Ana Martinez, chef and Voices Against the Grain devotional writer. We ENJOYED our time in the Lord! We shared an authentic conversation on relationships, surrendering to God when you’re going through trials, how to ignore your accuser (Satan) who surfaces your mistakes, and “What Is a Proverbs 31 Woman?” In a society where “anything goes,” Proverbs 31:10-31 reveals the honorable woman. The conversation kicked off our month-long radio show series “March with Us, March with Her” as we highlight women of God who are equipping other women to live out their God-given purposes.

Several golden nuggets of truth emerged from our discussion to include:

  • There is nothing you go through that God can’t use for someone else’s benefit—you are getting through it for you and someone else
  • Deliberately set aside quiet time with God to develop your purpose
  • We all fall short—yet your past is not beyond God’s reach or restoration
  • God will accelerate your path and recover time lost
  • If you are not equally yoked or on the same page with the person you’re in relationship, they can destroy your future
  • Recognize your identity in Christ and don’t be defined by the world; get your eyes off of what the world portrays and pray for God to reveal to you everything He created you to be
  • God will finish the good work He began in you, no matter how broken your past
  • Satan is our accuser and will remind you of your faults to hinder your purpose—take away the devil’s authority by confronting your past and walk in God who has called you! You are a new creation in Christ who is fearfully and wonderfully made! You are more than a conqueror! Keep moving forward! Only YOU can stop YOU! (Psalm 139:14, Romans 8:37)
  • God’s plan is to prosper you, not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • A Proverbs 31 Woman is one whose confidence is anchored in the LORD

Want to hear more ‘truth’ nuggets? Listen here! 

Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Hi Dear Friends. I am delighted to share with you the following LifeKEYS devotional written by Pastor Colin Smith sent by dear friend and sister in Christ, Rachel Hart.  Pastor Smith created LifeKEYS as a tool to “unlock the Bible and help persons to experience more than just information, but a life-changing transformation through Jesus Christ.” Pastor Smith’s devotional below, is short, to the point and unquestionable in meaning. Please read “The Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin.”  Thank you Rachel for allowing me to share this message with others. -Nicole

 

By Pastor Colin Smith

 

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan… 2 Thessalonians 2:9                                                  Bitter rotten fruit

If sin is the secret activity of Satan at work in the soul, what does it produce in a person’s life?

1. Deceptionwith all wicked deception… (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Evil deceives; that is its nature. Where you find sin attractive, that is where Satan deceives.

2. Perishingfor those who are perishing. (2:10)

For those outside of Jesus Christ there is an unraveling of life that is going on, a taking down, a becoming less. By nature we are perishing.

3. Refusingbecause they refused to love the truth… (2:10)

The greatest barrier to faith lies not in the doubts of the mind, but in the desires of the heart.

4. PleasureAll… who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2:12)

“Had pleasure in unrighteousness” explains why they “did not believe.” Where the heart loves wickedness, the mind cannot embrace the truth.

5. Delusiontherefore God sends them a strong delusion… (2:11)

When a person keeps resisting Christ and pushing him away, God eventually gives him or her over to what he or she desires.

6. (False) Beliefso that they may believe what is false. (2:11)

When a man feels that he is his own God, his own law, and that he stands on his own goodness, you know he has swallowed the lie.

7. Condemnation

All [will] be condemned who did not believe the truth… (2:12)

This is why we need a Savior, and why we rejoice in these words: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”(Romans 8:1)!

Reparative Therapy or Repair Our Compassion?

The following topic is likened to the intensity of a powder keg few would touch with a 10-foot pole while wearing protective gear, encased in a fortified tank.  But I am not so intimidated to approach. I trust the Holy Spirit to deliver the message as He desires.

Last week, national news outlets buzzed with fervor and perhaps a hint of excitement that would finally dismantle Christians’ positions on the conversation of homosexuality and whether someone engaging in this lifestyle could ever become “straight.”

This Washington Post piece is one of many articles published featuring Alan Chambers, Exodus International president, who said God has instructed him to shut down the 37-year-old ministry that utilized reparative therapy to help persons reduce and remove feelings of same-sex attraction. In a public letter, Chambers apologized for his treatment of gays and not acting toward them in love as God would. He also said that though he gave over years ago to Christ his same-sex attraction and that he and his wife are happily married with children, he still at times experiences attraction to men.  Furthermore, in this June 21, 2013 Christian Post interview, Chambers replies to a portion of his letter by saying, “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage, but I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.” Chambers desires to promote “peace at all costs” and share the good news of the Gospel.

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

The news of Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International (notice I’m not calling it a ‘ministry’ as he did), gained steam as CNN’s Anderson Cooper (who has been public about his homosexuality), seemed thrilled that finally a ‘Christian’ organization has recognized they are wrong to try and change or pray for someone from being gay.

In reading the Washington Post article, it appears Chambers’ issue was not his belief that same-sex attraction is not God’s way for relationships—rather, it was Chambers lack of compassion, condemnation and brow beating of homosexuals that was the problem. This is something entirely different. My concern is that if this issue is not communicated clearly, it will only increase some homosexuals’ hate toward Christians for our prayers to help those overcome such lifestyles— and encourage the unwitting to support same-sex relationships/attractions (which is the enemy’s hope and trajectory).

Let’s be real clear here. There are a few issues within this situation requiring clarity.

1. Certainly, the techniques of reparative or conversion therapy seem questionable and inhumane. The techniques seem to do little to demonstrate the love and compassion of God. Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International was likely best as he and others within the organization need to re-evaluate God’s command to love one another and show compassion. A Christian’s walk is often challenged to show compassion and love for those who express and promote opposing views that contradict God’s Word.  As God’s Elect and Ambassadors of Christ, we are asked to “deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)

Salt and Light Living

2. Don’t be fooled. While a Christian’s charge is to extend compassion along with faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control to those we encounter (family, friends, colleagues, strangers), it doesn’t mean we shy away from instructing God’s truth—even when it is unpopular.  While many images depict Jesus as a gentle lamb, He is also a brazen and bold lion. So we must be.  Christians have been called to be “salt and light,” dispersing truth in a world that would rather pursue gods and vehicles that allow more fleshly freedoms rather than pursue freedom in Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:13-16 says,13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

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.”

3.  Since the creation of time, humans have engaged in all forms of immorality. Homosexuality is only one of these forms and is not new to the scene.  Since God has made Himself known to man, people have invariably exchanged the truth for a lie (with enticements from Satan) to satisfy their flesh. Ultimately, God’s wrath against mankind has turned many over to their lusts (Romans 1:18-32).

There are a number of scriptures (James 5:16 about confessing our faults to one another to be healed to help overcome fleshly struggles) or Deuteronomy 30:19 (I set before you life and death; blessings and curses) that indicates God presents us opportunities to choose not to accept or become slaves to our dysfunctions and tendencies; to break free from negative generational cycles. Through Christ, we have opportunity to live free from bondage. Flesh will always want it’s way over the spirit. We cannot overcome such struggles in our own strength. Only in Jesus Christ can we have this victory.

All of us are subject to battles of the flesh. Reparative therapy is not a solution.  Demonstrating compassion toward those who struggle with the flesh and have not turned it over to God, is our charge. However, this doesn’t suggest as Christians show compassion, we should also support the ways of the world. God’s Word does not change to conform to the laws and votes of our society.

Today, people wait to celebrate or shake their fists at the Supreme Court’s impending rulings on Prop 8, same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Yet, yesterday, today AND tomorrow, God’s Word remains consistent in his creation of man and woman for fruitful relationships. It is Satan’s hope that Christians will unwittingly retreat from the truth in their pursuit to keep harmony among unbelievers. But we know Satan is only interested in gaining co-workers with him instead of leaving people to become co-workers of Christ.

Today’s answer to tomorrow’s challenges: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

Averting “Well, They Got Me This Time”

This following scenario I believe most, if not all of you have experienced at one time.

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

My brother has a saying, “Well, they got me this time,” when he’s been the victim of a bad meal. You take a chance, try a new restaurant. Perhaps you do takeout.

You get home, open the bag and discover the meal is NOT what you expected and certainly not what you would have paid for. Unfortunately, you’re already home and don’t feel like trekking back to the place and asking them to redo your meal—only to serve it up twice as badly or with other ‘suspect’ ingredients.  🙂

So, you cut your losses and say, “Well, they got me this time,” and if you’re wise, you make a mental note never to patron their business again. You might also forewarn others by sharing your dreadful experience. The meal you were excited to receive was a false representation of what was promised to you—and you’re still hungry. Is there anything worse? Yes. Worse would be if you kept returning to the restaurant expecting different results.

Bad restaurant food

For some time, we’ve been living in an age that demands Christians and unbelievers distinguish between what is authentic and what is counterfeit. As is his nature, Satan attempts to counterfeit everything of God (such as, “how is marriage defined?” “friends with benefits?” “what does it mean to be successful?” )

By nature, humans have at least three core drives that drive their interactions in order to fulfill natural appetites and needs: 1- To seek or obtain material and immaterial things, 2- To seek sensual or physical pleasure or needs, and 3- To escape or avoid.

We live in a society that doesn’t run to God—it runs from God. God said, “seek ye first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and flee from the devil.” This is the model we should follow but the world operates on an inverse model.

As broken people seek various avenues to become whole again, they will likely stumble upon the counterfeit which brings more emptiness. They choose not to pursue the authentic paths or relationships because the results of the counterfeit appear more promising with presumed quicker rewards.

Truth is, too many people following counterfeit paths are marching toward their own destruction. God is raising up new witnesses to lovingly awaken the confused and to be salt and light in a decaying world. It is imperative that Christians discern the truth amidst the onslaught of the fake, the empty, the counterfeit and the fruitless.

Authenticity is found in Jesus Christ. True to our purpose here at Voices Against the Grain, we seek to lovingly and wisely provide clarity so you can navigate successfully in truth through the confusion.

The stakes are too high for me to be Ms. Congeniality on such matters. We are in a season of preparation. There are fewer allowances for, “Well, they got me this time.” We must avert this at the pass.

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.

Remain Faithful in the Strange

Increasing violence from city, to countryside to nations.  Corrupt leadership at all levels of authority. Immorality plays out on our television screens permeating the walls within our homes, schools and other structures. An uptick in natural disasters. Given this, who is surprised at the destruction we see in our world? These events have been a long-time coming. Certainly the events are unnerving and can bring feelings of despair.

Sad_ManAs Jesus shared at the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:6-8: 6-“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7-Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8- All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Birth pains? Women who have birthed a child know birth pains/contractions may begin hours apart, and increase to minutes apart as the baby is delivered. Such is the case in the events we are witnessing. The events are certain to intensify to bring about the final act: Jesus’ return and Satan’s demise.

Before this day and the days to come, God told us this would happen. But do not fear, be not confused nor consider it “strange.” God desires for his chosen to walk in faith, peace, love and clarity with “eyes wide open.” Throughout His holy scriptures, He tells us the signs of our changing environment. Signs that signify an increase in the wickedness and usher in Jesus’ return.  But who is listening? In Isaiah 65:2-3, God says, 2- “All day long I have held my hands out to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—3- a people who continue to provoke me to my very face.”

How long will God’s grace and mercy strive with unbelievers? With the immoral? With the wicked? Why does man continue in his arrogance that he can do his own thing without consequences?

In these “birth pains,” it is irrelevant whether we are in the first trimester or nearing the last. One thing is certain: time is running short. The birth pains are accelerating with common words exchanged by onlookers such as, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” The events are not coincidental. While the enemy is unleashing scheme after scheme, God is stretching out His arms to those who will hear. He is making every effort to get our attention (even in tragedies) to pierce our hearts, to humble the proud, to cease the works of the wicked as the end nears. He is raising up an Army of bold believers who will share His Word and truth to wherever He instructs.  This is ever more a time for the body of Christ to be united; moving on one accord, and not divided by denominations and doctrine. Remain faithful to what He has called you to do.