Your and My Self-Interests is Why We Need a Savior

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. -Romans 7:21, New International Version, Paul said

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13, New International Version

“Since it is impossible to count on enough moral goodwill among those who possess irresponsible power to sacrifice it for the good of the whole, it must be destroyed by coercive methods and these will always run the peril of introducing new forms of injustice in place of those abolished.” -Reinhold Niebuhr, author of Moral Man & Immoral Society, theologian and political philosopher

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”– Romans 3:10, New International Version

Ugh. That last scripture in Romans 3:10 is sobering. Not even one is righteous.

All of the aforementioned quotes and scriptures boil down to one, crude fact: As human beings, much of what we do is driven by self-interest. Always thinking how we’re gonna get over, even if it risks another’s demise. Because we’re dependent upon various needs to preserve our physical life (ex: food, money, clothing, shelter, relationships, community, status) if left to our own devices, we may carry out unspeakable acts to secure these items should one or more be threatened. God knew this in creating us, even with the fall of Adam and Eve and mankind’s sinful nature revealed. A cunning serpent enticed the two that they could know more than God by eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Though God had instructed them to not eat from the tree, to think God might be keeping something good from them, stirred their self-interests to be all-knowing like God.

jesus to be crucified

God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to live and die as the Savior of mankind. We are driven to satisfy the thirsts and urges of the flesh and physical needs. Such appetites not under control have driven many to kill, steal from others, oppress others and inflict injustices upon others. Without a heart transformed by Jesus Christ, even the most naturally goodwill-intentioned people would be corrupted by others’ untamed self-interests. Seeing their rights infringed on in such scenarios, even the most altruistic person void of a relationship with Christ would say, “the heck with it,” and seek measures at all costs to preserve their interests. Peace nor justice will ever be obtained in this manner.

In short, Jesus as our Savior, protects us from ourselves. As Savior, He replaces our propensity for evil with the desire to love and serve others above ourselves. He promises that in HIM we will have peace. In HIM we will have justice. In HIM we will have life and have it to the full. In HIM will our needs be met. He atoned for the inevitable evil in which we’re capable of committing, taking on the punishment we deserved. By inviting HIM into our hearts and lives, thankfully, in HIM, we are made righteous.

-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. 

No Separation from His Love

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. –Romans 8:37-39 (The Message)

 

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong.” If you’re an adult reading this message you know that you too can sing this classic children’s song! Oh what a joy it is to be in Christ Jesus! Our Savior, friend, and Father. The One who loves us unconditionally. For me, Romans chapter 8 is arguably the greatest chapter in the Bible. It begins with an earth shattering profound truth: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 8:1

The entire chapter then incites the Christian believer and admonishes us of how we are to live life through the spirit, how to rightly handle our present sufferings, what to anticipate in the future glory that awaits us, and declares to us who we are in Christ. I’m aware of how difficult it may be for the Christian who sees more days of poverty than prosperity or more days of chaos than peace or more days of trouble than security. They might even ask themselves at that point, “Does God really love me?”

Absolutely! Unquestionably and undoubtedly, yes He does! And you can trust in Him and His Word. For the Bible says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? –Romans 8:35 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” –Romans 8:37

Remember that you are a child of God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. He’s our comforter, our rock, our shield, our Father, and he even calls you friend! Christ said “no longer I call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last- and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” –John 15:15-16 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.Ephesians 3:12

We know that God loves us and nothing can separate us from that love, but the question is do we love him? Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” –John 14:15 Sin and our adversary the Devil have clever ways to instill thoughts and feelings of separation from the love of God. But if we keep the commands of our Lord, we can rejoice like the psalmist in saying, “Hallelujah! How happy is the person who fears the Lord, who truly delights in his commandments.”Psalm 112:1 My friend, the truth is, that He ONLY wants what’s best for us. Be blessed! Amen

-Jason M. Alexandre

 

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. 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 person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

Saved, Now What?

Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. – Psalm 103:43-46 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Relented.” A verb that means “to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving.” May the grace, love, and peace of Jesus Christ be on all those who have trusted in him as their Lord and Savior.  Many of us understand up to a point Jesus being our Savior but our lifestyles seem to strongly reflect that we have neglected to make him our “Lord.”  It seems evident that in our pride and arrogance we refuse to allow Jesus Christ to have ultimate authority, control, and power over the way in which we conduct ourselves and lifestyles. Thus, we ready ourselves to live a life of sin. We may say, “Oh! The grace of God and love is on my life surely the Lord knows and doesn’t expect me to be perfect? And so I can continue to treat my neighbor with malice, cheat here and there on my taxes, even drink and smoke everyday souring this body because after all I did trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior!”

My friend, that mindset could not be farther from the truth. I’ve only highlighted a few of the many excuses we use to deceive ourselves into believing for the sake of blindly retaining our sense of autonomy. But we forget the consequences of living lifestyles that characterizes sin. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. –Romans 6:1-4.

turn from your sin

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but grace. –Romans 6:12-14

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may we truly take this message to heart. May we rationalize sin no longer but aim to be truly doer’s of the Word and not merely just hearers. Jesus Christ lives and he continues to echo the words he spoke to the invalid man he healed thousands of years ago. Jesus said, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” – John 5:14 Friends, Let us not trample on the blood of Jesus Christ any longer by the words that we speak, our conduct, or anything else that contradicts the work of righteousness that is being worked out through him. Amen

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. 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 person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

 

 

2014: Receive the One Who Gave All

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Another blessed Christmas and New Year begins.  At this time let’s remember all that God has done for us this year and the so many that came before.

 Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Our Savior has come, He has risen, and He lives!  Christ came to bring us salvation, hope, peace, forgiveness and everlasting life.  No amount of money can buy that gift.      2 Corinthians 5:21- For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.   How amazing is that?

God loves you! He loves you! He loves us!  This Christmas Season know that He loves you in spite of all the mistakes, disappointments, heartache, grief and pain—His love for you remains.  It is not too late to cast your cares on Him. It is not too late to lay your burdens down, to receive His forgiveness, to turn from a life of sin, or to receive healing.  He is waiting to have every area of your life, yet we allow fear to grip us and it only holds us back.  What IF we gave Christ everything?  I know for me, there is so much I am holding onto and He is telling me to let it go.  How do you let go of past hurts and disappointments?  You lay them at His feet and trust that He will see you through.

As the New Year arrives, I encourage you to let go of all bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, doubt and unbelief.  Leave it behind you and move forward with an open heart and open hands ready to receive all that He has in store for you.

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad,

Ana Martinez

About Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born in Michigan. When she was age 4, her parents Pastor Juan and Deborah Martinez founded the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship in Almont, Mich.  Ana grew up in the church and in a humble, loving Christian home.  Her parent’s faithfulness and commitment to ministry for over 27 years has been a testimony to her.  In her youth she was like the prodigal son.  She knows what it means to walk away from your call and to stray from the Word of God.  Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principals are worth upholding.  She is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the will of The Lord.  Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the kingdom of heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana truly believes people are hurting and need to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give ye rest.”

Ana has served on the Missionary Field, and has served in and led praise and worship, web design, children’s ministry and youth ministry.  Ana’s most recent initiative isGeorgia Peach Ministry, a non-profit she founded that serves widows and orphans.  Ana is also on the board of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Ana is a private chef and has worked with professional athletes over the past five years. She is also an entrepreneur and is part owner in an interior design business, a chef placement business, and is entering into the food product industry.

Ana resides in Southern California with her three beautiful children and seeks daily to model this scripture from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”