“You Have Not Spoken the Truth About Me”

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

No, not of me. This is not about me. But perhaps along life’s journey, you’ve spoken incorrectly or you have not spoken the truth about our loving God. With recent disasters and tragedies it is plausible to behave so particularly if our maturity in, intimacy with and revelation about God is lacking.

The title comes from words spoken by God in Job 42:7 which reads 7After the LORD said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Termanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” (New International Version) In verses 3 to 6 of Chapter 42, Job says this to the Lord which leads up to the Lord’s response in verse 7:

3“You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ (After repeating the Lord’s words, Job continues) Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you will answer me.’ 5My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

In reading Job’s responses in verses 3 to 6, I can feel his contriteness and humility. In his contriteness and in reading the previous chapters leading up to chapter 42, I also sense Job’s awe of how big, how great, how wise beyond our finite understanding is our God. Job realized that he could never even begin to govern God’s affairs — and neither can we.

In witnessing others’ trials whether illness, troubled relationships, financial hardships or injustices inflicted upon them, how many times have we blamed God? More confounding is the people who blame God who don’t even believe in God. Either He is blamed for not existing or He is blamed for existing and not doing something to intervene in that person’s unfortunate situation. Either way, God is depicted as mean, distant, disinterested and falling down on His job (negligent). The infamous words, “How could such a loving God allow such evil or allow such bad things to happen?” spring from the lips of finite beings who can barely begin to comprehend the wisdom of God as he tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Seeing all the suffering and loss that Job endured from losing his children, cattle, property, and his body covered with painful sores, Job’s wife said that he should “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9) for keeping his integrity and faith in God. To her remark, Job replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) Job’s friends who the Lord references in Job 42:7 had taken the appearance of things as God’s wrath unhinged upon Job. Have you thought this as well when viewing another’s suffering or trials? Have you spoken incorrectly or untruthfully about God?

Certainly, we do not wish harm, illness, devastation, loss, injustices, or violence upon anyone. Yet, when things occur we seek to understand why God would allow such incidents. Particularly if the person has lived an honorable and faithful life to the Lord such as God’s servant Job.

Job 42-5 Now my eye sees you

What did Job do to bring these hardships upon himself? What acts was Job guilty of to justify these sucker punches from God, leaving him defenseless? Well, we understand from reading Job 1 and 2, Satan asks God’s permission to attack the Lord’s “blameless and upright servant” confident that after he was through, Job would surely curse God. But Job did not. In fact, it was in this trouble that Job’s contriteness and awe afforded him an even greater revelation about God—something not possible without undergoing the trial. Job seems to reference this aspect in verse 5 when he says, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

The LORD also blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first (Job 42:12).

God is good. He is love, He is kindness. His mercy endures forever. Yet in all this, we are the least equipped to understand all of God’s ways by which He chooses to display His mercy, refine us, purify us, or reveal Himself more deeply to us for His purposes. In my journey with Him, I have come to understand this more and more.

Heavenly Father, please forgive us for moments of rash judgments made about You in our frustration, hurts, disappointment or suffering. Forgive us for when we have spoken or thought incorrectly or untruthfully about You. You who laid the earth’s foundations, who marked off its dimensions, who has given orders to the morning and shown the dawn its place, who knows where light and darkness dwells and can show them to their respective places—Your works are too wonderful for our comprehension. Your wisdom and knowledge of such things compels us to withdraw our accusatory finger pointing and draws us to repentance. Your Presence in all things is beyond our comprehension.

You are God and God alone. For this reason, we remain thankful that You are the Designer of our lives and whatever situations we face. Mature us and may we make every effort to draw nearer to You and persevere to grow in knowledge of You as we trust Your Divine providence. And we know that in all things You work for the good of those who love You, who have been called according to Your purpose—however You choose for this to look. All to Your Glory.

Thank you for loving us and extending us grace in our shortcomings. In Jesus’s Name we pray,

Amen. 

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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The Endless Dance

Job 30:17- At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Where does it come from? At what point will this cutting pain dissipate? Why must these pins and needles play with the muscles? For their dance has led to lack of sleep. Their dance has created spasms that have left us breathless. Their dance has rendered our schedules useless, which has kept us from completing the tasks of our day. Pain is nothing but an admonition to tell us that something is wrong. Pain is the sensor that lights up to make us cognizant that we must pay attention. Pain is the brakes that slow us down to a grinding halt. Therefore, may we revel in our thorns that have pierced our flesh, because like Paul who asked, “three different times for the Lord to take it away,” he found that His power was greatest when weak, “so that the power of Christ could work through him” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). Thus, pain is crucial as it strengthens our resolve and steadies are minds.

 

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.

Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

 

ETA: Grateful in the Wait

Grateful-WomanDoes it seem like everyone else is getting blessed but you? You’ve been faithful, obedient, waiting on God to move. How can we remain thankful in the wait? Read our 5 tips shared in this Gospel Today article! We pray it blesses you. http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2014/11/21/eta-grateful-in-the-wait/

Enduring Temptation

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Your temptations are no different from what others experience. Yet, God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Why me Lord? Why is this only happening to me?” While it may seem that your temptation is unique to your life situation in the way that it affects you, others have experienced it before you or are currently enduring the same. To endure essentially means exercise patience through trouble or suffering. You are not alone friend. The dark moments of our life will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish his purpose in us.

You say, “What good is there in my temptations and sufferings?” If you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are now being molded and transformed each day into His likeness. For 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” As painful as it may sound, that means even sharing in the suffering of Jesus Christ. Yet, take courage for we have One who understands fully and will meet our every need. “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” -2 Corinthians 1:5

God assumes full responsibility for our needs when we obey him. The Bible says that he will show us a way out so that we can endure. But our hearts must be in tuned with the Spirit so that we can listen carefully to his will for our lives. One of God’s requirements for maximum usefulness is brokenness. This is also a way to be in tune with the Spirit through prayer. This walk of faith, I urge you friend, don’t walk it alone. Call up a Christian Brother or Sister in whom you trust and share your valley experiences with them. The truth is, we learn more in our valleys than on our mountaintops.

Find joy in obeying Christ today. For one day, we will be rewarded here either here through our blessings on earth, in eternal life, or at our Savior’s return. “So think clearly, and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:13 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.

 

Trust Your Life to an Unfailing God

1 Peter 4:19- “If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Three key words can be found within this scripture and they are TRUST, SUFFERING, AND FAILURE. We SUFFER because we stand against the normality of the world. We are deemed outcasts and failures due to our sweet aroma of moral fiber, which repulses the mundane onlooker. We TRUST in God’s love because it is pure and given without any contingencies. Thus, may we look upon 2014 hopeful that our various circumstances will turn around. For we will not succeed under our own volition, nor can we prosper with the works of our own hands. Now many believe they have and even boast about their prosperity, but, like one strand of straw that could break the back of a camel, so is one problem’s chance of crushing our spirits. So may we must rejoice in suffering, cling to our trust in Him, and recognize that with God we cannot fail. As Christians we can be confident in this word from Philippians 1:6- “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” 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.