Stumbled back into Lust? #NoLustNovember

Hey guys! Day 6, and I know some of you are absolutely amazing and you are just kicking your old lifestyle out and seeking Jesus like never before. However, I am realistic and I know this isn’t the case for all of us. Have you made a mistake since the month started? Have you looked at lustful images and didn’t turn away like you should have? Is that girl’s body still in your mind, bro? Is that handsome guy still playing with your mind and emotions, sis? Did that song, movie, or conversation stir lust back up into your heart? Did you go to their house again knowing it would lead to fornication?
 

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11 ESV)

 
It’s crazy that we look at the men and women in the bible as being such perfect believers and that must have been the reason God used them, right? Wrong, God used them because they depended on His Spirit. God didn’t use them because they had it all figured out. Paul is someone I reference a lot, because he was a great example on how to live (other than Jesus). However Paul mentioned that he had a weakness he wanted God to remove. God told him “no”. He was telling Paul that His grace was sufficient for him and He would help him overcome his issues (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). However, I want to draw your attention to Romans 7 (read all of it when you can). Paul mentions that the things he wants to do, he doesn’t do, but yet he finds himself doing things he doesn’t plan to do (Romans 7:15). Sounds familiar? Yes, because that is all of us serving Christ. We want to live pure and righteous lives, but we don’t at times. We want to hate sin at times, but yet we find ourselves falling into sin. Not only do we fall into sin, but we fall into the same one we repented of 831 times at the altar. However, I love how chapter 8 begins, because it stops focusing on our failures and points us to the solution – Jesus and His grace. You are not condemned. You are His. Don’t stay in your mess when Jesus died to free you.
 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

 
I’m here to tell you that it is okay that you messed up. The only people who mess up are the ones who tried. You can only break a fast when you are fasting. You can only become weary when you have been fighting. Falling is inevitable, because you are human. But that is why we have the Holy Spirit, to guide us away from temptation and to restore us when we fall. Are your actions okay when you sin? Not at all. Is God pleased with your decision to turn back to your sin? No, He wasn’t pleased. But I am here to tell you that it is okay for you to get back up again. No way am I telling you to keep committing your sin, but you have to understand that God expects growth, but He is fully aware that we are human. There is grace for His children because we cannot do things on our own (Psalms 130:3). You don’t have to stay down just because you fell into the same mess. You can and you will overcome, in Jesus’ name. You won’t overcome on your own, but you will when you decide to turn away from those things and people that are toxic to your spiritual walk.
 

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (Psalms 130:3-4)

 
So for those who have fallen, and for those will fall tomorrow, please get back up again. Be sorrowful, be remorseful, be sincere in your repentance and get back up again. Take a break from social media if you must. Unfollow some accounts if you’re failing. End some relationships if you see the cycle is repeating and no boundaries are being followed. Because it is one thing for your relationship to make a mistake, but it is another when it is just not God’s will for your life (read more about that here). Please don’t quit, let’s keep growing!
Remember to stay engaged with us! How?
– By using the hashtag #NoLustNovember on your pictures, statuses or videos that you’ll use to encourage others.
– Sharing what God shared with you during your devotion.
– Sharing a quick video about overcoming lust or a testimony.
 
Pray Psalms 51 when you get the chance.
 
Grace and peace.

Words

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato
As Christians, we have the opportunity to show someone Christ without even mentioning His name. We have grown accustomed to saying “I’m Christian” instead of being Christian. A major way to show the world the love of God is by our words. We should not say things that will cause people to sin or go against the church. Our words should always be graceful, beneficial, and kind to the hearer (Colossians 4:6). Words are very impacting. You can be nice to someone for years, but they’ll never forget the one time you did them wrong. You may be forgiven, but you cannot take back your words. So to avoid the hurt, just learn to limit your words and speak to people respectfully.
 

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. (Proverbs 10:19)

 
Before you speak, ask yourself:
1. Is this true?
2. Is this helpful?
3. Will they be offended?
4. If it needs to be said, does it have to be said now?
5. Even if I’m right, how can I say this without a judgmental approach?
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Whoever made that up was very clever, but that is definitely far from the truth. Many of us today struggle with insecurities because of things once said about us. Called names and ridiculed, and in return leaving many scars. If that is you, I will definitely like to encourage you and let you know that you are good enough, you are beautiful, and Jesus thinks you are to die for. Never let someone’s opinion of you change your reality. God did not make a mistake. Before you speak, think about what you are saying. You want your actions to point people to God, not to insult anyone. The bible says it is almost impossible to reach a person that was previously offended (Proverbs 18:19). You do not understand someone’s battle, so just use your mouth to keep them in prayer.
Here’s a challenge for you! This week, choose one of these 2 ways to impact/uplift someone with your words:
 
1 – Use your words to share Jesus.
If you love Jesus, why not share Him? Yes, the Bible says they will know us by our love, but how can someone come to salvation if you don’t share the gospel (Romans 10:14)? Talk about Jesus as often as you can. Please don’t be awkward though.
Friend at work: “Hey, would you like to come to lunch with us?”
You: “I can’t, but Jesus loves you. Let me know when you have a minute to discuss salvation and your eternal dwelling place.”
Just please don’t. But pray that God will open a door for you to share your faith, your testimony and share His goodness.
 
2 – Encourage someone.
Everyone loves to hear kind words, and many of us have a friend that is just always kind. But have you ever reached out to them and just said, “Hey, I appreciate you. You’re a great friend, praying for you. Have a blessed day.”? Be willing to reach out. I know you would rather someone reach out to you, but this is a way to treat your neighbor the way Jesus expects.
You know that they struggle with sin? Pray for them. Try to help them back up, don’t look down on them for their weakness. Use your words to assure them that God is able to deliver and keep them.
 
 
I encourage every reader to listen to an amazing song by Hawk Nelson, it is called “Words”. Your words have power. Use your words to bring life and not to tear others down.
 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21)

 
Grace and peace.

HE Is Worth the Wait

It is so easy to become eager when you are expecting something. Especially when you’ve been waiting on it for a while. We fantasize and obsess, creating a tunnel vision in which we see nothing else except for that one thing we know will bring contentment and joy and even security. Nothing else matters until the dream in our hearts become a reality in our lives. We exude so much passion in pursuit of that next job/career, that house, that car, that relationship… There is nothing wrong with going after any of these things but nothing guarantees that they’ll be worth the wait and truly satisfy us until we learn to trust and wait on God. My dad used to always sing this song “There is no satisfaction without salvation”, and never did I truly understand it until now.
 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

 
Long before my husband I started dating, there were times when I longed for a companion. To be honest, I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship but seeing all my friends around me in relationships made me believe that I needed one. At some point I even allowed satan to convince me that I was lonely… That I was incomplete because I was single and that what would make me the happiest was to find “THE ONE” for me. I remember being in high school and never having a boyfriend. My “friends” would say I was lonely and some would even encourage me to come to parties or out with them for the weekend. They promised me a life changing experience. But my parents were saved and strict and I knew better than to ask them if I could ever participate in any of those activities. I was miss “Goody Two-Shoes” and I hated it! I was tired of sticking out like a sore thumb and I wanted to fit in so I decided I was going to get a boyfriend. I “dated” this guy in an attempt to “fit in” and to remove the loneliness my friends said I had, but I still didn’t feel like I was fitting in and my relationship did not make me happy because it wasn’t one I wanted to be in. I knew this person wasn’t for me and I knew my reasons for entertaining this relationship were all wrong.
So at some point I had to stop allowing society to make me feel like being single and pure was a sickness. I realized God did not call me to fit in and I would never fit in because God’s agenda for my life required just the opposite. I ended that relationship and redirected my focus on the ultimate one worth waiting for, Jesus Christ.
 

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)

 
I’m sure many others have similarly been where I was. It’s so easy to lose your identity in trying to obtain what the world displays as happiness. What I started to realize is that the world’s definition of a relationship wasn’t a healthy one and relationships do not bring you happiness if you are with the wrong person. And if you aren’t spiritually and mentally mature enough to handle them, they can be destructive. Just because our peers look happy in relationships, that doesn’t mean we should compare ourselves to them in believing that we too need to be in a relationship right now. Who says they are truly happy anyway? You don’t know that. The path God has for you is different from the one He has for someone else so it is important that you stay in your lane and not get ahead of yourself.
Singleness is a blessing, and there are so many things that you are able to do more freely when you’re single that you might not be able to do when you’re married. This is your time to serve God without added family responsibilities and obligations.
 

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)

 
I learned to chase Him in my single state and trust Him to write my love story. In my love life and in other aspects of life, I’ve had to learn to wait on God and not get so anxious in obtaining my worldly desires. Once I put my life and decisions in God’s hands, I’ve been completely satisfied with Him and what He’s given. Simply because He gives me His best and His plans for me are far better and greater than the plans I had for myself. He was truly worth the wait, He still is worth the wait, and He will always be worth the wait.
I encourage someone to wait on God today. He will fill your heart and satisfy you like no one else can. All your dreams and desires are so plain and miniscule compared to those He has for you. It’s so crazy how difficult it might be to see this now but we will better understand it as time goes by.

 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 
Grace and peace.

I Love Jesus, but I'm Depressed

You know what I’ve come to learn about many people in the church? We can easily misinterpret things because of our own convictions or emotions. It’s true because of how I feel. You hear more comments like “well, I think”, “I don’t think the bible was implying this, I believe it was suggesting….” or more comments like that. However, no one is saying what the bible says, just what they think or feel.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”‭‭ (Proverbs‬ ‭14:12‬)
I’ve also noticed that some people don’t understand the dynamics of spiritual warfare whatsoever, so they consider anything positive a blessing from God and everything negative the devil. That would be complete nonsense for us to believe the devil has so much power. Jesus said that ALL power was given to Him (Matthew 28:18), so the devil has no power over us. It is possible to be blessed and not have much. Blessings aren’t in possessions. It is possible to be cursed and have everything you want. We cannot say God is on our side because things are going our way. God does not change based off of our seasons (Hebrews 13:8). So in some parts of the church, we see there are some believers that really don’t understand that spiritual warfare is necessary and they are living based off emotions.
Then there are other believers that tend to “over-spiritualize” everything:
“Don’t claim that spirit, depression is of the devil!”
“You don’t have mental health issues, that’s the enemy coming against your mind!”
“The reason you’re in that season that you are in is because you have been in sin…. God must be teaching you a lesson.”
Those are just a few statements I’ve heard. Sadly, I must admit I used to say and believe things like this. I say it’s sad because I know now how we as Christians can be both ignorant and/or insensitive to the battles others are facing…. Until we are in those shoes.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
Now before you misinterpret where I am headed with this, just follow me. This verse is not to say Jesus was depressed. However, there are many believers that found themselves afraid, sad, depressed, suicidal, lonely, distressed, overwhelmed etc. There are points in our lives when we are doing no wrong yet we are feeling burdened. Which goes to show us, “bad things” don’t always happen to us because we are living in sin. Yes, sin has destructive outcomes, but righteousness can have negative consequences. People are killed for their faith daily. Moses was leading the people as God commanded, yet they only stressed him out (Exodus 32:19). Elijah was a mighty man of God, yet reached a point where he just wanted to die; maybe he even had a few suicidal thoughts pass his mind (1 Kings 19:4). David was a man after God’s heart, yet he found himself in very low points and feeling away from God (Psalms 13).
If you feel alone, just know that this season will pass. It is a season, God has not forgotten you. I used to think “weak-minded” Christians are the ones that experience depression or anxiety. Now I know that we are still human and susceptible to weakness. However, weak moments are some of the most spiritually enriching moments. Jesus said that His grace was sufficient for our weakness and that His strength  is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). You don’t have to feel ashamed to be broken. Jesus will mend the broken pieces of your heart, but you have to be bold enough to seek His presence (Hebrews 4:16). If you are depressed over someone who left, understand that God’s plan for your life is not attached to someone He removed from your life. If you are down about what you don’t have, please understand that God can supply all of your needs (Philippians 4:19). If you don’t have a reason and this season just comes often, please understand that God is able to to deliver again and again and again and again.
I still firmly believe that many of us are misunderstanding the power of God at times. God is a healer. God is a deliverer. I refuse to believe that God is able to come to earth as a man, die, and rise back up again, only to have SOME power. Jesus said that ALL power is in His hand (Matthew 28:18). So no, you can’t medicate a demonic spirit. Some sicknesses and mental issues are spiritual attacks. I know many may not believe that, but you cannot believe in Jesus and the Bible, yet fail to realize there is a devil and he comes to destroy us (Ephesians 6:10-12). That is why Jesus said that He will give us power over the adversary (Mark 16:16-18), because He knows that we will have to bind demonic spirits through His name.
I’ve been in many circumstances where I have seen demonic spirits manifest in someone’s life. Either someone else casted it out of their body, or I had to. Many think that stuff only happened in the bible, but the bible said these signs will follow us as believers. You may have certain spirits plaguing your mind, cast them out by speaking truth. I’ve seen many people come to me out of depression and I have to talk them out of suicide or something else very dangerous. When God said He was giving us power, it was so we could rise above the enemy’s plan and do His will (Acts 1:8).
10 Verses to memorize and quote when you’re going through depression:
  1. Psalm 42:5 & 11
  2. Psalms 34:1
  3. Philippians 4:8
  4. Deuteronomy 31:8
  5. Psalms 34:17
  6. Psalms 40:1-3
  7. 1 Peter 5:7
  8. John 16:33
  9. Isaiah 41:10
  10. Jeremiah 32:17

 
Of course, depression doesn’t leave overnight. I remember going through the lowest point in my life, because I was ostracized over a rumor. The only people I could trust were family and a few friends. It didn’t make sense to me because everyone that cut me off were so close to me. David said that he could understand if his enemies hated him, but being hurt by church family can be overwhelming (Psalms 55:12). The trick of the devil though is to allow you to isolate yourself from people, he wants you to shut down so you can become an easy target. However, when you feel the most alone is when you need to seek God the most. Have a spiritual leader to lean on and help strengthen you. When you feel no one understands, that is when you need to learn to express yourself instead of assuming that no one cares. I’m praying for all of you who may struggle with this.
Grace and peace,

Tovares Grey

Fighting Lust? 

I decided to make this blog due to receiving the same messages on a consistent basis. The type of sin you fight against may be different from others, but sin nonetheless is not something to take lightly. There is no “formula to holiness” outside of a relationship with Jesus, so I don’t want you to depend on me or another person for all of the answers. However, these are a few steps that have helped me and I’m sure that I can help a few of you if you read this prayerfully and allow God to speak to your situation directly.
Here are 5 practical ways to overcome your battle with lust:
1. Spend more time with God. 
Seek God desperately. You need Him when you feel strong, and you are definitely in need when you are feeling weak. The closer we are to Jesus is the easier it is for us to see when a relationship, tv show, song, etc. is lustful. The closer I am to Jesus is the easier it is for me to know when what I am doing is going against His word and His call to purity. Until we start spending more time with Jesus, we will always find ourselves seeking pleasure from things that will never satisfy (Jeremiah 2:13). We are complete in Jesus (Colossians 2:9-10).
If you read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, you will see that even Paul had his own personal battles. We don’t know what his “thorn” was, but we see that he didn’t want it. He prayed to have that issue removed from His life and God literally told him “no”. You see, we always think our struggles/sicknesses/trials come to destroy us, but God sometimes sends them to humble us and to keep us depending on Him. If you struggle, you will see that God can deliver and you will be able to help others. Let your struggle drive you into prayer, not out of God’s will.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalms 119:9)

2. Be accountable 
No wo/man is an island. Many believers fail to forget that there is strength in numbers and God loves us living in unity (Psalms 133:1). Someone must know that you are struggling. You cannot pretend to be strong. Pretending to have it all together is only going to stress you out and prevent you from living in God’s strength like you were designed to. It’s best to have a group of godly brothers and sisters that you aim to be like and are seeking Jesus like you are; let them correct you in love and you all can seek Jesus together (2 Timothy 2:22).
The person you’re dating isn’t the best option to have “guide you to purity”. I say that because, discipline is a key element when trying to live and think pure. If you find your self struggling with fornication, porn, masturbation, etc., you should start getting those things under control before dating anyone. If you are already dating, you have to understand boundaries are necessary to prevent yourself from falling into that same sin. 
To clarify, if you are married, your spouse should know about your struggles because they are supposed to be the ones praying for you. I’m just saying that a friend or leader that’s of the same gender may be easier to relate to and should be in all of our lives, because no one should have their spouse feeling like they married someone simply driven by hormones. Men can admit to spiritually strong males and have them guide them to purity. Women also can open up about some things they feel their husband may not understand as well as some female friends/leaders can. However, never find yourself confiding in people that will support your sin rather than encourage you out of it. Neither should you open up about your struggles to everyone. Some will judge you and some will use it as a way to make you feel inferior. So you have to be sure you’re confiding in people that are growing and care to see you grow. 

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)


3. Be more realistic
If you know that you’re having issues overcoming a struggle with pornography, why continue following social media sites that are provocative and sexual? Going back to that website for “a quick glance” will keep your mind in bondage, don’t fall for the lie that “everyone is doing it”. 
It makes no sense to ask God for freedom, and then your text messages are driven by lust. Why pray for a godly spouse and continue entertaining those people coming with sexual conversations and ungodly actions? I know firsthand that flirty conversations and certain pictures can lead your mind right outside of God’s presence. Don’t flirt with lust, it will burn you every single time. 
The devil clearly wants to destroy us, but we must understand that we are also our own biggest enemies. We have to put our flesh under subjection and train our bodies and minds to love God. It is not a natural inclination to seek Jesus, we have to be intentional when we want to grow. Galatians 5:16 tells us that when we are walking in God’s will, we won’t be able to indulge in those sins we would otherwise enjoy. 
Stop saying you’re going over his/her house alone to pray together. Nothing may happen, but you are asking for trouble by flirting with temptation. Stop saying it’s okay to indulge in just a “little” amount of sin and just repent after. Never abuse grace and think that’s still okay to God. Sin isn’t worth pursuing, true joy and peace is in the presence of God (Psalms 16:11). Stop telling yourself that sex will satisfy this time. Sex outside of marriage will give you a moment of pleasure and nothing but regret and guilt after. It can wait for marriage. 

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT)


4. Find good replacements 
People often “cut off” lustful relationships and ungodly habits, but turn right back to them. Do you know why? Because they never really had a plan to seek more of God. They just assumed that if I “stop this/that” it’ll draw me closer to God. While that is true, we still have to be intentional. Unless we replace our struggles with godly things such as time in the presence of God, worship music, or something like being active in church, we are going to eventually fall back into our old habits. 
Some things we have to cut off and replace. If you say, “I really need to let go of that sexual music, it keeps putting my emotions in a certain mood”, you have to change to something else. Maybe a worship song, a YouTube encouragement video or Christian podcast can help you. I know at times you may get bored when you think all you’re free to do is pray and read some scriptures, but there’s more to Christianity than following a dull script. And there are other believers that went through your struggle that you can learn from if you actually try to get that replacement in your life. I try to listen to more worship music, podcasts like Steven Furtick at Elevation Church or Joel Urshan from First Apostolic Church. There are many other options, just message me if you want to know more. 
Let’s be honest for a quick second here though, temptation is at an all time high when our minds aren’t focused on Jesus. Many of us make the drastic, and wise, decisions like cut off our lustful friendships, tv shows, social media accounts, etc., but what now? Do you really think that removing something from your life without replacing it will help you? I want you to read Luke 11:24-26 and understand that you must occupy your heart and mind with the things of God. If you are free from sin, but you don’t use your freedom to seek God, you are going to end up going back to those sins that you once found comfort in. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans‬ ‭8:1‬)


5. Understand that you are a work in progress.
This point may be the most serious, because many people are dying emotionally by trying to gain a “certain level of spirituality”. You will never be good enough to deserve God’s love and you’ll never be bad enough to not deserve God’s love. The Bible does say that God wants us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), and Jesus also mentioned being perfect (Matthew 5:48). However, many don’t understand that the translation for perfect is “mature”. God doesn’t expect perfection from you, but progression from you. Jesus loves us enough to meet us where we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there. You cannot be holy without the sacrifice Jesus made. All of your years of obedience and sacrifice is nothing if God didn’t decide to show mercy on us. Isaiah 64:6 describes our own efforts to righteousness as filthy rags (filthy rags: the rags used from a woman’s menstrual cycle). Gross. 
I know you want to do better, and I respect your efforts. God sees those efforts. By no means am I condoning anyone’s sin, because the Bible is clear on where a lifestyle of sin leads to. I’m simply saying that if you are wrestling with sin, at least that shows you’re trying to overcome. People that don’t wrestle with sin are either submitting to it, or delusional to the fact that we all are tempted by evil. Jesus was tempted, but He was the one without sin. 
Please read Jeremiah 18:1-6. Like I literally want you to stop reading this blog for 1 minute to see that verse and understand how good God is. God shows us that even though we are in His hands, we can get messed up. We get dirty. We fall short. We turn back to sin. However, we are in His hands and He is able to make something beautiful out of us and repair every broken piece within our hearts and minds. When God is finished with us, we will be better than ever expected, but God isn’t finished with us. While you’re here on earth, you still have a purpose to finish and God is still working on you. So instead of seeing how far you have to go, look at how far God has brought you. You will overcome, stop condemning yourself (1 John 3:20-21). 

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)


Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

5 things ALL Singles Need to do!

There are a few things every single should do before they think about marriage. Besides, why pray for something that you aren’t preparing yourself to handle? It’s easy to lose your blessing when your character isn’t ready to maintain it. So here are five quick things to do before marriage:
1. Seek God
One drastic thing people forget to do is to seek God. The first step to finding a “godly relationship” is to first find God. We often think a relationship will build our walk with God, but we must first have a relationship with God. Dating the wrong person can also slow it down. If you aren’t growing spiritually already, then you’ll only be more distracted when someone else is in your life. 
We have to first see God as number one in our lives and build our lives around our walk with Him, or else when someone becomes a part of our walk we will eventually fall so in love with them that we fail to realize that God isn’t anywhere in that equation. 
God can’t bless a relationship that excludes Him. So be sure you’re seeking Christ so you’ll find someone else who’s actively doing the same thing. 
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭
2. Stop seeking unsaved people to convert and marry.
Many times we fall into sin or end up heartbroken is because we pursued what God didn’t want us to have. You see, God wouldn’t send someone your way and all that person does is lead you into sin or provoke lustful thoughts in you. God doesn’t tempt us with evil (James 1:13), so if you see a temptation coming you have to see the devil is feeding off of our sinful desires. 
Many of us just don’t take the bible seriously and that’s why the world is in such a corrupt state. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to not be “equally yoked with unbelievers”. What does that mean? To be connected to one another to the point where you go where they go. They used to yoke animals together so they can plow in the same direction. It’s clear you’ll interact with nonbelievers, but that doesn’t mean to take it further to the point where you’re emotionally connected. So understand this, when you’re connected to someone you’re going where they are going for the most part. If you date an unsaved person, you’ll be heading towards sin more than they’ll be heading towards righteousness. Understand that many people make mistakes and date non believers and God can always save them, but we can’t use that as the rule. God’s word said not to connect to a nonbeliever because we can’t change them, only God can change them so it makes sense to find someone God has already saved rather than risk your walk with God in order to find companionship. 
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
‭‭Amos‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭
3. Work on you.
Many people keep pursuing the “perfect one” for them, but are forgetting that person is also looking for someone of substance. We have to bring more to the table than our looks. 
I understand that everyone won’t have degrees or the highest paying jobs and that is perfectly fine, but have you learned how to do simple things like cook or clean? The time we spend single and pursuing everyone that interests us could also be spent investing into ourselves. 
Not having a brand new hairstyle or outfit every week isn’t what’s stopping you from finding God’s will. Sometimes we are stopping ourselves from a Christ centered relationship because we are seeking people rather than allowing Christ to direct us. 
4. Find your identity in Christ. 
The reason many don’t know their purpose in life is because they are seeking to find their worth in someone else. We can’t base our worth based on anything that we can lose. If you wait until someone else comes along to say that you are beautiful, you are appreciated or to compliment you, you forget to see that God already says that about us. God’s word says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). 
Start seeing yourself the way God sees you so you don’t need anyone else to fill a void in your life. Relationships are only to add to your life, God is the one who gives meaning to our lives. Colossians 2:10 says that we are complete in Christ. Stop trying to find someone else to do what Christ has already done.
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭
5. Get over your ex!
Many are rushing into relationships in order to be restored from previous hurt. God wants to heal you and restore you back into Him when you fall short or have been heartbroken, it isn’t fair to expect a new person to fill that void. If you still hate your ex or want to get back with them, you shouldn’t pursue someone else.
You shouldn’t ever hate your ex, no matter what they did. If they hurt you, pray for God to save them and work on them. But always pray for God’s will, because it makes no sense for us to chase something that God doesn’t want us a part of. I wouldn’t want to restore a relationship that God isn’t glorified and He was the one who separated us for our protection. 
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey 
 

Dealing With the Root

I don’t know about everyone else, but I know my struggles. They are clear as day and I know where I need to make adjustments even though sometimes I may pretend to be blind to them. My question that I want you to answer to yourself truthfully is this: Do I have a reoccurring sin or struggle in my life that aims to weigh me down every time I try to go forward? Maybe you don’t have one and that’s fine, I don’t believe you but that is okay. The first step to growth is realizing change needs to be made.
So the bible says in Hebrews 12:1 to lay aside every weight and the sin that easily trips us up. A weight is something in our lives that may not be sinful, but they are very well distracting. Playing video games, hours of netflix/social media/or liking material things may not be sins whatsoever, but they become idols when they consume all of our time, affection and attention. Many times I’ve cut off my “weights”, but I realized that in a matter of hours, days or weeks I will definitely be back in the same sin or bondage. Why? Why is it that we can be sincere when we cry out to God and still go back to the same sin/distraction that we know cannot satisfy our souls?

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45)

Jesus lets us know clearly that the spiritual battle we are in is much more serious than some people believe. If God frees you from bondage, that is such a remarkable thing. I praise God for deliverance, but that is just the beginning. You have to understand that God did his part and now it is time for you to do yours. The bible says that this man’s spirit was swept and garnished, but still empty. Too many of us have the masks on that make us look so spiritual from the outside. God cleansed us and it’s even obvious in our demeanor, but what happens when there is no substance within us? You will simply fall back into the same sin later and sometimes things even worse.
For example, if you ask God to deliver you from masturbation or pornography. God can very well forgive you, cleanse you and give you a new beginning. But do you think He can force you to have godly desires? He can push you in the right direction but you have to move your feet. You would have to decide to open your bible and pray rather than engaging in things that could lead to those struggles. Right? If God freed you from that relationship that was just pure lust, fornication and adultery. Yes, He will forgive, but do you think He can force you to delete their number or the pictures? Can He force us to unfollow them and stop stalking their page? You see God knows you will have memories and be tempted to go back to where He delivered you from, but God doesn’t want to cut off your temptation, He wants to strip you of your desire to go back to them.


Three Ways to Overcome Your Ungodly Desires

  1. Stop acting like you do not know it’s wrong.
    1. God will not send you anything to distract you from Him.
    2. If you have to hide, cover it, or keep it secretive, it needs to go! David never wanted Bathsheba’s husband to be around until he didn’t want to take responsibility for the child that he shouldn’t have brought into the world. David was warned by his men before he sent for her, he knew she was married. Never ignore your warning.
    3. Many times we know within ourselves something feels wrong, but we try to avoid the voice of God. That isn’t just your conscious bothering you, that’s God telling you to stop playing with fire! We cannot twist scripture to justify our lifestyles, we must use scriptures to transform the way we live.
  2. Replace it!
    1. I’ve cut off many things, connections and environments to get closer to God. Sometimes I’ve returned right back to it, which is ridiculous. We have to replace these ungodly desires with ones that please God.
    2. Letting go of a lustful relationship is great, but what are you going to do after? So many of us “cut someone off”, but we never use our new free time to spend time with God. So now all of your free time is spent going through old pictures, reminiscing, and thinking about them. Eventually your body will go after what your heart and mind is focused on.
    3. Let’s say you struggle with music that you know is filth (I am not going to tell you what to listen to). So you cut off anything that you feel distracts you. However, you never replaced it with Christian music or something that uplifts your soul, eventually you’ll go back to what keeps your heart focused on everything except God. Or you like books like 50 Shades of Grey, you know its trash but you will go right back to it if you don’t feed your spirit with the bible, Christian books, or things that can benefit your mind and spirit.
  3. Consistency
    1. It is easy to walk on the straight and narrow road, but the challenge is in our consistency. We have to let our commitment keep us when the emotions are gone. I can say “I love You, Jesus” at church, but the challenge comes outside of the building and the temptations arise.
    2. Don’t think consistency means you won’t fail, but it means you are wise enough to get back up and get your eyes on the prize.
      1. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9)
      2. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalms 37:23-24)
    3. The devil knows your weaknesses, he studies us and knows more about us than some of us know about ourselves. He knows what you like and He will wait a day or years to catch us to let our guards down. He will allow you to read this and be encouraged or convicted, and still tempt you before the day is over if you aren’t careful. So it is not enough to be committed today and relax tomorrow. Part-time Christians will never overcome fighting against full-time demons. Keep your guard up.
      1. You may think it’s okay to go back to sinful environments now that you are delivered, but you have to be realistic with yourself. Don’t say you are going to the club to be a witness for Jesus, and you know within yourself that a half naked person can pull your mind right back into sin and tempt you.
      2. Don’t say “God delivered me from being an alcoholic/drug addict, I can handle a drink or two/one puff won’t kill me”. Playing with fire will cause you to get burned. 

Before we think that people need to stop tempting us to sin, remember that we are only tempted when its things of our own sinful nature (James 1:14). You can’t tempt me to steal because I won’t budge, I never struggle with that. There are other things I have to battle with daily. In order to live a life of victory, it’s time to stop entertaining ourselves that keep us walking in defeat. 
It is not that hard to live for God, but it’s only easy when we choose to realize that the things He freed us from were not that great. Sin has temporary pleasure, but never a lasting peace after. Joy and real pleasure is only found when we get in the presence of God; we need to get into His presence if we want to see the proof that nothing this world has to offer is able to compare (Psalms 16:11). People think Christians are slaves to rules, but they are really slaves to feelings, sin and are empty. What we have in Christ is better than what we gave up to follow Him. It’s time to let God deal with the root of our “sin problem”, our deceitful and desperately wicked hearts.
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

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Society Lies

Society Lies
Too often we tend to listen to society rather than God’s Word when it comes to how we should live. God’s Word doesn’t promote sin, however we tend to fall into sin to be like the crowd. Purity or holiness are subjects that everyone can talk about, but not everyone will aim to follow. Society wants us to believe that we have to disobey God’s Word to find contentment, and that’s exactly how Eve was deceived. It’s time to replace the lies we have engraved into our minds and start believing and living the way God says to. Here are 10 ways to stay pure:
1. Study God’s Word!
Let’s be real, sometimes you don’t feel like reading your bible. Maybe the translation is difficult or you may feel like there’s no connection. But that’s just lies the devil uses to make you stop. We find God when we pursue Him despite how we feel. If you go closer to God, he will go closer to you (James 4:8). If you want to please God, you must read His Word to know what He expects from you. Stay in God’s Word and you’ll stay out of sin.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)
2. Stay away from sinful crowds!
It’s not up for debate, you will act like who you hang around. “Jesus hung out with sinners!”, no he didn’t. Jesus called sinners (his disciples), to follow him, which means they left their old lives to follow Him. The people Jesus came into contact with didn’t just talk to him as a friend, but they also drew near to him because he was the light that they needed in order to change. Jesus spoke with people to bring the Gospel to them, not to be like them. While I will never say you can’t have unsaved friends or know people of different religions, you should be the ones influencing them not them influencing you.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
3. Be accountable
No man is an island. Of course God is not saying to befriend everyone to the point where you have the wrong people as friends, but he is telling us that we need one another. You can’t say you love God without loving the people you can see. We are called to pray for one another, study together, and build one another up spiritually. If you don’t have any godly friends around you, you are an easy target to the devil. God protects us, but He also places people around us to help in the time of need.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)
4. Be a doer
There are way too many people that go to church on Sunday’s and ignore Him the rest of the week. I know what it means to be hypocritical, I struggle with things I speak about, but I know for a fact that God wants us to follow Him daily. God wants to be our Lord, not just our savior. God is looking for obedience, not our opinions. Don’t fool yourself into thinking church attendance or Christian posts guarantees your spot into Heaven. God is looking for people that will follow Him.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
5. Set boundaries
Christian couples aren’t the only ones that need to set boundaries, we all must do so. You have to let people know that there are certain things you can’t do because God said you shouldn’t. Society is careful to offend everyone except God. So they’ll disrespect Jesus, but say they don’t want to offend the Muslims, Jews, homosexuals, etc. We have to understand that JESUS is God, and He is also not going to tolerate foolishness. Of course He is loving, but He still has to judge us. Holiness wouldn’t be a command if it weren’t possible to attain.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
6. Prayer
Prayer will keep you away from sin, but sin will keep you away from praying. We have to understand that prayer is communication with God. The same way we build relationships with everyone else through communication, is the same way we draw closer to God with prayer. There’s so much anxiety and unanswered questions in some of our lives, I wonder how much peace we’ve forfeited with our blatant disregard for prayer.
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
7. Filter your entertainment!
Yes, it does have an impact on your life. Our music, movies and tv shows, and our company will influence our thoughts. Our thoughts lead to our actions, actions turn into habits and we become our habits. You can stop a stronghold at the source if you simply say no to garbage. You can overcome addictions by replacing them. Whenever you get the urge to do something bad, go do something else that is positive or spiritually uplifting.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
8. Know who/what to ignore!
Everything and everyone doesn’t deserve your time, attention or a response. Some people don’t want help, they want to argue and you have to let the Holy Spirit within you to keep your tongue rather than cause you to fight. Never allow someone off track to distract you from pursuing Jesus.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)
9. Don’t follow accounts that entice your lust.
If Jesus said those who look at someone with lust in their heart has already committed sin, why follow accounts that post naked and seductive pictures? If you want to keep your mind pure, stop following everyone. Society wants you to think its okay to have your eyes drift and flirt around, but God wants your eyes on Him and only for your spouse. In some cases, you can tell a lot about a person just by who they follow and what they like on social media.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)
10. Get back up again!
Some may be saying that “it’s too late for me”. You’ve fallen several times and maybe you’re even comfortable living in sin, but God is saying that it’s time to get back up again. Grace isn’t a license to sin, God’s grace is what helps you overcome those besetting sins. Once you repent, God can forgive you, but you must learn to forgive yourself and stop thinking you’re not good enough because you’re comparing yourself to other people. Look to Jesus, keep running the race.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalms 37:23-24)
Despite what society says, God’s standard is and will always be purity and righteousness. Follow Him, despite what others may say or think.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)
– Tovares Grey

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Why Get Married?

I’m really not shocked by today’s divorce rate, neither am I shocked that “believers” are getting divorced. Why? I think many forgot the purpose of this sacred union and what God expects of them in the marriage. You see, it’s easy to say what the other person is doing wrong, but difficult to see the chaos you’re causing or your role. It’s easy to expect them to deliver your every need, but it’s also unrealistic to think when you’re saying “I do” that it now means the same as “I own you”. So what exactly is the purpose of marriage?
Let’s go over 5 things of what marriage is for and what it isn’t about.
1. Marriage is for God’s glory. 
If you ever read your bible or simply attended a church service, you should be well aware that the Bible is about God’s love for us. It’s sort of a romance novel of God coming to rescue His bride through His death on a cross. The love shown by Jesus is what God actually calls men to. A sacrificial love, one that is willing to do anything for the well being of his wife and those he is leading (kids for example). Ladies, take this into consideration before wasting your time. He has to be a man who will place the will of God first in his life and be a man who places others before himself. Men, allow God to mold you into His image . Don’t rush the process. You grow while married, but don’t pursue a woman when you’re pursuing selfish ambitions rather than His kingdom. 
2. Marriage is supposed to show the world God’s love. 
There are many broken homes in the world today. Not only do they have no idea that there is a God who loves them, they barely have others surrounding them to show them the way things should be. Many have single parent homes because one person just doesn’t want to be there, which is why we need Christian homes to show what it means to have examples of unconditional love, forgiveness and how to grow with someone for the rest of your life, not until you get bored.
3. Marriage is for your benefit.
God saw Adam and said it wasn’t good for him to be alone so he made Eve to help him. Eve was created to support him, rule with him, and to make his life easier (Genesis 2:18). God was being considerate because Adam could’ve wondered why animals were reproducing and felt left out for not having someone. Marriage is to build together. I don’t see why many run away from it, when God brings the right person to you and you both focus on Him, that type of love can never die.
4. Marriage is a ministry.
God is entrusting someone’s heart into your hands and future children, He doesn’t want you to neglect this responsibility. Marriage is to be invested into. You have to communicate, pray, study the word, have fun and remain intimate. God wants the home to be an unbroken bond, you have to be intentional about keeping God at the center and not allowing the world to pollute the home.
5. Marriage is to be protected.
It’s sad, but many people do flirt with married people (and vice versa). They won’t respect your home if you don’t. If you give the devil access, he will take it. Be careful of your “friends” who will use God’s name to subtly creep in and violate what God put together. Your spouse must be your best friend. Friends of the opposite sex shouldn’t ever cross certain boundaries or be the ones to influence your home. The bible tells wives to submit to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22). With all do respect, but your pastor or favorite speaker is not the one leading your home. Which is why a man must be connected to God, because he is supposed to guide you in the way that God is calling you all.
What isn’t marriage about?
1. Marriage is NOT about sex.
I agree with Paul, if you can’t contain sexual urges it’s best to get married (1 Corinthians 7:9). However, if you’re only in it for sex, that’s the wrong motive. God wants you to control your urges now, fornication only leads to adultery. Marriage doesn’t cure lust. We will continue to lust, watch porn, masturbate and fall into sin if we don’t submit our urges and feelings under the hand of God. Put your flesh under subjection, follow Jesus not hormones.
2. Marriage is not about what you can get. 
Love has never been and will never be about what you gain. Jesus died out of love knowing that many will never even believe in Him and some of the ones who do will always struggle listening to Him. Love is giving, even if it isn’t reciprocated. God wants you to love each other even when you’re annoying each other. Marriage is sharpening one another. A wise man once said the “God uses the rough edges of your spouse to sharpen you.”
3. Marriage is not about saving your spouse.
This is regarding those who are Christians and then dating unsaved people. You can’t save anyone, let God work on their heart before you start dating them. Both of my parents met unsaved and both came to Jesus, they’ve been married for 25 years so far. I know others who have had unsaved people approach them and they said “get Jesus first” and after that person genuinely went to Jesus, they eventually worked out and are still married and happy now. But my point is this, anyone can fake or just get baptized in order to get you. Don’t let emotions lead you, follow God.
4. Marriage is not about social media. 
You may think this is a joke, but some people only want relationships because others are in one. They don’t really care if God is glorified, they just want to post pictures on social media so others see their “happiness”. Public Service Announcement, if others need to validate your life, you’re not happy. We need to seek God’s approval for our life and not what others think.
5. Marriage is not a competition.
Stop competing with the person God placed in your life to assist you. Stop competing with other couples and stay in your lane. You will die in either envy or jealousy if you keep focusing on other couples, focus on what God has for you.
These are just a few things to keep in mind whether you want to get married or you are already married. Don’t go with the wrong motives, God doesn’t answer selfish prayers. Grace and peace.

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Five Things to Know about Grace

What is grace? It amazes me that the very thing God uses to save us is often the most misunderstood topic in the bible. I myself sometimes have a hard time understanding grace, but then I remember God is not a man and He does not think like us. Here are 5 things you must know about grace.
1. God’s grace saved us.
None of us are worthy of His love. The one thing God hates is in our very nature to do, sin. You must understand that when Jesus went to the cross that He knew every sin we would commit and still felt compassion and died in our place. Why? LOVE! God doesn’t love us because we are good, He loves us because He is good. In return His love will draw us to do good by obeying Him.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8 
2. Grace overcomes sin, it does not condone it.
Well you may say that’s contradicting, and that God still loves us when we sin. However, grace never gave a license for sin, grace is a power to overcome the struggle. Other than Jesus, Paul was one of the greatest men to walk this earth. He had a struggle as well, God told Him He was not going to remove the struggle because it forces Paul to be humble and depend on God.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
3. Grace rewards.
God is no respecter of person, but there is a principle to everything He does. He is our Father, see him as you would see your earthly Father. Obedience causes you to walk in God’s will and He then gives you the desires of your heart, but rebelling may cause Him to allow you to go out on your own and see for yourself that you need Him (the prodigal son for example).
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalms 84:11
4. You are where you are because of grace. 
God doesn’t hate the less fortunate, let’s set the record straight. Truth be told, we would be in someone else’s shoes if God didn’t have His hand on our life. You may not be perfect, but God is perfecting you into His image.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10
5. Grace is for everyone. 
There are no favorites. God came for all of us and He is willing to save all of us who seek Him diligently.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:11-13