Idolizing Marriage

So you say that you want to be married. That’s fantastic! However, your desire may be delayed because of your motives. Why is our society so deceived into thinking that they can’t be happy until someone else comes along to give them worth? Marriage is so great, but it cannot complete. Good things cannot fill God’s role. Marriage is meant to be a blessing, but not your purpose on earth.
Okay, before I scare you away, let me get into the point of this blog!
There are so many people out there desiring marriage. That is so good, because marriage gives us an idea of just how much God loves us. Husbands are literally told to love their wives the way that Christ loves us. If that isn’t an indicator on how serious God takes marriage, I really don’t know what is. We are blessed with the gift of sex in marriage which gives pleasure and the ability to procreate. However, the problem arises when we want to be married more than we want Jesus. We seek a spouse before we seek the God who created us. Of course the all-knowing God could tell us who to pursue and who to stay away from, but we simply just hunger so much for the fairy tale love story that we forget all about God. Too many people are expecting a story like Love and Basketball, The Notebook or a Disney channel love story. I think many of us have the idea that marriage carries us into a happily ever after without problems, but is that the case? Every “romance” movie we watch, the movie ends with the highlights! The boy finally wins her heart. That pretty girl finally gives that guy a chance and they run off into pure bliss. The couple who broke up and moved on, somehow managed to run back into each other and fate would have it that their love is rekindled.
“It is definitely God’s will that I get my fairytale!” That’s just how it should be, right?
Wrong. Relationships don’t always go according to our plans….even if we love Jesus. Divorce rates are high just for the misconception many of us believe. You must know that no matter how awesome they are, they are still human. Perfection can only be found in Jesus, so do not hold an extra high standard for someone that cannot fill it. Marriages fail when God isn’t the center, but your idea of how marriage is. You both will have work to do, but you can’t grow if you two aren’t CHOOSING to forgive, love, cherish, respect and honor even when the feelings may fade.
Ever heard someone say they want a Godly spouse or someone following Jesus, but they aren’t even following Him wholeheartedly? That will never happen, you attract who you are not necessarily who you want. If you’re pursuing Jesus, then like-minded people will be drawn towards you; if you’re a lustful person, then that kind of person will be drawn to you. It is not God’s will for you to be with anyone holding on to the world. You two are going in opposite directions if they choose to remain lukewarm or unsaved. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Wait on someone you can pursue Jesus with. Wait for the type of person that will protect your purity and encourage you to seek Christ. So many want marriage so bad that they don’t take the time to evaluate themselves or the person they are with. God does not want us with anyone leading us away from Him. Love does not lead to sin. A Godly man/woman can commit to one person. Be careful of those wasting your time with their games. Do not say “I do” to someone who hasn’t said “I do” to Jesus. Committing to someone that doesn’t love God is only setting you up for a dead end relationship. If the two of you even last, you’ll still find yourself far away from God and that wasn’t your intention.
Are you getting yourself prepared for marriage, or do you just want a honeymoon, a ring and sex? Be careful of doing right things with wrong motives. Paul did say it’s better to marry than to burn with lust/passion (1 Corinthians 7:9), but keep this in mind: if sex is the only reason you are going into marriage, you’re not ready for it. Of course no one will be perfect before marriage, but be careful of jumping into it and you’re not ready for such a great commitment. It should be until “death do you part”, not until “looks fade and you run out of money”. Remember that it’s a lifetime commitment you are preparing for so do not rush into something you can’t handle. Guys, if you don’t want to commit then leave the girl alone. Stop trying to see how many hearts you can break before “settling down”. And vice versa, because some women string men along and try to get attention from him, but won’t give him the commitment that he desires. Divorce is only common because we are seeking guilt-free sex, a wedding celebration, someone to control and manipulate rather than a best-friend we can honor Christ and grow with.
Think about it, your heart is too valuable to just jump into marriage and you weren’t prepared for it. Rushing will lead our vulnerable hearts into sin, brokenness and wasted time. Choose today to be patient, wait on God to lead you and not our emotions that can easily change. His timing is perfect.
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

My Friends Don't Understand my Walk with God

Living for God is such an amazing experience that we get to enjoy daily. He changes our lives from the inside out and delivers us from many things that used to keep our hearts in bondage. Unfortunately, our “friends” don’t always see it that way. What makes it even worse is when our “Christian” friends don’t support us. I can understand a nonbeliever questioning my desire to pray or fast, but not a Christian. I can understand an atheist saying negative things about my attempt at a disciplined life, but not someone in the “church”.
“Bro, you are doing way too much!”
“Girl, chill. Stop acting overly spiritual.”
“Don’t be so ‘heavenly minded’ that you’re no earthly good.”
“I get that you say you want to do right, but all of those things are just leading to legalism or a self-righteous approach of earning God’s love.”
I have heard these things said to me and to others before; but what if I told you that your friend was doing you more harm than good by saying those things? What if they want to help you, but their “good advice” is not “God advice?” What if God is actually calling you into a deeper place of intimacy, but you will never experience it because of your company?
Anyone that makes you feel bad for being passionate about living for God is a distraction from the enemy. It is best to keep a healthy distance and pray for them, instead of having them keep you comfortable in a stagnant walk with God. I am not advocating for foolish or weird behavior, because God will use friends to explain the scriptures to us and tell us when we are viewing things wrong. I am saying that there should be no one in your inner circle that doesn’t want to see you grow into who God is calling you to be.
Let’s look at 3 major things every believer should do when their friends don’t support their walk with God:
1. Examine your friends.
I’m just going to make this plain, everyone isn’t meant to be your close friend. Jesus is our example of how to love and treat others, and even Jesus had an inner circle. Jesus preached to masses, did life with 12 disciples, and yet He only called Peter, James and John for certain situations. Did he love them more than the others? No, not at all, but He had a different purpose for them and possibly a deeper level of intimacy with them.
If your friends stop you from growing, then you two must address it or slowly drift apart. If your friends are struggling with the same issues as you, then accountability is hard. Instead of having the wisdom to help you out of it or the boldness to rebuke you in love, they will give you a pass (because they are struggling).
So again, check if your friends are growing and keeping you accountable. If they aren’t, they should not be in your inner circle.

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, WITH THEM that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)


2. Challenge your friends!
This is something many never do because of fear, but why be afraid if the person wants to be in your life? Jesus had a rich, young ruler coming to him that seemed to have it all together. Jesus gave him one command, to sell his possessions and give it to the poor. However, the guy didn’t do it, and he went away sorrowful. What I find interesting about this is that Jesus never chased behind him. Too many of us are running behind people that God is not sending to us. If they aren’t willing to meet certain standards or to make any sacrifices, they aren’t willing to be in your life. If you are only valuable to them when it is convenient for them, that is not the will of God for your circle. Stop thinking you can’t push your friends to grow with you. If you aren’t doing so, you aren’t a good enough friend to them.
If I cannot tell you that you’re living beneath your purpose, I don’t love you. I should be able to genuinely say “get it together, you’re better than that” without it being taken as judgment. If you don’t have friends that do that, challenge them to challenge you. Pray for God to send people who will push you!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)


3. Be willing to find friends that don’t look or think like you.
This may sound simple, but this is one of the hardest tasks for a person. We will always naturally gravitate to those who look or think like us. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or sports; we will feel more at ease when the person we are conversing with has things in common with us. Like for me, I have a few friends that act just like me. We can laugh and joke literally all day. The problem with that though is they will have my same issues so they may not pull me out of my spiritual valley. It wasn’t until recently when I started making friends with people who are of different races, denominations, financial status, various cultures, etc. that I hadn’t seen some things with a clear perspective. That’s like me being a guy with a Jamaican background and not going out to eat a lot when I was younger. So now when my wife and I want to go out or friends invite us out to eat, I don’t even know what to pick. Not because I’m super picky, I’m just not familiar with a lot and in need of someone to expose me to it.
How much is God trying to show you, but you aren’t able to see because it looks unfamiliar? How many people has God sent your way to push you into purpose, but you ignored them for being too “churchy”, “different” or too “weird”? Jesus gave Ananias clear instructions on what to do in Paul’s conversion. However, he knew how Paul used to persecute the church. God had to take him out of his comfort zone in order for Paul to be delivered, because he was possibly afraid of the things Paul would do to him. People may not be used to you or you with them, but you need others in order for you to be who God called you to be.

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15 ESV)

Your environment will play a major role in determining your destiny. God wants to bless your life and it requires the right people on your team and the wrong people can delay that calling. Not only can they delay purpose, but bad company will corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

When we Pray

There is more that God requires of us. Sometimes we read the stories in the Bible and if we aren’t careful, we would think of them as fairy tales. Peter walking on water, Abraham having a child when he’s old, God answering Elijah’s prayer by fire, Joshua praying and the sun literally stopped moving, and the list could go on and on. I believe we sometimes make excuses for ourselves by saying things like “God had to do it then for people to believe, He doesn’t have to do it anymore.” Although God has to do nothing to prove Himself, I believe that’s an excuse for us to not do things that we were empowered to do. 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)
Of course none of us are perfect, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t want to use us. Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, opened blind eyes, gave hearing to deaf ears, and He said that we should be doing what He did and more? There is nothing we cannot do if we make ourselves available to be used by God. No one can preach your sermon, sing your song, write your book or tell your testimony. Don’t be afraid to do what God has called you to do. 

20131112-171433.jpgGod doesn’t care about your ability, He simply desires availability. Whatever it is consuming all of your time, get rid of it. Give that phone, television, or even person a break. God is always speaking in some way to us, but we have to unclog our ears to hear Him. I wonder how many of us are facing mountains that seem immovable. I wonder how many of us are feeling low and weak because of life’s daily challenges. Once you overcome one thing, another seems to knock you down. I advise you to stay down! Stay down on your knees and call out to Jesus one more time. Give God your worries and let Him give you His peace. You may be weak, but God wants to strengthen you one more time. 
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
The devil loves to limit our prayer, because prayer limits him. He will keep us busy with everything: school, work, family, loved ones, or even ministry, but he will push us away from prayer. Many are in ministry without a relationship. God is calling us back to prayer, will you spend more time with Jesus? Will you pray a little longer for that unsaved loved one/schoolmate/coworker? Prayer changes things, and it will change you.
– Tovares Grey

God is Listening

One thing that every Christian must do, even though we sometimes avoid it, is to pray. Some pray for hours, some for minutes, some none at all. I understand in prayer you may be wondering, “okay so ummm, I don’t hear God and I’m done talking so I’ll just get up now”. Many of us won’t say those words, but our actions show it. We all must know that prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. Sometimes we have to sit and wait on God to speak. We must learn to listen and not just speak in prayer.
Prayer is not fulfilling a religious duty, but it is seeking guidance from God. Lack of prayer shows that you have it all figured out and do not necessarily need God to guide you. We need to develop a passion for prayer. Many seek the pulpit and popularity, but only those who pray will ultimately have a connection to God. Ministry without prayer is useless. Jesus prayed for hours, sometimes all night, and it was all because He understood He was nothing without His Father’s strength to guide Him. Jesus was dependent of His Father to do anything, we must develop that same mindset that we must seek God before anything (John 15:4). Jesus worked miracles in seconds. Was it because He was God in flesh (John 1:14)? No, but because He consistently separated Himself to pray (Luke 5:16).
One of the most discouraging things to go through is to know that God is able to do something, but to be in a state where you don’t see any results. God says He is a healer, but you are sick (Isaiah 53:5). God promises to provide your needs, but you aren’t able to provide or meet certain requirements (Philippians 4:19). There are many different situations that you will find yourself in that will tempt you to question God. Never forget that God is bigger than your problems, and everything you go through is for your good and for God’s glory (Romans 8:28). Righteous people go through much problems, but God will deliver (Psalms 34:19).
Why pray?
– Prayer shows that we need God’s direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
– God is sovereign, but He gave man authority on the earth. Therefore, He cannot work for us if we do not ask Him to (John 14:14).
– We do not understand some things, but God can give us knowledge (James 1:5).
We talk to people we love often. We do it to get to know more of them, why not talk to your Creator often? (Isaiah 55:6)
God wants to hear from you. We cannot always depend on others to pray for us, we need our own relationship (Luke 13:27).
Prayer is essential, not optional. You may feel as though nothing is happening yet, but you just have to be persistent (Luke 18:1-8). God loves to hear from you, will you give Him a few more minutes, hours, or maybe even your life?
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther King
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

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Consistency is Key

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7)
Jesus tells us here that we basically will get what we ask him for in prayer. However, this may seem a bit frustrating when you are a person believing that you have been asking and not receiving anything. It does not mean that God has forgotten about his promise, maybe the problem is just on your behalf.
Different Dimensions of Prayer:
1. Asking

  • There are times when we can just ask for something and someone will give it to us. If I go to my father and ask “may I please have $1, dad?”, he can simply say “here, no problem”. However, if I ask “dad can you buy me a new BMW?”, he would have to think about it. Not because of his budget, but a key factor is if I am prepared for it.
  • If we had everything we asked for, would we really need God?
  • Not everything will be given, we have to show that we really want what we are asking for.

2. Seeking

  • When I go to pick up my car keys, I don’t seek for them. I just go towards it, because I already know where it is.
  • To seek means an attempt or desire to obtain something.
  • Now if my new phone is misplaced while being on silent mode, it’s time to go hunting! I would have to look high and low, left and right, just about everywhere with the expectation to find what I am looking for.
  • We must all realize that if we are seeking God for something, we must seek Him diligently.
  • But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ( Hebrews 11:6). God rewards us when we seek diligently.
  • Praying once and giving up won’t cut it.

3. Knocking

  • Honestly, there are times when a person knocks on your front door and you surely cannot hear them. However, when a police officer knocks, you are guaranteed to hear them. Why? Because he/she is determined to have someone open the door.
  • The problem today is, we pray for the will of God, but we do not wait on His timing. God wants to work, but if he does everything at my command then I am sovereign, not Him.
  • Jesus loved Lazarus. However, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead and stinking to come and work a miracle. Why? If he was raised within 3 days, they would say he was never dead. They believed, or maybe still believe, that within 3 days the person could be raised back to life. Jesus decided to wait until the people lost hope so that they had no excuse not to believe on Him. We all have our situations that we want God to answer quickly, but we must learn to wait on his timing!

 
Men are always to pray and not faint! (Luke 18:1-8).
If my prayers aren’t being answered I should question myself, not God:

  • Luke 18:10-14, maybe I’m trying to prove myself as being better than others?
  • James 4:3, do I have bad or selfish motives?
  • Psalm 66:18, maybe I have iniquity in my heart?
  • Psalm 138:6, is pride separating me from God?

 
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

  • Is it a need? Or do you want it because everyone else has it?

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

  • Am I abiding in God?

 
We must all realize, GOD is NOT Santa Claus! You cannot just come to Him when we want something. Build a relationship with Him. Thank Him for what you have and stop being ungrateful. Never lose faith in your God. Jesus has already answered, just wait on your results.
Until that door opens, praise God! Keep praying. Keep Fasting. Be blessed!
-Tovares Grey

P.U.S.H – Pray Until Something Happens

One can I agree, if they’re honest, that we are really lacking prayer in the church today. Sunday service is always packed, and yes you can find a few people in youth services. However, prayer meetings are always decreasing. The question is, “why?”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

This scripture does not mean that from the moment you wake up until you fall asleep, you need to be on your knees praying. We have to first realize that prayer is communication with God. We should live a prayerful lifestyle,  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6

Pray Until Something Happens

We all make the mistake of thinking that praying is for a specific group of people, an “intercessory group”. Yes, I BELIEVE that some people are gifted with the anointing to pray more intense than others, but we are all called to intercede.
1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
The priests duty was to intercede on behalf of the people, so now it is our duty to pray for others. God is looking for servants to stand in the gap.
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Ezekiel 22:30
Today make the decision in your heart to give God more time in prayer, he wants to hear from you! Never get  too busy that you don’t spend time with your God. Give the Creator more time than the creation.

Tovares Grey