Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy New Year!

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare before they spring into being. I announce them to you. Isaiah 42:9

With the new year comes the prospect that we can begin again. The old has past and the new has come. God offers to us that which is fresh and alive. He wants to renovate our lives and fill us with every good and perfect thing. Our Lord has precious plans for us – new things for each and every one of us.

The often quoted verse from Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Our Lord wants to bless us. He longs to fill our lives with every blessing. He also desires to changes us and use us to be a blessing to others. Let's spend time in the Lord's presence so we can hear His voice. He wants to announce to us His plans for our futures. He will help us to make the necessary adjustments so that we succeed in every God-appointed endeavor. He desires to breath His life upon our forgotten dreams.

As we draw near to Jesus, He will also come and heal us of every hurt and disappointment from our past. He will minister to us and turn our ashes into beauty. He will transform us as a caterpillar morphs into a marvelous butterfly. The Lord desires to renew our lives.

As we ponder about the changes we would like to incorporate into our lives this coming year, let's seek after God's input. Let's hear what He has to say through His word and through the Holy Spirit's still small voice. Let's allow Him to whisper His fresh revelation into our hearts so that we can be doers of His will upon the earth.

May you have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! May it be a year of new beginnings for you and your family.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Walking With God

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13

Before the fall, Adam and Eve walked with God. They enjoyed sweet fellowship and close communion with the One who created them. When they sinned, they tried to hide from God, because of their great shame.

Since the fall, mankind's intimacy with God diminished. But some drew near to Him in a limited way. Moses saw His form and heard His voice. David had a special relationship with the Holy One and became a fervent worshiper of God. However, it was not until Christ went to the cross that the veil of separation was torn. Those that have accepted the Savior's sacrifice as payment for their sin can draw much nearer to God. We can enjoy the same intimacy with God that Adam and Eve experienced before the fall.

We can hear His voice. We can enjoy sweet fellowship with the Master. We have access to the Spirit's council, and we can bask in His abiding love.

Let's draw near to the Lord. When we do, He promises to draw near to us. Let's not take our Father God for granted. He longs for intimate communion with us. He deserves our full attention. And he invites us to walk with Him in the garden of our own hearts.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending Jesus to provide the way for me to have a relationship with You. I want to know you more. Draw me close to You. Dear Lord, I surrender my heart to You and ask you to fellowship with me. I love You and thank You for Your great love for me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


You came to earth on Christmas night
To save the world, to set things right
You lived and preached the gospel story
You are exalted, full of glory

You healed the sick and raised the dead
You set your face like a flint
To give Your life
The reason you were sent

You stretched Your arms and suffered
While on the cross You uttered
Father forgive them for they know not what they do
This sacrifice for me, for you

He is Emanuel
God is with us
His truth we tell
Glory be to Christ the risen King
It's Him we praise, to Him we sing

Hallelujah to the One
Who sits upon the throne
Hallelujah to Jesus
We worship You alone

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Story

At eighteen years of age, I was finishing my senior year at high school, while looking ahead to the future. I still had not decided on which college to attend, and I felt disheveled due to the numerous decisions I had to make. What school should I go to? What should my major be? In addition to these questions, I had a nagging ache inside of me. Raised Greek Orthodox, I was familiar with Christ and the Scriptures – at least I thought I knew God. There was developing within me a hunger to find out if there might be something more to my faith. I turned to the church for answers and began to check out books on spirituality from my parish's library. These books only confused me. They were ridden with lessons that encouraged extreme self discipline and the practice of good works to gain God's approval.

I attended church faithfully, and viewed the Lord as a powerful Judge, who I could never please. One of the colleges that interested me was Wheaton College, and I decided to attend a three-day “Get Acquainted Weekend” to learn more about the school. I stayed in a dorm along with two students and attended classes to learn about the school. One of the events on the agenda for me was to attend a free concert. The performer was Leon Patillo, who was a former singer with the band Santana. Being rather musical myself (I play the guitar and sing), I was interested to experience this.

The concert was nothing like what I expected. My understanding of Christian music was limited to ancient Byzantine chanting and Christmas Carols. Leon's concert was contemporary, professionally done, as well as profoundly inspirational. He took time to share his story of how he embraced Christianity. He spoke of Jesus so freely. It was as if Christ was His closest Friend. He shared the simple truth of the gospel. I learned in my heart that knowing God was not a matter of what I do, but of what Jesus had already done for me.

Jesus' death on the cross paid the price for my sins to be forgiven and for me to receive the free gift of salvation. When I was younger, I attended a summer camp that was also put on by Wheaton College. A counselor shared the gospel message to me then, but I was not ready to make a commitment to Christ. I was afraid. As Leon Patillo shared, I remembered that day at summer camp. I became gripped with the reality of my own sin and my need to accept the Lord's forgiveness. I realized that my experience with Christianity had been rooted in ritual, but God desired for me to have a relationship with Him.

At the end of the concert, an invitation was given to come forward and accept Christ's free gift. I was hesitant, but a man asked me if I wanted to go forward. I slowly made my way towards the foot of the stage. Then I prayed along with others to receive Christ into my life and heart.

I began to see changes in my life. I found my fears being replaced by God's love, my confusion with confidence, and my sense of distance from God with a rich intimacy with my Heavenly Father.

If you haven't embraced Christ in this way, know that you can – even today. The Scripture says,”For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. “ (Ephesians 2:8-9) I learned that night at a concert that all my striving was futile. All Jesus wanted me to do was to surrender and receive His free gift of salvation. Why don't you do the same, if you haven't already. Just pray a prayer like the one below.

Dear God,

I realize my need for you. I am a sinner and You are holy. Thank you Lord for sending Jesus to die for me to pay for my sins and forgive me. Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of the things I've done that have hurt you. I accept your sacrifice on the cross as payment for my own sin. I receive your free gift of salvation. Help me to know You as You really are. I choose to follow You. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

If you have prayed this prayer for the first time or if you have rededicated your life to Christ, let me say congratulations! The Lord is singing over you with joy and the angels are rejoicing. I encourage you to tell somebody of your decision. You may email me at, I would love to support you in your new walk with Jesus.

It's important that you begin reading the Bible - it is like food for your spiritual life. Read a little each day. I encourage you to start with the book of John, which is found in the New Testament.
Also, take time to pray each day. Give God thanks, tell Him Your frustrations, and surrender to Him your worries. Then be sure to pray for others. Also, begin to tell others about Christ – you will find great joy in doing this.

Finally, attend church regularly. Go to a place where the Bible is preached without apology in a way that you can understand it. Look for a place where the people truly love God and each other, but remember there is no perfect church.

Your journey with Jesus has just begun. Know that one day you will see Him face to face. Until then, let's follow after the One, who loved us first.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Prayer About Prayer

I was reminded today that prayer is essential
To who I am
To who I ever hope to be

Help me Holy Spirit to intercede for others
Let it be the substance of what makes me
Fused into my DNA
Teach me Lord to pray

Alone with You
And when I'm in a crowd
While I do my daily work
When I'm happy
When I'm sad
When I'm frustrated
When I'm mad

Let prayer motivate me to love
To act on another's behalf
Let me be a blessing to those around me

A reflection of the Father to others
As I pray, make me sensitive to the diverse needs around me

Use me Lord
May I be one flawed clay vessel
Full of You
And overflowing with prayer

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Great Night

A guiding star sailed and settled atop the place where He lay
Wise men searched for and followed the supernatural sign

Mary held the God-child with gentle arms
The Savior smiles, as Joseph pats Him on the head
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

The eastern Monarchs arrive
Ornately clothed
They bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh
They bow, they kneel, and give their treasure
As worship to the King of Kings
This great night in Bethlehem

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Because of His Love

My wife and I recently added a puppy to our two-member family. It's a boy, and my wife has decided on the name - Muy-Muy (pronounced Mew-Mew). She insists that its a French name, though she doesn't know what it means. I voted for the name Rocky and lost, but I am beginning to become used to his unusual name. We picked him up from the breeder recently at eight weeks of age. He is a handsome little Maltese.

Our new pet was tiny, cute, and quiet when we first brought him home. Now he can be rather feisty at times. He is teething and loves to nibble on just about anything. He likes to play, but he sometimes gets out of hand. And yes we are doing our best to teach him to go to the bathroom in the right place. We now see the weighty importance of training our dog. If we don't start now, he could become a monster. If we are consistent in our discipline and positive reinforcement at this time, we will reap the rewards later. A friend of the family kindly told me that if your dog becomes unruly you have only yourself to blame. So we are ready to correct, ready to praise, ready to give rewards to our puppy to teach him the way to behave.

The whole process reminds me of how God deals with us His children. The Scripture says He disciplines us because He loves us. My wife and I want a well-trained puppy not only for our dog's benefit, but also for our own. We desire order in our home and peace of mind. But God has no selfish motives. He disciplines us because He truly knows it is the best thing for us. The Lord is persistent at teaching us the lessons He knows we need to develop His character in us. The Lord uses His written word along with the promptings of the Holy Spirit to steer us in His direction. Let's cooperate with Him. Let's not fight back like a wild animal, but let's allow Jesus to guide us gently along His path for our lives. When we follow Him, He is quick to reward us and to use us for His kingdom purposes. When we yield to His correction, we find peace and sweet fellowship with the Master.

One major difference between our challenges with our new pet and God's dealings with us, is that the Lord changes our natures from within so that we can obey Him. As we surrender to the Master in the light of Christ's work at Calvery, the fruit of the Spirit develops within us. By His grace, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to follow Christ. Our dog does not have a transformed nature within Him. We can only foster changes to his outward behavior, but the Father disciplines us in love and enables us to conform to the image of Jesus by the power of the Spirit.

Let's yield to the Holy Spirit's direction for our lives. Let's obey God's flawless word. When we do, we we will draw closer to the Lord and shine for Him in the dark places. When we allow God the Potter to mold us like clay, we begin to reflect the One who made us. He desires to make us His masterpieces and put us on display. He desires to change us for one reason alone – because of His great love for you and me.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

His Glory in Our Harmony

Fragrant oil flowing down. Harmony's the sacred sound. Unified by Christ's own blood. Power and blessing follow love. As we cherish one another, we release His life forever.
This short poem was drawn from the verses found in Psalm 133. Here David sings of the beauty of believers dwelling together in unity.

Packed within this scripture-song are benefits offered to those that work to maintain peace within the Body. The manifestation of the glory of God is one of the blessings promised here. An individual, family, church, or organization that learns to guard and honor peaceful relations will experience God's power. The psalm says it like this, “For harmony is as precious as the fragrant anointing oil that was poured over Aaron's head.” (Psalm 133:2)

God desires to pour His manifested glory all over us as a Body. If we will individually and corporately practice the law of love, we'll wreak havoc on the kingdom of darkness and, more importantly, find ourselves in the midst of God's glory – while enjoying one another.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2009


If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

We have been called to follow Jesus, yet many times we fall. When we fall, we are to run to Him. But why do we sometimes hide in the shadows? We are ashamed and think that our Lord is ashamed of us. But God longs to forgive us. In fact He has already forgiven us our sins on the cross – past, present, and future, but when we ask the Father to forgive us our sins, He restores our fellowship with Him. Sin separates us from a close, intimate friendship with God. When we admit what we've done to Him, He freely forgives us and completely restores us. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

At times the Lord may urge us to share our failings with another believer. When we do this, Christ forgives our sin and heals us of emotional hurts. The other person can help us to find victory over sinful habits. We can turn to this person as an accountability parter to help us along on the road to freedom.

When God forgives our sin, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It is as if we never sinned. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12). The Lord even says that He chooses to forget our sin.

Unfortunately, whenever we do the wrong thing there are consequences. God will help us face those consequences and do the right thing. When King David committed adultery and murder, he didn't foresee that he would suffer consequences as a reslut of his actions. When King David repented of his sin, God freely forgave him, but the prophet Nathan told David that his son born from his adulterous affair would die as a result of David's sin. David sought the Lord and asked for His mercy, but the child did pass away. Then David accepted God's judgment and continued to follow the Lord.

Someone said that we should keep short accounts with God. This means that we need to run to Him whenever we fall. We must confess and repent of any sin – for all sin hinders our walk with Jesus. Let's receive His forgiveness and thank Him for the wonderful friendship we have with Him.

Dear Lord,

Search my heart and reveal to me any areas of sin in my life. Lord forgive me for my sin. I repent of my actions. Give me the ability to walk in victory and restore my fellowship with You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Help me cultivate a heart of gratitude
For all the blessings You have given
For all the wonderful people in my life
For Your free gift of salvation
Lord, You are so generous to me

Teach me to love as you love
So that others may give You glory
Teach me to give thanks always
I have no right to grumble or complain
You are the Lord my Provider

You fill me with joy everlasting
Peace never ending
And love never failing
So I give thanks

Victory Over Fear

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

We all struggle with it to varying degrees. It can immobilize us and quench our witness for the Lord. It can derail us on our quest for God's best for our lives. It can cause us to lose sleep, run from intimidating circumstances, and avoid certain people. I'm referring to unhealthy fear.

Healthy fear keeps us from walking in front of oncoming traffic. It protects us from exposing ourselves to harmful situations. But unhealthy fear saps us of our spiritual strength. Paul said that fear was a spirit, therefore, we must deal with this type of fear in a spiritual way. David said in Psalm 27 that he wasn't afraid of anyone because he understood that the Lord was his stronghold. He could stand before enemy armies with great boldness. David had an intimate relationship with God. In the same psalm he said, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” David's fervent relationship with God gave him courage.

In 1 John 4:18 it says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” And prior to this, in verse 16, it says that God is love. As we get to know the God of love, our fears melt away like ice on a hot summer day. His love causes us to rest.

There are times when we need to use our God-given authority to command a spirit of fear to leave us. We can address Satan and his cohorts and command them to flee from us. We can bind them and demand them to leave us in the name of Jesus. If we are submitted to God, the enemy will run in terror from us, when we do this. In Luke 10:19, Jesus declares, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” The Greater One lives within us, and he is more powerful than any demonic force.

God wants us to be free from fear so that we can enjoy our relationship with “Him and so we can serve Him without hindrance. Let's rejoice in the love the Father has for us and allow our fear to melt away in His kindness. He wants us to come to the place where fear no longer has a grip on us. He wants to give us victory over all our fears.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for Your great love for me. I give all of my fears to you. I surrender my life to You afresh, and in the name of Jesus I bind the evil one, who would try to make me fearful. In the name of Jesus I command you to leave me alone. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for setting me free. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Tale of Sam Sunder

Almost a year ago, Sam Sunder lost his footing only to find himself belly up floating downstream during one of the area's greatest floods. Sam was tiny then, and the tragedy separated him from all family and friends.

As an orphan, he had to pick up information along the way. Growing up can be difficult without someone to teach you. But Sam was smart, though perhaps not very wise. He learned quickly how to gather leaves and save for the future. He became an expert at dodging long-beaked birds and curious children, who laughed and ran in the woods looking for a Science specimen.

But Sam had one problem. It hounded him every morning and every night regardless if the day was happy or sad. He observed his world and found many wonders such as the prancing deer, the howling bear, the princely fox, and the regal eagle – in Sam's estimation, this was God's most amazing animal. He thought, To fly, now that would be heavenly! His mind soon mocked him, and he wondered why God made him a worm. I am the most lowly of creatures, of what use am I?

Past the tree where Sam sat brooding, a serious meeting of robins formed. As they gathered round, their chief counselor pronounced judgment on a young, wounded bird. “He has been injured quite severely and will never fly again. He can no longer be part of our clan. This is his own doing – a careless oversight on his part!” Then after a brief pause, the counselor pointed to the fledgling and said, “You young lad, will no longer be part of our alliance. We will have to let you go.” With that the flock of robins took to flight and left the hapless creature to fend for himself.

Sam watched the brown bird nursing his wing. With hesitation, he maneuvered his way nearer and said, “Hey there Mr. Robin, you look like you could use some help.”
“Yes, I guess I could. I've had an unfortunate fall.”

“Listen,” said Sam, “I can help you, just as long as you promise not to eat me.”
“Not a problem,” replied the Robin, “besides, I prefer eating berries.”
With that agreed, Sam built a comfortable place for the bird to rest using sticks and leaves, and he also made the robin a splint for his wing. Sam learned that the bird's name was Jeremy, and the two of them became best friends.

Jeremy often told Sam stories of his adventures in the air. Like the time he fell asleep on a dead limb that broke free. By the time he woke up, he was only a few feet away from crashing to the ground. But Jeremy soared skillfully to safety.

Eventually, Jeremy's wing healed, he flew again, and both the bird and the worm gave thanks.
Sam was happy for his friend, and he accepted his place in life. He understood that maybe he would never be able to fly. He was, however, able to help his friend soar once again. Older, wiser, and now very sleepy, Sam crawled onto a large tree trunk and instinctively began to weave a cocoon around his long, fat body. He stayed there asleep for many days... Seasons change, even for Sam, and the day arrived when he awoke from his long nap. He struggled to get free from the cocoon's shell. It took some time, but he made his way out. Sam looked at his new body and was amazed at the metamorphosis. He soon discovered he had wings to fly. After a time of adjustment to his new wings, he sailed effortlessly through the air with his friend Jeremy.

Sam looked beyond himself and his own worries to help another in need. He spent time at Jeremy's side, nursing him to health. In the end, after enabling Jeremy to recover, Sam's own desire of being airborne transpired. When we reach out to others in the Spirit of Christ's love, enabling them to succeed, many times we discover that our own God-inspired dreams take flight.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Rejoice in the Lord always
And again I say rejoice
Jesus is the real Joy-Giver
Fruit born from our relationship with Him
Joy increases strength

Even in the dark times
Your songs of deliverance bring freedom
Praise silences the enemy
I will rejoice in the Lord always
I will not place my faith in how I feel
But in Your true word

I lift my hands in worship to You my Sovereign One
I will be glad and shout the victory
Rejoice oh my soul in the Lord always
I will make my boast in You my King

You bring a smile to this weary warrior
I make my choice to rejoice in You
I will dance over streams of sorrow
I will throw a party for You have rescued me

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Something to Think About

“Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Our individual way of life is primarily determined by how we think. A person who believes she can accomplish a task has a much better chance of succeeding than the fellow who sees himself as a failure before he tries. Proverbs 23:7 puts it this way: “For as he (one) thinketh in his heart so is he.” KJV

When we struggle with patterns of sin in our lives, we must put the ax to the root. Beneath our ungodly actions lies a system of thoughts that remain inconsistent with Scriptural living. Romans 12:2 says that we are not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This act of mental renovation is a process. Becoming born again is an instantaneous experience, but growing in the Lord takes time.

We must learn to monitor our thoughts. When we discover that we are thinking in a negative or sinful way, we must remember to cast those thoughts out of our mind and replace them with thoughts based on Biblical verses that properly address the issue. For instance, I may find myself worrying about finances. The difficult economy has affected many of us. But God promises in Philippians 4:19 that He shall supply all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Notice how I personalized it. A good way to renew our mind is to confess the word of God out loud. Remember, Jesus spoke the word of God aloud when He was tempted by Satan. So, if I noticed that I was becoming anxious about my financial situation, I could say out loud, “Lord forgive me for being anxious. I trust you. I cast down my negative thoughts and I believe that You shall supply all of my needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Besides speaking God's word we can meditate on Bible verses that fit the thought pattern we are dealing with. Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2 says we are to meditate on the word day and night. The word meditate comes from the Hebrew word “hawgaw”. It means to murmur, ponder, mourn, imagine, speak, study, talk, and utter. One helpful method to consider is to take a scripture and read it out loud over and over again. The first time you read the verse speak the first word louder than the rest. Then move to the second word, while reading the entire verse. Do this with every word in the verse. This will help you extract new meanings from the scripture. When we do this, we invite the Holy Spirit to reprogram our thinking.

It is also important that we ask the Holy Spirit to give us revelation knowledge of the Scriptures we meditate on. He will help us to become transformed by the renewing of our minds. He will give us the ability to live out what we are taking in. The word of God is powerful. It is able to change us from the inside out. Let's meditate on the word of God. As we do, we will see results, and we will have the power to obey what we think upon. If you haven't already done so, begin to monitor your thoughts replacing each negative thought with the affirmation of God's written word, and let's take God's admonition seriously to meditate on His word day and night. I hope you enjoyed this short study. I guess you could say that it's something to think about.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ragtag Army

The humble find heaven's doorway. The meek discover God's wisdom.

The proud like a stubborn horse resist the path.

The weak find their strength in the Holy One. The Helper infuses them with power from on high.

Not many wise with human insight walk the roadway to heaven. Let us become fools so we can become wise in the Father's eyes.

Lord, teach us to comprehend our weakness. Teach us to bow before You broken yet filled with Your glory.

Heaven applauds the humble ones. Let us be included in that ragtag army.

For Christ uses the weak and unlikely ones, and through them He confounds the wise.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


“ which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

Harsh, condemning, close-fisted, angry, unapproachable – these are the words that partially described my understanding of God before I became a Christian. Raised in the Greek Orthodox tradition, I believed in the holiness of God. The Lord, in my understanding, was awesome and mysterious, but I had a difficult time comprehending His love. I knew in my mind that He loved me, but experientially I viewed God as my Judge, and I correctly deduced that I fell short of His glory. I lived with an underlying sense of condemnation that stripped me of confidence whenever I tried to approach God.

What a thrill it was for me to later learn of the Father's grace and love, and of the free gift of salvation that comes through accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. Ephesians 1:6 says that we are accepted in the Beloved. What a liberating truth. To know that God accepts us or receives us freely without any reservation even though we are fallen, excites me. We love Him because He first loved us. His love is a wonderful motivator. It spurs us on to do good, grace-initiated works.

I no longer see my Lord as a harsh Judge; instead I am growing in my understanding of His love for me. Let's ask the Father to reveal to us the immense depth of His love. This revelation will transform our vision of God and will affect every aspect of our lives.

Dear Father God,

Help me to comprehend Your great love for me. Show me the height and the depth of it. Let me know deep in my heart that I am accepted by You. Let your love draw me to You and encourage me to do good works, which You have prepared in advance for me to do. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Turning to a Different Gospel

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all.” Galatians 1:6-7

Those of us who have accepted Christ as our personal Lord and Savior have embraced grace-filled living. We were saved by grace not by our own worth or effort. Following Christ is not to be a lurch down the roadway of rule keeping and burden bearing. We are called to follow the Savior empowered by grace. The way we began is to be the way we continue and ultimately the way we are to finish.

When we receive our Lord's grace, we find His character form within us – not as a product of self exertion, but as fruit born from surrender to our Lord's ability. We are clay pots marred and imperfect, but He fills us with His Spirit. As we yield to the Spirit, we become loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and able to control our own bent toward sin. Grace enables us to serve the King.

But when we revert back to trying to keep a set of rules, when we find ourselves becoming legalistic, we are guilty of turning to a different gospel. Our trust centers on ourselves and our ability to perform. This behavior is offensive to Christ. When we act this way, we say, in effect, that we do not need to trust in Jesus Christ's sacrifice – we live as though the cross is insignificant.

Let's receive afresh the rivers of His grace. Let's bask in the truth that the Lord has redeemed us, and that we are saved because of His loving work on the cross. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to fill us anew. Then we will find the journey a blessing not a burden. We will be able to rest in what Christ has done for us, and we will be motivated by gratitude not guilt. Jesus invites us all to live by the true gospel the gospel of His grace. Are you living a life motivated and empowered by God's grace?

Dear Father in Heaven,

Help me to remember that my sins are forgiven because of Jesus' death and resurrection. Help me to trust in Your grace as my means of following you. Give to me a grateful heart so that my obedience is motivated by love not an unhealthy fear. Thank you for delivering me from all forms of legalism. Lord fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Working as Unto the Lord

"Slaves (employees), obey your earthly masters (employers) with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." Ephesians 6:5-8

Before the world was corrupted by original sin, before disease ravaged the earth, before humanity experienced pain and suffering, Adam tended the Garden of Eden. He applied diligence to the task at hand and God blessed him. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord promised Adam that his labor would be exceedingly difficult.

But now we live in the dispensation of grace. Jesus bore our sin and we have received the blessing of Abraham (Genesis 3:14). God promises to increase our effectiveness as we work wholeheartedly as unto Him. When we are faithful and hard working, God promises to shine His favor upon our efforts. Diligence yields promotion, and all hard work brings a profit. Our place of work is to become an alter of worship. When we work as unto the Lord, He infuses us with His strength and ability, and our labor brings Him glory.

Men have a special role in their families as the primary breadwinners. I don't mean to say that women should not work, but I do believe that men are to bear the greatest burden when it comes to providing for their families. Remember, it was Adam, not Eve, who was given the responsibility to cultivate the garden.

As the Lord provides for us through the avenue of our careers, let's be quick to give back to Him a portion of what we've been given. As we do, the Lord promises to bless us even more. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Our Lord promises to multiply the seed we sow, especially when we sow with a grateful heart.

During this difficult economic season, many people have lost their jobs – this includes Christians. If your in that place, know that looking for work is your full-time job. And know that as your faithful in searching for a job, God will be faithful to you. We should also make it our habit to pray for each other during these tough times.

No matter what our present financial circumstances are, Jesus remains our Great Provider. As we work diligently and give generously - as much as we are able - the Lord will sustain us.
Let's praise Jesus for His provision and let's work wholeheartedly as unto Him. As we do, we praise Him well, and we open the door for His blessings to overtake us.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Learning to Walk

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If any man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

When children first learn to walk they need the help of their parents. In the beginning stages, they must hold on to mom or dad in order to take even one step. Later, they begin to depend on their own strength and agility to stride through the house.

We, like that young child, are helpless without God's strength and guidance to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. The only difference is that when we become older as Christians, we should depend on the Lord more in order to live the Christian life. Dependence on Christ is the key to victorious Christianity. When we rely on Him instead of ourselves, we are able to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. However, when we trust in our own strength and righteousness, we fall.

Whether we have served the Lord for two or twenty years, our view of ourselves apart from Christ should reflect how the Father sees us. We are helpless without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let's learn to put our trust and confidence in the Lord for every step we take in our walk with Christ. When we fall, his loving arms will lift us back up. He will steady us and help us along the journey, enabling us to bear fruit for eternity.

Dear Father God,

Thank you that you have not left me alone in my Christian experience. I can rely on You. Lord I choose to trust and depend on you for victory and effectiveness in my walk with Christ. Thank you that You are always present to catch me when I fall. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Food for the Soul

Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never grow hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Food and water are essential to our survival in this world. Scientists estimate that a healthy person can endure physically for up to eight weeks without food and three to five days without water. These are general time frames that can vary due to the individual's overall health condition. A person exposed to extreme heat or cold will typically die sooner without food or water. Most of us make it a priority to eat and drink fluids on a regular basis, but if we didn't we would eventually starve to death.

Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. He nourishes our soul, and just like we need food and water to maintain strong physical health, we also need to be in fellowship with Christ to experience vibrant spiritual health. Without daily contact with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, our spirits languish. It's no wonder that many Christians lack the power to do God's will in their day-to-day lives.

One of my first challenges after becoming a Christian was to develop a daily quiet time with the Lord. I understood that this was important for me, but it took some time to establish this good habit in my life. At first, I tried to secure an hour with the Lord every day. When I often failed to meet the Lord in this way, I would feel guilty. Later I learned that the exact amount of time was not as important as quality of time I gave. Three hours spent with God halfheartedly is not worth much to us or to the Lord, but twenty minutes given to the Lord in full surrender is precious to Him and beneficial to us. I learned through a pastor, who is a friend of mine, that our quiet time should consist of worship and praise, prayer, and time reading and meditating on the Scriptures.

As I did these things, I began to experience greater victory in my personal walk with the Lord. More importantly, I began to sense that my relationship with the Lord deepened. My heart feasted on God's word and the Holy Spirit, like water, quenched my spiritual thirst. Also, the carnal things that I had grown attached to began to lose their allure as well as their hold on me.

When we establish – with Christ's help - a daily quiet time, we allow the Holy Spirit to build us up spiritually. As we do this, the Lord is able to use us to bring His message and love to others. It takes time for all of us to grow spiritually, but without a steady diet of God's word and God's presence we will always feel inadequate and unfulfilled. We will lack God's power to serve and grow in our Christian lives.

Let's allow the Lord to help us establish a daily habit of going to Him in worship, prayer, and Bible study. There is no reason we should have to starve spiritually. The Bread of Life has prepared a banquet for you and me. I believe He would say to us, “Come and dine!”

Dear Father God,

Help me to come to you every day to sit at your feet. Speak to me through Your word and through Your Holy Spirit. Let the Bible come alive to me as I spend time reading it each day. Use me to pray for others. Lord help me to establish the godly habit of spending time with You each and every day. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Surely it is Our Faith

What believes in the face of Impossible?
What smiles before Improbable?
What stands on the promise unstoppable?
Surely it is our faith

What trusts in the midst of sorrow?
What perseveres when we're tempted to wallow?
What takes courage when fear tries to swallow?
Surely it is our faith

We trust in the One who is Faithful
He will never let us down
His ways remain unsearchable
If we're faithful, we'll wear a crown

Steady the hands that tremble
Believe in the Lord our Victor
We shall triumph over our enemies
What is it the gives us this victory?
Surely it is our faith

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vessels of Healing

“Believers shall lay hands of the sick and they shall recover.”
Mark 16:18

Physical healing is secured as we pray and believe, and we can be vessels of healing to those we pray for! As we lay hands on the sick, they will recover – this is what the Scripture declares. Some will be healed instantly; others will gradually become well. (It is important to note that God approves of doctors and medicine. In fact one of the Lord's diciples, Luke, was a physician.)

It is also true that some are not healed on this earth. Our human tendency is to wonder why this occurs, but we must place our trust in God’s sovereignty. All born again believers will possess a perfectly healthy body when they enter heaven’s gates. Though we may not know the exact outcome in a given situation, let’s extend our love and faith towards those that suffer illness. Let’s believe with unashamed expectancy. Our friend’s miracle may only be a prayer away.

Dear Lord,

Use me to lay hands on the sick. I ask that you would display your miracle power on their behalf. Help me to stay sensitive to your Holy Spirit. I believe your word which says that believers shall lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Give me the boldness to obey you as a vessal of your healing power. I realize it is my job to pray for people and your job to heal them in your way and in your timing. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends for Eternity

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

The religious leaders protested: “This teacher eats and drinks with sinners! (Mark 2:16)” How could Jesus preach truth on one hand and fraternize with the ungodly on the other? Christ’s behavior ran roughshod against the Pharisee’s way of living. They habitually stayed clear of people that promised to soil their reputation.

But Jesus befriended those lost in sin. He extended mercy to those that didn’t have it all together. We have been commissioned by Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. This is our mission – to win the world for Jesus, and evangelism starts within our own sphere of influence.

I believe the Lord would challenge each of us to befriend one or two people who do not know Him for the purpose of eventually introducing them to the Savior. Why not make this a matter of prayer? Ask the Lord to show you someone who you can foster a God-honoring relationship with. The Lord will help you begin a friendship with an unbeliever without compromising your Christian values. (For this type of evangelism I strongly suggest looking for people of your own gender.)

Once you have found someone, with the Holy Spirit’s help, slowly establish a close rapport with the individual. Don’t hide the fact that you are a Christian, but let your lifestyle preach the message. Spend time with him or her. You may find he or she shares a common interest with you, such as playing racquetball. See this as an opportunity to develop the friendship.

Love the person with God’s love and be careful not to be judgmental towards this person – remember this individual does not have the Holy Spirit within him, and he does not know the Lord like you do. As you pray for this individual, ask the Lord to touch him and give you an opportunity to share the gospel with him. It may take time before the person is ready to receive Christ. If he does not embrace the gospel, continue to extend kindness towards him and continue to pray for him. He may still accept Christ in the future.

If your friend receives the Lord, rejoice with him and help this person find a good church where he can be baptized and learn more about the faith. Remember that we are called to make disciples not converts. Above all, continue to cultivate the relationship. By God’s grace, you will have won a friend for eternity.

Dear Lord,

Show me who I can befriend for the gospel's sake. Help me to love this person unconditionally. Reveal to me ways in which I can show this person your kindness. Help me to develop a friendship with this individual and enable me to eventually bring him or her your message of hope and healing. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Ted sits on a cot in a dank prison cell void of sunlight. He longs for his wife and three kids. He shares his small room with an obese man who seldom speaks. Tears run down Ted’s cheeks as he remembers his choice to sell drugs on the violent streets of New York City. Images have been surfacing on the canvass of his mind. He sees their faces. Young kids feeding their addiction through his ample supply. He grew rich by selling crack cocaine and other drugs to hundreds of them. He looks inside himself and sees only darkness. It's as if his heart is enveloped in a black cloud.

He thinks of Sarah, his wife, and pictures her cradling their youngest child. She weeps. Then he remembers his friend Joe, who often told him of the saving power of Jesus. Joe would tell him of the blood of Christ that frees us. He said there was no sin the Savior wouldn't forgive. Somehow at that moment Ted understood that the walls of the prison he was in were not the only confining elements in his life. He realized that his heart was also chained. He felt the burden of his misdeeds like a heavy weight pulling down on his soul.

He cried out to the Savior, “Lord of Heaven, I have lived my life apart from you for so long. Would you take me back? Jesus, I ask you to save me and to wash me of my sin. With your help I decide to follow you. Lord I give my life to you. Thank you for accepting me as I am. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.”

The light of God's Son filled Ted's being and every bond that held his cold heart burst apart. He felt as free as an eagle in its prime. Ted soon joined a Bible study in the prison. He hungered after God and devoured the Scriptures. He became a light and an example to other inmates. Ted was still incarcerated, but in his heart and soul he felt as free as a bird. Still to this day, his face beams with childlike joy.

Though this story is a fictional one, it may as well be true. Countless thousands of prisoners have embraced Christ and found a freedom that can only be explained as coming straight from heaven. You too can find freedom in your soul no matter what your life circumstances are. All of us have sinned – we all need a Savior. No matter how good we may think we are we are all stained by sinful deeds. If we haven't accepted Christ as our Savior, we are actually living in darkness.

The only way to come into the light is to believe with all your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose again and to declare Him as the Lord of Your life. Once you do that you too will be free. If you haven't done so why not pray a prayer like the one below and start your new life of freedom in Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I have missed the mark. I ask you, Jesus, to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart to live there forever. I believe that you died for me and rose again. Jesus, I choose to follow you all of my days. Thank you for loving me. I surrender all to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heavenly Naturalization

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” Corinthians 5:20

An ambassador represents his or her homeland, while living in a foreign nation. This diplomatic messenger portrays the laws and ideals of their government and acts as a resident influence in international affairs.

The Bible calls us citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20). As we live for the King, we reflect heaven’s way of life to those around us. We have been made ministers of reconciliation; we are ambassadors for Christ. We have each been anointed to represent Jesus to a dying world. We do this through our godly lifestyle, through prayer, through God’s miracle-working power, and through the proclamation of the Lord’s message.

We have the answer to the cries of hurting humanity – it is Jesus. He is the only cure. We are to introduce those that have not embraced Christianity to the naturalization process of heaven. God wants to welcome them into his family and invites them to become citizens of heaven.

Lord of the Harvest,

Give me a love for the different nationalities and cultures of the world. Give me a burden for humanity. More importantly Lord, give me a desire to introduce them to you. Empower me by your spirit, equip me through your word, and send me out to bring in the harvest. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Burden to Pray

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced crops."
James 5:16-18

Those that intercede for others live close to the heart of God. It is a privilege and a high calling to offer Spirit-led prayers to the Lord on behalf of another. We pray with our understanding and we pray in other tongues. The Holy Spirit leads us to intercede for those lost in darkness and for those that need a touch from God. The Lord restores, and the Lord makes all things new. Great power is unleashed when we pray according to God's will.

Sometimes when we pray we sense a burden spiritually that we must “pray through”. Many times I have felt a spiritual heaviness while praying for a certain situation or person. When I continue in prayer for that need, eventually there comes a point when the burden is lifted. Often a person praying like this will sense a joy-filled release. After the Lord has led me praying like this there will often be a tangible answer to prayer such as an individual accepting Jesus as their Savior or a person getting healed.

We can not plan these prayer encounters with the Holy Spirit. They come as He wills, but when we give ourselves to prayer, the Lord uses us more frequently in these ways. A passionate prayer life will birth effective ministry in other areas of our lives. It will cause us to bear fruit within our sphere of influence.

The prayers of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective, and we have been made righteous through the blood of Christ. Let us come boldly before the throne of God and make our requests known to Him. Let's pray fervently for the purpose of advancing the kingdom of God. As we do this, our relationship with the Lord will deepen, and we will see God move in miraculous ways. Mountains move when God's people pray, and our hearts are transformed as we intercede on behalf of others.

Dear Holy Spirit,

Draw me into an abiding relationship with You, and teach me to pray. Lord I want to pray for others as well as for my own needs. Help me to sense Your stirrings deep within, so I can pray according to Your will. Fill me afresh with Your Spirit and use me for Your glory. Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prepare the Way

“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’” Luke 3:4-6

I believe revival is birthed in the closet of prayer. When we seek his face with all our hearts, He hears us. The Lord calls us to repent of our individual sin and apathy; he provokes us to pray for our land.

Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to restore our zeal to witness revival among us. As we pray, we pave the way for God to move in miraculous ways. Let’s allow the Master to do a significant work within us and believe him for big things! Who knows? Revival may just be right around the corner. We can pray privately as well as corporately. God is looking for clean hands and pure hearts. He wants us hungry for a move of His Spirit.

As we pray, the Lord’s fire burns strong in us. That fire cleanses us of impurity and prepares us to be vessels of honor. The Lord wants to send us out to those that do not know Jesus. We are salt and light, and we have the message the world desperately needs.

The Lord asks each of us to seek him with love and intensity. He searches across the whole earth for fishers of men. We can answer the call. It was said of the early believers that they turned the world upside down for the cause of Christ. Together we can do the same.

Lord of Heaven,

Teach me to pray for revival. Cleanse my heart and give me a burden for lost souls. Let me unite with other believers to see revival take our cities, our nation, and our world. Make me a vessel of honor. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Future

Some things the Master tells us
He shows us things to come
Some things the Father hides
The future here's unknown

By faith we look ahead
In hope we do believe
The Lord will open doors for us
His promise He will keep

Guide us Holy Spirit
Let Your power come
Give to us Your wisdom
Shining from the Son

We surrender all
To Your will and to Your way
We surrender all
Help us follow and obey

We place our future in Your hands
For only through You can we stand
Your word shimmers light upon our path
Step by step into the promise land

One day You'll rent the heavens
We'll fly away with You
Then You'll judge the world
With justice and with truth

Lord our future's at Your feet
By Your grace we're made complete
Keep us till that awesome day
When every knee will bend Your way

Author of our future days
We humble ourselves and we pray
Have Your way Lord
Have Your way

Monday, September 14, 2009

God-given Ability to Produce Wealth

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:18

3 John 3 says, “Beloved I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. KJV” There are many promises in the Bible that support the fact that God desires to see his people financially blessed. Prosperity for the Christian develops as we work diligently, give liberally, and love God preeminently. God does not promise to make us all millionaires, but He does promise to meet our needs and to bring us to a place where we can be a blessing to others financially.

The Lord wants to bless us so we can have the resources to contribute to the kingdom of God. He seeks to enable us to help fund the expansion of the gospel through our financial giving. Many God-ordained ministries exist that depend on the free will offerings of God’s people. Let’s pursue the Lord and allow him to bless us. He can enlighten our minds with creative business ideas. He can fill us with a passion to work in a particular field in the marketplace. He wants to prosper us. Psalm 35:27 states that the Lord delights in the prosperity of his servant.

He will meet our needs and cause us to become a channel of blessing to others. The Lord will give us power or ability to produce wealth. God’s prosperity is linked to our willingness to give and our diligence to work as unto the Lord. God will prosper the individual moved by his agenda to further the Kingdom of Heaven.

Dear Jesus,

You are the Lord my Provider. I thank you for enabling me to prosper. I recognize that my financial resources come from you. You have given me the ability to make wealth. Help me to give to your kingdom even in times of scarcity, and help me to give you all the glory when I receive your blessings. Make me a channel who draws from your abundance and helps to finance the gospel. Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

God is Just

“’No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

We have an advocate - the Lord our Defender. When we face dishonest and treacherous people, we can trust the Lord to vindicate us. If we have been faithful to him and have been wronged in the process, the Lord will go to bat for us. He will see to it that justice is done. If we choose to forgive those that have wronged us and allow God to deal with the situation, He will bring about vindication in His way and in His timing. This righting-of-wrongs may occur during our lifetime or the Lord may bring justice about on the day he judges every man. The Scriptures declare that there will come a day when we all must give an account for the things we have done on earth
(1 Cor 4:5, 2 Tim 4:1, Rom 2:16). Ultimately the Lord will bring justice to us. He will vindicate His children; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.

Dear Father,

I thank you for your love and justice. Help me to forgive those that have done wrong things to me and help me to trust you to vindicate me in your time. Let me not take matters into my own hands. Lord you are just and true and you will bring all things into balance on the day that you judge the world. Help me to live my life in the light of that awesome day. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Silencing Power of Praise

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
Psalm 8:2 NIV (Also see Matthew 21:16)

Satan lurks in the shadows eager to attack his prey. The ancient warrior aims his fiery arrows at those who follow the Lord in hot pursuit. We are never more a threat to our enemy and his hosts than when we seek first Christ and His kingdom. But what can we do when the enemy pursues us? God has supplied many weapons for us to do damage to the kingdom of darkness. One of the weapons in our arsenal is praise. The Scriptures say that praise silences the avenger. The avenger is the enemy of our souls – the devil. When we worship and praise our Lord in childlike adoration, God's power arrests the enemy.

James 4:7 urges us to submit to God (childlike humility) and resist the devil. The promise given with this command is that the devil will flee from us. One of the ways we defeat the enemy and his army is through passionate praise and worship. As we lift our praises to God, He looses us from the grip of satanic attack and oppression. Victory is ours as we lift high the name of the Lord. Satan and his cohorts can no longer whisper in our ears in an effort to drown out the influence of the Holy Spirit and the word of God in our lives. Demonic voices literally become mute in the presence of Spirit-filled praise and worship, and we experience freedom in Christ.

Let's praise the Father for His faithfulness and love. Let's praise Jesus for His crucifixion and His resurrection. Let's worship the Holy Spirit for being our close Companion and our true Guide. Let's exalt our God for he has given us dominion over the enemy and more importantly He has given us a place in heaven to live with Him forever. He is the one true God, and as we praise Him our evil foe flees in stark terror. Hallelujah, our God reigns!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Peace rests while foreboding waters rise
Peace sleeps when sturdy ships collide
Yet Peace is ever-ready to meet the challenge of the night

Trusting in the One
Abiding in the Son
Loving everyone

Peace melts walls that separate
Peace loves when others choose hate

Peacemakers often win the fight
Peacemakers live inside the light

Peace comes when we surrender all
Peace leaves when we disobey the call

Christ's blood bought it
His victory wrought it

Peace sets our souls at ease
Causes strife to cease
Let us never be without His peace

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

God's Dream

“…and he sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave, They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.” Psalm 105:17-19

The Lord is the giver of dreams. Joseph had a dream from God that found its fulfillment years later. He suffered severe rejection, betrayal, and imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. But Joseph was eventually appointed as a leader - second only to Egypt’s Pharaoh. By following God’s wisdom, he saved multitudes from famine including his own family. By forgiving his brothers – the very ones who betrayed him - Joseph revealed the deep work that God had done within his heart.

I believe God gives dreams to all of his children. He desires to bless us and use us for His glory. In the beginning, we may not know our future’s complete picture; the vision may even end up different in the end then when we initially imagined it.

As we obey God in the little things, he begins to reveal more to us. When we pursue God’s dream for our lives, the Lord shapes and molds us. He makes us fit for the task he has for us. After we have proven faithful, the Lord will bring the vision to pass in his perfect timing. As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Dear Lord,

I surrender to your plan for my life. Reveal your will to me more fully and equip me for the task that you have designed me to do. I believe you have a calling for all of your saints, and I am no different. I choose to follow you to bring you glory and to help establish your kingdom on this earth. Let me be faithful to you as I wait for the complete fulfillment of your will and as I serve you now. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Faith's Stand

“… Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

When we feed our faith with God’s word, it grows. Faith believes the unseen will be realized. It is the confidence that God will be faithful to His promise. We must always build faith’s foundation on the living word of God. When we rest upon our Father’s word and praise Him for His future blessings, we please God. As we add patience to the mix, we find that, in his perfect time, we inherit the promises.

True faith flows from a heart that loves God and a life that obeys Him. Such a life becomes fertile ground for the Lord to manifest His miracles. The goal of our faith must ultimately be to give God glory and to advance His Kingdom.

The act of believing will always stand contrary to the world and its ways. When we choose to trust the Lord along a particular vein, we move in a direction that contrasts human logic and reasoning. Noah heard the word of the Lord. He believed a flood was eminent. The downpour would come as a form of judgment on mankind, but the world had never experienced rain before. Instead, the earth’s flora received nourishment through natural springs that streamed from beneath the earth. Noah built an ark of wood on dry land in obedience to God’s command. He proclaimed that a terrible flood would ensue.

The people thought him a fool, but in the end the rains came, and Noah and his family found safety through adhering to, and believing in, the word of the Lord. Unfortunately, those that did not believe lost their lives.

We must declare His promise is true even when it looks as though that special thing could never happen. With God all things are possible! God is faithful to His word, and we must remain faithful in believing. The Lord promises to take care of us; He also wants us to extend our faith in ways that cause us to be a blessing to others. It is important to remember that God will only give us those things that conform to His written word.

God also knows what benefits us the most. In all our believing, God remains sovereign. He will only grant to us those things that will complement His specific will for our lives.

Dear Sovereign Lord,

I ask you to give to me my heart's desires that agree with your will for my life. I believe that you can do anything. Nothing is impossible for you. I love you Lord and understand that you know what's best for me. Have your way dear Lord and answer the petitions of my heart and soul. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Are Blessed

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…
Psalm 103:2

Many are the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us. We are instructed not to forget them. God has promised to provide for us spirit, soul, and body. He is our Healer and our Provider. He is a King that blesses according to grace, and we will never be able to earn His favor.

Ephesians 1:3 states: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Notice the Scripture says he has blessed us. It is written in past tense; His provision has already been given. We can rejoice now in the blessings of God.

As we develop an attitude of thankfulness and expectation, God continues to bless us. While we thank him for what He has given, we also expect the fulfillment of His unfolding promises in our lives. God is pleased with us when we look to Him in faith, and it really is His desire to bless His children. Our eyes focus not so much on the anticipated answer to prayer, but on the One who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. As we seek Him first and his righteousness, we find that He takes good care of us. And as we are faithful with what He gives us, He gives us more.

This does not mean that we live trouble-free lives. It does mean, however, that even in the midst of pain and suffering our Lord sustains us. He promised to prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). We must also remember that the Lord is wise and sovereign; he knows precisely what we need and exactly what is best for each of us.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your blessings. Thank you that I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I will not take your grace for granted. I know that you will give to me those things that are the best for me. I trust you to take good care of me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No Condemnation

Here is a song I wrote a long time ago. I hope the words minister to you...

There is no condemnation for those in Christ. There is no condemnation for you for Jesus Christ in His death, He set you free. There is no condemnation for you.


You are free, you are free. You are truly free indeed. Repeat

You are no longer under the law of sin and death. You are free from the law that held you bound and those chains that surrounded you now they are broken loose by the One who is your Shepherd and your Lord. To Chorus

Now my friend rest easy in the Lord’s finished work for you are made complete in Him, and did you know you’ve been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, Oh you are in right standing with Him. To Chorus

Now when Satan comes against you and tells you you’re no good, just remember who you are in the Lord and quote the word of God to Him with quiet confidence and the word will cut him like a sword. To Chorus

When you’ve fallen short of God’s command, go to the Lord and ask for help. He said He would forgive you and forget what you’ve done. Oh He’ll not hold a thing against you.

You are free, you are free. You are truly free indeed. Repeat

There is no condemnation for those in Christ.

© Copyright 1988 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Favorable Environment for Growth

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

The apple tree flourished in the fertile soil. Its regular diet of gentle showers and warm sunshine contributed to the tree’s healthy state.

Paul admonished believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). It is in an environment where grace and truth abound that the Christian is provided the best chance to mature. The churches we attend should be marked by two qualities. First, the word of God must be taught unashamedly and with Biblical balance. Secondly, grace and love should characterize the atmosphere of the congregation.

Our personal relationship with God should also be cultivated by spending time in the Scriptures and by meditating on the Lord’s love and kindness. Such an environment will enable us to flourish spiritually. We will be like trees planted by streams of water, and the Lord will cause us to prosper spiritually.

Dear Lord,

You are my Shepherd. I thank you for your great love for me and for the truth of your word which keeps me living for you. I believe that you are causing me to flourish as I meditate on your love, abide in your word, and participate in a life-giving local church. I worship you my Master. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Seed of God's Word

The farmer sows the word. Matthew 4:14

Jesus told a parable of a farmer scattering seeds. Some fell along the path and were immediately devoured by birds. Some fell on rocky soil. They grew at a fast pace, but had no substantial root system and died in the heat of the sun. Others also grew, but were choked by thorns. The last group took root and flourished. The seeds produced a crop of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown.

God gives us His word for an intended result. He desires that the seed of His word should take root in us and multiply. The Lord wants His character to grow within us, and He wants to fulfill his promises to us that are found on the pages of His written word.

When Christ explained this parable to His disciples, He mentioned four types of “heart-soil”. The condition of our hearts determines how God's word will grow in us when we hear a Biblical message or read the Bible on our own. The first set of seeds fell on the path and the birds immediately ate them up. This represents the unbelieving heart. People that resist God's word allow Satan to immediately steal it from them. The second group of seeds grew quickly, but soon dried up. These people have little foundation in them and they quickly give up when trouble or persecution comes their way. The third group were choked by thorns. Jesus explains that they represent individuals who allow the temporal worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth (the love of money) and the desires for other things (placing other things before the Lord) to choke God's word making it ineffective in their lives.

The last group of hearers produced a harvest. They represent the believer who hears, receives, understands, and puts into practice the word of God. This is the person that God abundantly blesses. As we spend time reading God's word, lets cultivate a heart that resists negative influences and seeks for God's wisdom. Let's obey God's word and allow His character to flourish within us. The power of God's word is like a seed that grows and grows. It is able to affect our entire outward behavior. Transformation in the Christian's life does not come by self determination, but by relying on the power of God's word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let's scatter the word of God in our hearts by reading the Bible and listening to uplifting Bible-centered messages. At the same time, let's watch over our hearts to ensure that they are good ground for the God's precious seed. As we do these things, we allow Christ's character to flourish in us, and we will become partakers of the promises of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me to cultivate a good heart that is responsive to your word. Teach me and grow me as I spend time reading your word. Help me to understand it and obey it. I love you Lord and thank you for being patient with me as I follow you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stand Guard

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

The Secret Service is a special law enforcement organization that performs several duties for the United States Government. Some of the officers serving in this organization are assigned as bodyguards to government officials. One such sentry, Tim McCarthy, bravely placed his body in the line of fire to save President Ronald Reagan’s life. A bullet lodged in Tim’s abdomen, but he survived. Because of his valiant act, President Reagan lived after an assassination attempt, though a bullet pierced his shoulder. McCarthy received the NCAA award of Valor in 1982.

We must hold spiritual vigil over our own hearts. Evil thoughts such as lust, greed, jealousy, and hatred act like a deadly bullets that drive the spiritual life out of us. We must be willing to risk our own comfort to ensure that our hearts remain pure. This may mean that we feel the pain of rejection because we steer against the flow of the world. It will mean that we have to hide God’s word within our hearts to help us fight against our adversary the devil.

God will help us; he will back us up. And after we resist negative imaginations, we must learn to replace them with thoughts from God’s word that edify us spiritually. As we dwell on the good and reject the evil, we will reflect our Savior in increasing dimensions. We will be transformed through a process called the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). And on that final day the Lord will reward us for our valor on the battlefront of the mind.

Dear Lord,

I choose to guard my heart with all diligence. Help me to submit to you and resist the devil. I will hide your word in my heart. Thank you for changing me from glory to glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Your Voice

Your voice flows freely into my ears
My heart receives Your word to me
Gentle stirrings
I write down what I see and hear

Your written word, the Bible, sifts through what comes to me
Separating fact from fiction
For I am human
I do not hear You perfectly

Help me to discern the voice's source
I will only head Yours my precious Lord
But I do believe that You love me enough
To want to communicate with me

Two-way dialogue
Available to all who know You
Like in the garden before the fall
We enjoy sweet fellowship

I will obey You love-filled Lord
You are the Master
My Savior, my Guide
Forever You live inside my heart

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Less is More

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30

One of the ways we know we are growing in the Lord is if we possess a diminishing measure of self-centeredness. John the Baptist said, in regards to Jesus, “He must become greater, I must become less.” We must make it our aim to glorify God more and more as our lives progress in him. The Lord will help us to withdraw from the temptation to seek attention for ourselves. He will enable us to worship him in every circumstance.

He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Over time, the Lord refines us like a stone lodged in the bed of a rushing stream. He smoothes the edges of our personality. As we empty ourselves, we make room for the Lord to fill us with his presence. It is Christ in us, who is our only hope of glory.

Dear Living God,

I surrender my life to you. I empty myself of worldly ambition and I lay my desires at your feet. Lord may you become greater in me and through me, and may I become less in my own estimation. I desire to please you in all I do and I long to live my life to magnify your name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Strength in Our Weakness

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

Temptation beckons to the weak areas of our nature. If we are given to jealousy, Satan will fashion our circumstances to provide us with an opportunity where we could become jealous. If we struggle with lust, our enemy will furnish ways to tempt us. The good news is, if we offer our weaknesses to God, they become the doorway for the Lord to exhibit His strength. As we depend on him, we find the Lord’s overcoming power in our lives in the area where failure normally prevails.

We cannot muscle our way out of temptation. Our self-willed ways can only take us so far. When we humble ourselves and submit to the Holy Spirit’s ability, we triumph in the midst of temptation’s onslaught. James 4:7 says that if we submit to God and resist the devil, our enemy will run for the hills.

Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth,

I thank you for your strength in the midst of my weakness. May your character shine through my weak areas by the power of your Holy Spirit. When I am tempted, help me to trust in you to give me the overriding ability to say no to sin and yes to right living. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lord of Heaven

Lord of Heaven
Pull me into You
Help me to know you intimately
Authentic God
You are never plastic
You tell it like it is
Yet you are so loving
Like a mother with her newborn child

I am full of sin
I waver daily from the straight and narrow
Heal me Lord
Forge your path for me
Help me to walk faithful and true
I am lost without you
So prone to my own ways

Forgive me for my backsliding
Cleanse me from my waywardness
Let my ears hear Your still small voice
Let me listen to your heartbeat
Strong and steady

Let Your word instruct me in the way I should go
Help me to abide in You always my Majestic One
You are my Peace, and You will forever be my Song

I know You are the God who answers my prayer
I thank you for keeping your promise
I delight in You Oh Lord of Heaven

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Second Blessing II

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They answered, “No we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:1-2

When we ask Jesus to baptize us with the Holy Spirit, the initial manifestation that many experience is the ability to speak in other tongues. This is nothing to be afraid of. The experience is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, 14 and Acts 2, as well as in other places in Scripture. When we surrender completely to the Lord and ask for the outpouring of his Spirit in our lives, he fills us afresh with his wonderful presence. The Lord will often give us words to say that we do not understand. At this time, we can utter these words in faith, believing that they come from God.

No matter what gifts we receive from God, our focus is to be on the Gift-giver and not the gifts. The gifts are distributed to help us and to enable us to help others, but our attention must always be on God.

Many people in various Christian denominations have experienced this second blessing. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a requirement to go to heaven; it is an equipping for our life here on earth. God loved us enough not only save us, but also to offer us this infilling of the Spirit.

If you would like to receive this second blessing, pray a prayer like the one included below. Spend some time worshiping God, and receive this second blessing for your life.

Dear Jesus,

I want this second blessing experience in my life. I ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit. I ask you to fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I can be a more effective witness for You and so that I can help others. I desire to know you in a deeper way. Lord come and fill me. I receive this gift not on the basis of how I feel, but on the basis of your promise to me. I believe that you have now filled me with the Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus. I love you. Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Second Blessing

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.....Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:5-6, 14-17)

If salvation or being spiritually reborn is the first blessing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (different from water baptism) is the second. This is the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the believer. Any individual that has asked Christ to be their Lord and Savior becomes a candidate for this outpouring.

Jesus told his disciples that, when he left them, the Lord would send to them the Holy Spirit, who would be with them forever. The Holy Spirit is a Person - the third Person of the Trinity. Any individual who has invited the Lord to be their Savior has the Holy Spirit living inside him or her. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is simply the release of the Holy Spirit’s power upon the believer for the purpose of empowering him or her to more effectively minister to others.

This infilling of the Spirit is freely given to the believer; it can not be earned, but must be asked for. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Paul the apostle expounds on the wonderful gifts of the Spirit that work in the life of the believer who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He mentions nine distinct gifts that are imparted to believer as the Holy Spirit wills. These gifts are: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gifts of healing, the gifts of miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in various tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

We can never earn these special endowments of the Spirit. When we ask Jesus to baptize us in the Holy Spirit, he does this not on the basis of our performance, but on the basis of our faith in him. In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus tells us that God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask him to.

With this precious outpouring of the Spirit comes a deeper intimacy with the Lord. With this second blessing comes greater power to be his witnesses and to heal the sick (see Acts 1:8). With this infilling, comes an increased sensitivity to the Spirit as well as a heightened ability to hear God’s voice and to see into the Spirit (visions and dreams – see Acts 2:17-18).

Dear Lord,

Let me hunger for more of your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing with your holy presence, so I can be a more effective laborer in your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Higher Law

Wilber and Orville Wright thrilled the world as their airplane took flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. This was the first time a heavier-than-air aircraft flew in a sustainable and controlled manner. The 600 pound airplane seemed to defy the laws of gravity.

The secret of airplane flight is revealed in the design of the wing. Its curved top and straight bottom allows for airflow that creates an upward pull or lift on the aircraft. The distance for air to travel is greater on the curved portion or top of the wing than on the bottom. This greater distance for air to flow causes weaker air pressure than the underside of the wing. When the plane is in motion, the greater air pressure on the bottom of the plane causes the plane to lift off the ground. In this way, the plane is able to override the law of gravity, which would dictate that the plane could not travel above ground.

In the Christian walk, we struggle to be free from the control of the flesh. It’s only when we apply a higher law that we are able to overcome sinful actions. Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Here we see that the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees us from the law of sin and death. Galatians 5:16 reads, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

We live by the Spirit when we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s desires, and when we yield to His control. We also live by the Spirit when we saturate our lives with the written word of God and give ourselves over to obeying Scripture. The word and the Spirit are always in agreement and it is through yielding to the Holy Spirit and God’s word that we take flight above the natural tendency to sin that we all struggle with.

In Galatians 5:22, we find the passage about the fruit of the Spirit. It states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” The following verse declares that against such things there is no law. The fruit of the spirit consists of the attributes that the Lord wants to impart to us. They are ours when we yield to Him and choose to follow the Lord in His power. And when we follow the Lord in this way, we find that His Spirit triumphs over our fleshly natures. We have the victory over sin and Satan, for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

We can live above our sinful natures. The Holy Spirit is the wind that gives us the lift to soar above our sinful ways. When we fall we can get back up and soar again. In our own strength, we are weak and incapable, but in His power we can overcome. Gravity no longer has to dominate our life, for we have found a higher law.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Never Compromise

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6

Never compromise your God-given convictions. This may mean that you look foolish to others who see nothing wrong with the action in question, which may involve an unscrupulous business practice or the temptation to cheat on your taxes. Whatever the situation obey the inner prompting from the Holy Spirit to do what is right in the given situation.

This will save you great heartache, and it will keep you from developing a dull conscience. If we ignore the inward voice that is harmonious with Scripture, we run the risk of growing callous. The longer we run in that direction the less likely we will be able to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice.

As we spend time in God's word, our conscience better reflects the will of the Lord, and our ability to discern the voice of God matures. Let us cultivate a God-centered conscience by obeying God's written and spoken word in every choice we make.

Dear Savior,

I love you. Help me to obey my conscience as it agrees with your written word. Teach me by your grace to say no to all ungodliness and evil behavior. Give me wisdom and courage to obey the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Tongue

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James 3:2

The tongue is like the rudder of a large ship. This small instrument steers the entire vessel. When we bridle our tongues through God’s ability, we can control any evil appetite. By speaking God’s word over our areas of weakness, we tap into the Holy Spirit’s power.

In the face of anger, I can say, “Love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). As I meditate on God’s word and speak it aloud from a believing heart, the wake of sin in my life begins to part, and I can walk through without sowing seeds of strife.

Jesus spoke God’s word when he was tempted by the devil. The devil cannot read our minds. That is why we must speak aloud the word of God. By doing this, we wreak havoc on the enemy of our souls. He is unable to stand against the force of the word of God spoken by a believer.

Verbalizing Scripture has a positive effect on our entire being. When we do this, we enable the Holy Spirit to order our lives accordingly. After all, this is how we entered into the Kingdom of God. Romans 10:8-9 describes it this way: “’But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Dear victorious Lord,

I choose to speak your word over the iniquity in my life. I thank you for your overcoming power that enables me to walk free from sin and spiritual darkness. I thank you for your liberty. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Upper Hand

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 John 5:4

The pull of sin weighs heavy on every man. Its power can submerge us to the depths of depravity. The enemy wants to drown us in its wake. But God has given us the upper hand. Those of us who have found new life in Christ have been crucified with Him. We can now walk in victory by trusting in Christ’s finished work at the cross.

We can count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (Romans 6:11). When Christ died, we died. When he rose from the dead, we were resurrected with him. We have been granted supreme victory over sin. We must receive this truth by faith. Through faith in him, we can walk out the triumph wrought by Christ alone at Calvary.

Thankfully, we walk this line with a safety net. When we fall, the Lord is there to forgive us, cleanse us, and set us back on our feet. Overcoming sin is often a process, but in Christ we already have been given the victory.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for the victory I have in you over sin. By faith I claim your triumph over the tendency I have to stumble spiritually. I declare that you have made me more than a conqueror through you. I believe that your work at Calvary defeated sin's strength in my own life, and I receive your overcoming power in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sin's Cure

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24-7:25a

We all fall short of God’s glory, yet in differing ways. Some feel the pull of sexual temptation while others struggle with an inordinate passion for money. Some think too highly of themselves, while still others are given to self-condemnation and depression.

No matter what our weaknesses are, there is only one time-tested cure for the tendency to sin – faith in Jesus Christ. As we surrender to Him, we find forgiveness and freedom. Forgiveness comes as we confess and forsake our sin. We then receive a spiritual bath from the hand of our loving Lord.

Victory is secured when we declare the promises of God. The Bible expresses that we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). Scriptures like this show us that we are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We can also find verses that specifically address an area of temptation we are facing. When we speak such verses aloud, we follow the pattern of our Lord who spoke the word of God in the face of the devil’s temptation.

As we meditate on God’s word, we renew our minds to kingdom realities and righteous living. By hiding God’s word in our hearts, we ready ourselves for the struggles of the flesh and the onslaughts of the evil one.

By depending on Jesus and his word, we experience ever-increasing victory. This does not mean that we always get it right. The road to overcoming bad habits can often be characterized by a baby who takes a few steps forward and falls only to get back up and repeat the cycle. But God will enable us to overcome.

It is also helpful to gain strength from a fellow believer who can provide encouragement and accountability. If we will pursue the Lord, he will take us through the process, making us stronger and stronger as we journey on to become more like Christ.

Dear Lord,

I count myself as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. I know this is how you see me in Christ. Lord I thank you for the victory I have in you. Your word says that I am an overcomer! I choose to speak your word in the face of temptation. Teach me to gain the victory through every battle that I endure. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.