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.