Sunday, December 19, 2010

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror of Your word
I see some things that make my heart disturbed
When traces of the darkness hide your unfeigned light
And choices I have made filter out your holy life

I call upon a God who's been made man
And tempted in all points as I am
You prune me like a tree to bear more fruit for You
In Your discipline I'm made to bear your truth

Thank you for Your word that sometimes points at me
And shows me how much better I can surely be
Thank You for the truth that tries my sullied soul
Letting in the light, making me whole

You love me as I am
But Your compassion runs much farther
You challenge me and spur me on
To be like my Heavenly Father

Love Incarnate

Centuries before the prophets foretold
Of the coming of the King
When the time arrived, on that blessed night
The angels began to sing

The shepherds were thrilled with the news that filled
The cold, crisp air that first Christmas
A Baby born to save the world
This suffering, Servant, witness

Behold the Lamb lying in a manger
Love incarnate
He comforts the lost stranger
Bethlehem's Savior

Ruler of every king
To Jew and Gentile freedom rings
He came to give us all we need
This Baby boy we worship

Emanuel, God with us
We live to honor You
You are the Life and the Way
And yes, You are the Truth

We worship You O God-Child
You soon will come again
In power and in glory
To judge the living and the dead

Help us to spread Your message far and wide
The true tale of Love personified
Teach us each to sincerely love
To view each one as God does

Let us worship the Lamb
Love incarnate
The Great I Am

Saturday, December 11, 2010

God Uses a Humble Servant

In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28

“I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

“This is the one I (the Lord) esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2 Parenthesis mine

“God opposes the proud but gives grace (favor) to the humble.” James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 Parenthesis mine

Our wonderful Messiah entered into this world through a humble servant. Mary received the word of the angel with meekness. Mary was not perfect, but her pure and lowly heart pleased God. Because she was humble, God found favor with her. He was able to use Mary in a most unusual and splendid way.

We too find favor with God, when we allow the Holy Spirit to work His humility within us. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit, and when we yield to the Lord in this way, He bestows on us His favor and His blessing. It is those that learn to be meek who bear the most fruit for the kingdom. We will never be perfect this side of heaven, but we can grow as servants of the King. As we do, God will entrust us with wonderful things.

Let's remember the little child who came to save us. He was meek and mild. Jesus, the Master, humbled himself even to the point of death, and then God exalted Him to the highest place. Yet in all his glory, Jesus still stoops down to pick us up when we fall and to wipe the tears from our eyes. The Sovereign Lord of the Universe is still meek and mild just as He was when He came as a baby.

This Christmas let's worship Jesus with a humble and pure heart. Let's remember the child who became King, and let's yield to Him and to His word. As we do, God will surely find favor with each of us.

Let me pray a Christmas prayer for you....

Dear Father God,

Thank you for my friends who read this blog. I know that the Christmas season can often be hectic and full of care. Dear Lord, I ask that you would bless my friends in a special way this season. Help them to pause to find your heart. Let them sense your peace. Enable them to reach out to others and carry the light of the Savior to them. Father, minister your grace to every heart. Bring healing to the sick and restoration to families that have seen difficulty. Thank you Lord for those that read this blog, may you find favor with each of them as they look to you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let Me Not Forget

Lord, let me not forget
How much she means to me
The day our eyes met
We glimpsed eternity

By her side I'm walking
At Your door I'm knocking
Strengthen, Lord, our holy bond

Forgive me for a heart sometimes divided
When I hold my dreams higher
Then the one You guided, me to

She has helped me see so many things
Things I could not perceive on my own
She gives me council, the kind that heaven brings
This wisdom I would not find alone

Even when the tempest rages
And we don't see eye to eye
Even there Your mercy changes
This unchanging heart of mine

I am a better man because of her
Lord, let me not forget how much she means to me
You cause my heart to stir
In remembrance of all she is to me

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Matthew 5:3

In our walk with Christ, the way we begin is the way we are to continue on. We entered into the kingdom by humbly receiving the Lord's sacrifice for our sins. We began with humility. We saw ourselves as sinners needing the hand of a merciful God. We are to continue in our walk with the Lord through an attitude of humility.

We are to see ourselves as poor spiritually apart from Christ. Without Him we can do nothing of eternal significance. The word humility comes from the root word “humus”. Humus is fertile soil. Adam was created from the earth by the hand of God. We are to remember our origin. All of us are made in the image of God, but we were originally made from the earth. We are vessels of clay who carry within us the glory of God.

We also receive God's word in the soil of our hearts. It is through humility that we receive the Lord's wisdom from the Scriptures. It is through a spirit of meekness that we see God's promises fulfilled in our lives.

Humility also displays itself in our relationships. When we allow the Holy Spirit to give us an attitude of humility, it will cause us to consider others as better than ourselves.

Let's humble ourselves before the Lord and each other. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and teach us to continue down His road of blessing by being poor in spirit.

Lord of Heaven,

Deliver us from pride, arrogance, and self promotion. Help us to cultivate a heart of humility. Let the fruit of Your Holy Spirit abide within us and fill us with Your meekness. Open our eyes to see who we are in You as well as who we would be without You. Let us live to bring You glory. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You

Two words that say so much
Thank You
For all He's done
For all He's yet to do
For the essence of His character

We are grateful to the One
Who first loved us
Who saved us from destruction
Who watches over each of us
With vigilance and care
Who forgives our every sin
And heals our diseases

We are grateful for
Loved ones and friends
Family near and far
All of God's blessings
Little and large
Seen and unseen

Lord we thank You
You are forever worthy of
Our praise and Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Longer From a Distance

When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. 2 Samuel 6:6-7

In the Old Testament, followers of Yahweh could not enter into the presence of God; they had to worship the Lord from a distance. When David was bringing the ark to Jerusalem, the priests placed it on a cart. The ark was the physical house of the Lord's presence, and the priests were instructed by the Lord to hold the ark of God with special poles. When the ark slipped, Uzzah lunged forward to catch it. The Lord then struck Uzzah down: he died instantly.

Christ's sacrifice on the cross forever changed the landscape of faith. When Jesus hung against the darkened sky and breathed his last, the veil of the temple tore in half. The temple veil provided a barrier between the worshipers and the holy of holies, where the ark was kept. No one was allowed to enter into the holy of holies except the the high priest, and he was only allowed to enter into this sacred place once a year. The priests even tied a rope to the high priest's ankle. If the high priest tried to approach the room where the ark lay without properly following the Old Testament laws pertaining to this annual encounter, he too would be killed in the presence of the Lord. But when the veil split in two, a new way was opened for those who put there faith in Christ.

Now we, who have been born again, can enter freely into God's presence by the blood of Christ. The ark of God no longer holds the presence of God here on earth. Instead, those of us who have entered into a relationship with the Father through Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in us. We are temples of the Holy Ghost. Now we can come boldly into the throne of grace to obtain favor and God's blessing. We no longer need to worship from afar. We can draw near to God. We can worship the Lord with passion and true intimacy.

Let's approach the Lord with reverence, awe, and full surrender. He is holy, but He is also loving. He is just, but He is also merciful. Let's bow before the One who made a way for us to come to Him. Let's kneel before the Father who sent His one and only Son to die in our place so that we could know Him intimately.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Grace - a foundation strong and stable
All that's profitable rests upon it

Faith in Christ's finished work
From this cruel cross blossoms grow
Like Aaron's rod
Its petals are life-giving

When we build upon a faulty foundation
When our works attempt to pave the way to God
We are unfulfilled

Our feverish efforts produce only death
It is by grace through faith that we are saved
It is by grace through faith by which we grow

We are like seeds underneath the Sun
Of His grace
The Holy Spirit waters us
His love attends to our every need

We are blessed when we choose the path
Of unmerited favor
All we have and all we are
And all we will become
Is a gift from our benevolent King

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Need Within

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13

One of man's greatest physical needs is to drink water. The human body cannot function without it. Our bodies are composed of 55-78 percent water, depending on our weight. When Jesus met the woman at the well, he asked her for a drink of water. But then Jesus offered her another kind of drink, namely eternal life.

Inside each of us is an empty void that we try to fill. It is a need within. Some of us attempt to satisfy our heart cry with material things. Others pursue pleasure. Some look to drugs, alcohol, and sex to fill their inner thirst. Some seek after relationships. Still others try to find contentment in various forms of religion, but wonder why their hearts do not find satisfaction.

Jesus offers us all living water to satisfy our souls. When we come to Him, we find all that we need. A relationship with Him meets all the deep needs of the heart. To come to Him, we must acknowledge our sinfulness and receive His gift of eternal life. He purchased our salvation by dying for us on the cross. We can come to Him and receive His complete forgiveness for our sins.

When we embrace Jesus, we enter into an eternal relationship with Him and with our Heavenly Father. This relationship is like water for our thirsty souls. When we come to Christ we find satisfaction within, and we inherit an eternal home in heaven. If you haven't come to the One who will bring you everlasting contentment and joy, then come and pray a prayer like the one below....

Dear Jesus,

I have tried to satisfy my need within by filling up on other things. Now, I realize that You are the One I desire. Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I ask you to forgive me of my sin. I thank you for helping me to begin a relationship with the Father. Thank You for Your gift of eternal life. Lord, I choose to folllow You all the days of my life. Amen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

God Answers Prayer

God answers prayer
Sometimes in a whisper
Sometimes with a shout

Sometimes in ways imagined
In ways specifically desired

At other times, His answer can try us
We may not always like the way He moves
But the Father has our best in mind
He fosters character within us

Yes, God answers prayer
Sometimes in a whirlwind
Sometimes in a wisp

He still heals the sick
And sets the captives free
He still forgives
And ransoms you and me

God answers our every prayer
Let's believe Him for the best
Let's set our sights high
God is faithful
He will cause us to be blessed
And to be a blessing

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hearing From God

(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) 1 Samuel 3:7

Samuel was a young boy serving under Eli, the high priest at the time. Samuel heard a voice calling out his name, while he was lying down. He immediately went to Eli and said, “Here I am, you called me.” Eli told Samuel that he did not speak to him and Samuel lied down again. This happened three times. After the third instance, Eli realized that God was speaking to the young boy. He said, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you , say, 'Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.'” Samuel obeyed, and this time, when the Lord spoke his name, Samuel replied as Eli instructed.

The Lord then revealed to him a word of judgment toward Eli, which included specific consequences that were to take place in the future. The Lord was angry with Eli for not restraining his unruly and wicked sons. Although Samuel was hesitant to relay the message to Eli, the high priest insisted that he recount the entire prophetic word to him. The pronouncement later came to pass and Samuel grew to be a great man of God.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon a few select people. God primarily anointed kings, prophets, and priests for service. In the New Testament, each born again believer has the Holy Spirit living in him or her, and each of us can hear His voice. As a young believer, I desired greatly to hear the voice of the Lord. It took time and effort to discern His voice in my life. I often made mistakes along the journey. Over time, and with the help of solid Biblical instruction, I discovered a few things about hearing from God....

  • God usually speaks in ways that are less dramatic
  • He normally communicates to His children in a still small voice or by a spiritual impression
  • He also gives us spiritual pictures or visions
  • His communication comes to us spontaneously, as we worshipfully look to the Lord
  • One important practice in receiving God's messages to us is to write down what we hear and see
  • Jesus always speaks to us in a loving way, even when He corrects us
  • The Holy Spirit will always agree with the written word of God
  • When we obey the Holy Spirit, it keeps us sensitive to His leading
  • When we consistently resist the Holy Spirit's promptings, we can grow deaf to his call
  • It is good to be accountable to a mature believer, while discerning God's voice, especially when making major decisions
  • After you have heard from God, check what you've heard or seen and make sure it lines up with Scripture

Much of what I've learned about hearing from God can be attributed to a book and course called Communion with God, written by Mark Virkler. I highly recommend this book! I am still on the journey to hear more and more clearly from the Lord, and I still make mistakes. But I have discovered that there is nothing more satisfying than drawing near to the Lord and allowing Him to speak to my heart. This is what intimacy with God is all about. His messages to us bring healing, encouragement, direction, and peace. I hope you will come along with me on this journey to hear and obey God's voice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen. Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail. I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain. (For congregational use, with a full orchestra.) Habbakuk 3:17-19 The Message

A man, woman, or child with eyes of faith see beyond what's before them. They look to the promises of God, even in the face of apparent lack. They have learned to praise God, when the days look dark and bleak. Praise is the language of strong belief.

We can praise Him for His promises, believing that He'll bring them to pass. When we worship God in the darkness, we invite the Lord to come and work on our behalf. The Scripture says that the Lord is enthroned on our praises. When we worship God in the midst of our trouble, the Lord sets up His throne in the middle of our chaos. He brings God's Rule on the scene. He restores, He heals, He provides, He comforts, and He minsters His grace to us.

Let's praise Jesus when things are going our way and when life is hard. Let's set our focus on the wonderful attributes of God and on the riches of His word. When we do, we will grow in intimacy with the One who made us and we will invite Him to work miracles in our lives. Let's learn to speak the language of praise. Let's put our trust in the God of Heaven. He will hear us, and He will help us in our time of need.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Our Time of Need

In the midst of trial
In the middle of the hurricane
There is a hand of Love that reaches down

Trusting hearts receive Him
Hope still reigns
In hearts that choose Him
Our prayers are heard on high

Jesus is the Good Shepherd
He prepares a table in the center of the wilderness
Grace abounds
Holy waters flow

Victory rises from the ashes
With resurrection power
Thank you Lord for Your overcoming Presence
Thank you for visiting us in our time of need

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Discovering Who We Are

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 Emphasis mine

In this world, we sometimes suffer through difficult days. It's at times like these that we need to discover God's perspective. It's during seasons of trial that we can draw near to the One who has chosen us. One of the ways we can find victory amidst negative circumstances is by focusing on who we are in Christ. God's word (especially in the New Testament epistles) has a great deal to say about how our Lord sees us.

The Scripture says that Jesus has already blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. All our needs are met in Him. When we abide in a loving relationship with God the Father, we do not lack anything. We can draw strength from the resources of heaven. We can come alive with the life of God that is already in us. The Lord will cause us to triumph if we'll put our trust in Him. If God has blessed us, and He has, we cannot fail.

This does not mean that we will float through life without experiencing trouble. No, the Lord will often allow us to go through difficulties, but He will also enable us to come out on the other side with a smile on our face and a spring in our step. When we meditate on who we are in Christ, we experience comfort and encouragement. When we speak out of our mouths the truths that God says about us, we find freedom and joy.

Often what we see in the word of God doesn't measure up to the picture we have of ourselves. But God's word is a mirror
(See James 1:22-25). The Bible shows us who we really are because of the blood of Christ. We truly are blessed even if we were laid off from work and we are struggling to find a job. We really are righteous
(See 2 Corinthians 5:21) even when we fall prey to some besetting sin. We are kings and priests (See 1 Peter 2:9) even when we feel defeated.

Jesus wants us to see ourselves from His perspective, He wants us to meditate on who we are in Christ, and He delights in us when we speak His word back to Him in thanksgiving for how He has remade us. Let's all search the Scriptures to find who we are in Christ. There are many treasures to uncover on the bottom of the ocean floor that is the word of God. We must be diligent to find them, and discoveries of this kind are more precious than a multitude of diamonds.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gentle Nudges

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

Today, I parked my car at my home on cold, early autumn day. There was nothing special about the day. My neighbor sat in his garage with his son. This too is rather ordinary. Chris and his family often spend time in their renovated garage that is attached to their house. Chris watched his son play, while I pulled in my driveway. Again, all this is rather uneventful, except for one thing....

As I glanced at my neighbors, I felt a certain stirring down in my heart. I could not mistake it; it was the gentle, but persistent nudging of the Holy Spirit. The Lord wanted me to witness to my neighbor about the goodness of God. At first I felt a little awkward. I had witnessed to him on one occasion, but no apparent fruit came of it. I pulled out a tract that I had written. I like to pass them out to waiters and grocery clerks. I simply let them know I'd like to give them something I have written as an encouragement to them. Most of these people thank me and receive the piece of paper, though occasionally a person will refuse to take it from me.

You might think that it would be easy to talk to my neighbor. After all I actively share my faith on a regular basis - at least with a tract in hand. However, I am not an extrovert, and at times I have to fight my fears. But I obediently walked over to my neighbor and asked him if I could give him the tract. I told him that I wrote it and I explained that God had made a difference in my life, my wife's life, and in the lives of many people I know. I shared with him that serving the Lord is not about obeying a set of rules. Instead, God is looking to have a relationship with us. I also explained that the Lord can help him with his marriage, in raising his children, and in every part of his life.

Chris thanked me and said he would read the tract. I said, “If you every have any questions about these kind of things, please let me know.” That ended our brief encounter. Now I will continue to pray for my friend and look for ways to intentionally engage him further in conversation, if he is open.

This all came about as I listened to the Holy Spirit's gentle stirrings. Those of us who know the Savior are called sons of God. We are all able to be led by the Spirit. Let's stay sensitive. God is not looking for spiritual giants; He is searching for ordinary people with hearts and lives that are available to His call. If we will take the time to listen, there's no telling what God will use us to do for His glory.

Dear Lord,

Help me to be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit's voice. Help me not to crowd Him out with busyness and my own desires. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. Give me ears to hear You and eyes to see You, and Lord please give me a heart to obey Your gentle promptings so You can use me to reach a world that needs You so desperately.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the Prodigal

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12

It doesn't matter how many times you've fallen into that same sin. It doesn't matter what you've done or how far you've run from home. God your gracious Father is waiting for you. He is ready to embrace you – to forgive you of all your sin.

You weren't made to carry that heavy load of guilt and pain. The Lord wants to invade your life with kindness. He wants to shower you in mercy. If you are His prodigal child, won't you come home? Your Father will restore you to your rightful place in Christ. Don't you know that Jesus blood has paid for your complete forgiveness?
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (italics mine).”

God's love for you is unwavering, relentless, extravagant. He would do anything to bring you back. The Scripture says that God is married to the backslider. He has not given up on you. Why don't you turn your eyes to Jesus and pray with tears of repentance. God will forgive you. He still has awesome plans for your life. If you turn to Him, you'll find your future is as bright as the noonday sun.

Dear Father God,

I am sorry for turning my back on You. I'm sorry for allowing myself to drift so far away from home. Lord, please forgive me. Please take me back. I receive Your forgiveness. I receive Your mercy. I choose to follow You once again with your help and the help of the body of Christ. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Laying Our Desires on the Alter

“Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

Abraham and Sarah had a strong desire for a son. But there was one problem, both Abraham and Sarah had advanced beyond the normal age for procreation. However, God promised Abraham that he would have a son. The Lord even called him a father of many nations. After many years, the day did come when the beloved promise came to pass. They named their son Isaac, and all was well in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.

Then one day God spoke to Abraham and told him to take his son Isaac to the top of a mountain in the land of Moriah, and offer him as a burnt offering to the Lord. Abraham obeyed believing God could restore the life of his son.

When Abraham reached the top of the mountain he bound up his son and laid him upon an alter. When he raised a knife to kill Isaac, God spoke. “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son.”
In this true story, God tested Abraham, and Abraham passed the test. His desire to obey God was greater than his love for his child. He is called in the Scriptures the father of faith and a friend of God. When we have dreams and desires that we believe are from the Lord, it is natural and fitting for us to ask God to give us those things. Perhaps you have your heart set on serving in a particular vocation or maybe you are asking the Lord to heal you physically.

God does not always give us what we want right away. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years before Isaac came along. There are also times when what we desire is not the ultimate best for us according to God's will. Jesus prayed, “Father if it is Your will take this cup away from me...” Christ was talking to the Father about going to the cross. Even though Jesus asked for another way, the Father led Him to His death upon the cross.

We must be willing to place our dreams and desires on the alter. Sometimes God will give us those things and sometimes He does not. It is at these times when we must bow before the Sovereign will of our Maker knowing that He sees everything and He knows what is ultimately the best for our lives. Whatever He decides, we must always strive to place our love for and obedience to God above our desire for other things no matter how noble they may seem. It is important that we not let the thing we long for to become an idol in our hearts. When we surrender these desires to the Lord, He will bless us and give us His peace.

There is a time to lay hold of God's promises with unwavering faith, and there is a time to surrender to God's perfect will. Our trust is to be in the faithful character of our loving Heavenly Father. He will always take good care of us; He always has our best interests at heart.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for Your many promises to me. Lord, I ask that You would move in my life and do great things. Help me to always keep my love for you above any other desire I have. If there are any idols in my heart, Lord, please show me. I surrender all I am to You. Have Your way in me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 6, 2010

You Will Receive Power

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The early disciples were clothed in God's power. That power gave them the ability to effectively communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. God confirmed their words with signs and wonders. The Holy Spirit accompanied the message so that those that heard it were convicted of their sin and turned their hearts and lives to the Lord.

We need this same power. It is the power that came at Pentecost, when the followers of Jesus waited in the upper room to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This same power is available to us today. It is not the power to control others, but to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. As we turn our hearts toward Christ and ask Him to baptize us in the Holy Spirit, He will. He will anoint us to minister to others.

With the infilling of the Spirit come the gifts of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12 and 14) . These gifts help us to more effectively minister to those within the body of Christ and to those without. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we receive a greater sensitivity to hear the Lord's voice. God can give us the words to say to those in darkness, and those words have divine influence to draw the lost to the Savior.

We do not need greater programs to grow our churches; we need our people to be yielded to the Spirit and willing and obedient to carry out the great commission. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can effectively reach others with the word of God.

Dear Lord,

Help us, the body of Christ, to depend upon your Spirit. Help us to seek You for a fresh infilling of Your power and love. Let us not desire an experience. Instead, equip us to go and tell Your story to those that haven't heard. Forgive us Lord for relying on our own understanding in the way we reach out to others. Help us to seek Your face and effectively minister Your gospel to those that don't know You. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I've been made righteous
Yet still I sin
I am more than a conqueror
Yet sometimes I have fear within
I am justified through Your blood
Yet I am still a sinner
For Paul called himself the chief of sinners
Even though he was redeemed

You make me bold and strong
Yet in weakness I depend upon You Lord
I praise You Lord for using me
To bring Your word to others
Yet I too desperately need You

You help me stand
Yet many times I fall
Thank You Jesus for being my best friend
Even though, sometimes, through my actions
I treat You as an enemy

Thank You Lord for saving me
For securing for me a home in heaven
Even though, in my walk, I have not yet arrived

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Right with God

For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Romans 3:19

Those of us that have received Christ as our Lord and Savior have also received His righteousness. We have been made right with God. We are made in right-standing with the Father. What a glorious truth. Knowing who we are in Christ boosts our confidence. It enables us to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We no longer have to live beaten down with the heavy burden of sin weighing on our shoulders. Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ. When we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God is for us; He is not against us. He has made a way through the cross to bring us victory.

Now that we have been made righteous, we can come boldly to the throne of grace. We can bring our requests to the Father in confidence knowing that He will hear our prayer. God loves us so very much.

Let's meditate on Scriptures that declare who we are in Jesus. When we do, God's strength will accompany us. And when we do, we will overflow with thanksgiving for what our Lord has done for us. Thank you Jesus for making us righteous through Your death, burial, and resurrection.

Dear Father God,

We ask that You give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation knowledge of You. We ask that You would enlighten our hearts so that we can truly comprehend all that You have done for us. Thank you Father for sending Jesus to die for us. Thank You Jesus for becoming sin so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Christ (1 Corinthians 5:21). In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Will Praise You

Because of Your grace
I will praise You
While I seek Your unseen face
I will praise You
Because You took my place
I will praise You

When I'd rather complain
I will praise You
When You cleanse my sin-stains
I will praise You
As I give You the reigns
I will praise You

When I'm feeling blue
I will praise You
When I behold Your truth
I will praise You
When trouble brews
I will praise You
When I haven't a clue
I will praise You

When I finally come home
I will praise You
Kneeling with the saints around Your throne
Worshipping You alone
Forever we will praise You

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mercy and Truth

Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Psalm 85:10 NKJV

Mercy apart from truth breeds compromise. Truth without mercy cuts to pieces. God blends the two in sweet harmonies. We are to love our world with the love birthed by the Holy Spirit tempered by the boundaries of truth. God will help us to offer truth to others with love as our motive and mercy as our serving plate. We can find balance as we obey the word of God with a heart of compassion.

When we come across individuals who rebel against the truth, our first reaction should not be to beat them with the Bible. Instead, we must remember that we once were enemies of God. Humility teaches us to speak the truth in love. Maybe the first thing we should do is to pray for such an individual. Time spent on our knees will help us to minister in mercy.

On the other hand, if we are afraid to speak words of wisdom to our friend, if we choose to sympathize with their predicament without influencing them towards the way, we will soon slide into the mirk and mire.

Let's choose to allow mercy and truth to meet together within us. Then we will walk in righteousness and we will allow God's peace to have its way in our hearts and lives.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In Your Presence

In Your presence
I'm sheltered beneath Your wings
I've found a fountain of life, a wellspring

In Your presence
There is joy overflowing
And peace passing all understanding

In Your presence
I am made whole
Found a balm for my soul

In Your presence
I have faith overcoming
Victory unyielding

I sit at Your feet
You make me complete
In Your presence

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spirit Like a Dove

Spirit like a dove
Descend upon us
Undeserving recipients are we
Yet fill us with Your glory

Gentle Spirit teach us to pray
Empower us to serve
Give us words to say

Mighty Spirit embolden Your people
Strengthen us in Your power
Stretch forth Your hand
Perform Your awesome deeds

Spirit like a dove
Make Your home within us
Help us to intimately know You
Lord, we extol You
Have Your way in us

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Praise Report

I want to thank those that prayed for my mom. She is doing well. The surgeon is confident that she has removed all the cancer, and my mom is recovering well. Please pray that she experiences a supernaturally quick recovery. Also please continue to pray for the salvation of my family. Thank you. Those that desire to leave comments on my blog are welcome to include prayer requests of their own.



Our Helper in Prayer

Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He inspires us; He motivates us to follow after the Lord in a particular direction. One of the ways the Spirit helps us in in our prayer life. The Lord wants us to seek after Him in prayer, and when we pray, the Holy Spirit is there to give us the words to say. He wants to empower us to intercede. Whether we have the gift of tongues or not, the Holy Spirit lives within us, and as we allow Him, He desires to pray through us.

The Lord will give us specific scriptures to pray over specific situations. He will speak to our hearts directing us how to pray for individuals, cities, and nations. The Lord wants to fill us with His compassion. Our prayers can be ignited by God's love and faith, and we can see results. As we pray God's will for others, we will see God at work among us. Let's pray with faithfulness and fervency. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to guide us when we pray. Then as He moves in our midst, He will receive all the glory.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Don't Let the Dream Die

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity." Jeremiah 29:11-14

God has a specific calling for all of us. He desires to place a dream within each of our hearts - a dream only He can bring to pass. We were born to soar with the eagles, but many of us have been injured in the rough and tumble of life. Some of us no longer fly over life's obstacles. Instead, we have allowed our hearts to be trampled on by temptations, tests, and trials. If we are not careful, we can also allow the negative words of others to destroy the dreams and ambitions God has for us.

God desires to release us from captivity. When we allow people's words to hurt us, and when we let the trials of life run roughshod over us, we do not experience God's victory. The Lord wants to free us from all oppression and cause us to soar over life's difficulties, as we pursue the Lord's dream for our lives.

Our Father God loves us. The plans He has for us are designed for our good and for the benefit of the kingdom. Let's seek the Lord with all our hearts. Let's allow Him to reveal and affirm the plans He has for us. Let's ask Him to heal our hearts from any past hurts. If He shows us that we have harbored unforgiveness in our hearts toward someone, let's forgive that one and receive emotional healing from the hand of our loving Lord.

Don't let God's dream for your life die within you. Nurture it. Run after it. The Lord wants you to know that He has anointed you. He has gifted you to serve Him in a special way. God wants you to discover your calling and then pursue it for His glory. He can use you to touch many lives if you will allow Him to work through you. He will cause you to soar on the winds of the Spirit. He will enable you to make a difference in the lives of others as you pursue your God-given dream(s).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30

Lord, You're coming again. With speed and stealth You will take us all by surprise. Like a thief in the night You'll arrive on the scene. Lord, may You find us faithful. How I often long for that day. The day when You come to take us home. Those that know You will see you face to face and we shall be like You. Thank You for that promise. Thank you that You have prepared a place for us.

Help us to reach out to those that do not yet know You. Help us to evangelize. They are lost apart from You. Jesus, open the eyes of their hearts, and give us boldness to proclaim Your good news.

Lord, please come soon. But in the waiting help us to be patient and enable us to productively work for the furtherance of Your kingdom. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!

A Prayer Request

I'd like to request the prayers of those who read my blog. My mom just underwent surgery for breast cancer. The surgeon was hopeful that she removed all the cancer, but when the pathology report came back it showed there was a small area that still needed attention. Please pray for my mom's complete healing. God can do wonders and he often works through doctors. Please pray that God will give wisdom and skill to the doctors and that the Lord would heal my mom directly through the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, I would like to ask you to pray for my family that they would embrace Christianity. Thank you for your prayers. God says in His word that the prayers of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful and effective.


Tom Toya

Friday, July 23, 2010


You spoke the word
And healing came
With a touch of your hand
The leper was made whole
By the power of the Holy Spirit
Multitudes were cured

Your disciples released their faith
The lame walked
The diseased received perfect health

Today's church can also see miracles
For God still heals
Signs and wonders testify of the One
Who restores the sick
And transforms twisted souls

Let us pray boldly to the Father
He desires to amaze us

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Morning Watch

Life streams by like fireflies in the wind
I hear the echoes of those that call for my attention
My cell phone rings and rings
And emails pile like Mount Everest
Busyness seeks to snuff out my candle

But I find refuge under the shadow of Your wings
In the quiet, I am refreshed
New strength pulsates within me
The morning watch is where we meet
I bow in peace before Your beautiful feet
And You satisfy my every need

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Was Wrong

He who heeds discipline, shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17

The past couple of days I have been running on fumes. I had to wake up early two days ago to bring my brother to the airport, and then that night I went to bed later than usual. This was unwise of me, and because I was sleep deprived my mood was affected. I became cranky and irritable. Instead of resisting these negative emotions, I let them surface and I acted rudely to my wife and her cousin. My wife, Lou, confronted me about it and at first I was defensive, but soon I realized I was wrong. I then apologized to Lou and Lynette.

In this instance, I heeded discipline. This brought me back on track. Our response to rebuke can influence others as well. The Scripture says that when we listen to correction we show others the way to life, and when we ignore discipline, we lead others astray.

All of us fall at times. We all sin. The important thing is that we learn to bounce back. This means we will have to confess our sin to the Lord, and in many cases it will mean that we have to apologize to those who were involved.

When God corrects us - either directly or through a person - let's be quick to repent. God will forgive us. When we learn to humble ourselves in this way, we point others toward our Heavenly Father's way of doing things. When we turn back to the Lord, we can once again enjoy sweet fellowship with Him, and, if needed, God can bring us back into harmony with others.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Abba Father

My wife and I do not have children. But we do have a precious little dog named Muy-Muy. He is an eight and a half month old Maltese, known to be the smartest breed of small dogs. Muy-Muy loves to play. Sometimes my wife and I will get on our hands and feet and crawl on the carpeting. Our seven pound white fur ball then races around the room sailing between our legs while barking. He also loves to cuddle and most every night he sleeps with us in our bed. Muy-Muy often follows us around the house, while we go about our day.

We can't leave him for long periods of time because he gets lonely. When he sees us after being away for an hour or two, he licks our faces with excitement and jolts back and forth. I have come to see that our little puppy is very much dependent upon us not only for his survival, but for his emotional well being.

Similarly, God wants us to be dependent upon Him. Like children who look to their parents, we are to look to our Heavenly Father. He is the wellspring where we find all that matters. He is our source of joy, freedom, significance, sustenance, and love.

Thankfully, all is not serious business with God; He too wants to play with us. He enjoys our company; He relishes in our fellowship with Him.

When we are away from Him, we should long to be with the Lord. A desire to spend time with our Master should well up within us.

Those who have not had a positive father figure in their life may find it harder to embrace our Father God. But our Lord wants to reveal Himself to all His children as the one who will wipe away every tear and who will mentor us, enabling us to be all that we can be for Him. He is Abba, which means Daddy God. This is what Jesus called Him and we can find the freedom to do the same.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Angel

Your love is as beautiful as a rose
Sweetness flowing from a gentle heart

You look for ways to bless me
Though I do not deserve your kindness

You're honest through and through
You always let me know how you feel

Sometimes we disagree
And tempers rise
But we always find our way
Back into each other's arms

The Lord is the Shepherd of our union
He brought us together
He is the One who keeps us as one

Today we celebrate our Anniversary
Eight years of marriage
I'm a better man because of you

I love you
My Angel

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our God is Faithful

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:19-21

When a man or woman makes a promise, it is the character of that individual that determines if they can be trusted to keep their word. If we are flippant in making commitments, we will disappoint others often, because we will find it hard to do what we said we would do. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.” But what about God, can He be trusted?

After the fall God made a promise. He said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This was fulfilled when Jesus died and rose again for all of us. It was on the cross that He defeated the enemy. God kept his word. There are numerous other prophesies found in the Bible that the Lord has fulfilled. And there are others that Christians believe will come to pass in the future. God has shown that He fulfills His promises over time.

The Scripture says that Great is His faithfulness. Our Father is full of mercy and truth, and Christ is called the way, the truth, and the life. God cannot lie. He is the solid rock that we can build our lives upon. He never makes a casual promise. No, He will see His word come to pass. As we cooperate with Him, He will prove faithful to His word. If we will trust Him and learn to be patient, we will see the Lord perform many wonders.

This does not mean God will do anything we ask Him to. He is sovereign, and He knows what is best for His children. He will only give to us what He has clearly promised. In His time, He will bring His will for us to pass. We can trust our Lord completely. We can believe Him for great things knowing that He will always give us all we need.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for Your faithfulness to me. I choose to believe your promises. I know You will only give what is best for me and what brings you the greatest glory. Lord, I choose to stand upon Your word. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Song

Sing to Him a new song
Let His praises fill the earth
Sing to Him a new song
As partakers of new birth

He alone is holy
He is worthy of our praise
Altogether holy
Let's lift up His matchless name

We will worship the Lamb
Glorify the Great I Am
We will lift high the cross
Bring the gospel to the lost

He is worthy
Worthy of our praise
He is holy
The Truth, the Life, the only Way

We exalt You
Magnify You
We surrender all
You're our Friend and Mighty Father
We will answer Your holy call

Sing to Him a new song
Let His praise ring all life long
Celebrate the King of Kings
He's our God, our everything
Sing to Him a new song

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Committed to Our Success

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Salvation, like being born, is a one-time event in the life of every believer, but sanctification is a lifelong process. When we accept Christ's forgiveness for our sins, we enter into God's family. We all begin this journey as spiritual infants, and we need the Lord to help us grow. Sanctification is the term used to describe this maturing process.

God promises to work alongside us, enabling us to mature as His children. He is committed to our success. As co-laborers with the Lord, we are to work out the salvation that He has already placed within us. He assures us that He will work with us to bring us to spiritual completion. While we are alive here on earth, we are to grow from glory to glory. Even so, we will never reach the apex of spiritual maturity in this life, but when we enter heaven's gates, we will finally be like Jesus.

When we struggle with sinful habits or negative emotions, we can run to the Lord, who is always willing to help us. He began a good work in us, and we can be confident that He will strengthen us and give us all we need to overcome our many imperfections. It is comforting to know that the God of the Universe is intimately acquainted with us. He does not want us to despair in the face of our failures. Instead, He desires to love us into victory.

Let's surrender our lives afresh to the Lord and allow Him to continue to sanctify us by His grace. We are like clay in the hand of the Potter. He is molding us and making us more like Himself. Praise the Lord! Jesus loves us far too much to leave us the way we are.

Potter of my soul,

Come and make me whole. Breathe your breath in me. Make me more like Thee. Mold this heart of clay. Help me go your way. As I behold Your face, change me by your grace. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mercy Reaches

Mercy reaches down
Nail-pierced hands
Touch this prodigal town

Its people drown in sin's tempestuous wake
Engaging evil when eternity's at stake
But God hears the cry deep inside the heart
For another way, for the sea to part

Mercy's hands extend
He longs to put the suffering to an end
A pounding on the doors of hearts is heard
Invite Christ in and victory is sure

Can Mercy change this wayward city?
Yes, if prayerful hearts beseech Thee
Lord of Lords
Yes, if willing feet will greet thee
Folks who mourn

Yes, if loving words be spoken
Then sin's cycle can be broken

Mercy reaches down with nail-pierced hands
Saviour save our sin-stained land

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something to Think and Act Upon

Have you ever wondered if there was more to this life than what you've experienced? Are we just destined to grow up, meet someone, and live out our days pursuing a dream of our choosing? What about after we die – is there life beyond the grave?

The Bible has many things to say about the reason for our existence. Jesus Christ, who many consider as being the most influential person in history, told us that there is life after death. He spoke of a place called heaven, where everyone who puts their trust in Him will go when they die. It is a place of peace, joy and love. It is also a place of great beauty. Jesus said that He was the way, the truth, and the life. He said that no one could come to God without placing their trust in Him (John 14:6).

God desires to have a relationship with every one of us. The Scripture says that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Though we may not realize it, we are separated from God because of our disobedience. God is holy and we are not, and we desperately need His forgiveness.

This is why Jesus died on the cross. He, who knew no sin, died for the sins of the whole world to make us right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then He rose from the dead. He truly is alive and He has power to change our lives.

Jesus wants to save us from hell and take us to heaven. He desires to give us a new life here on earth. When we ask Jesus to forgive us for our sins and when we surrender to His Lordship, we find great freedom and we begin a wonderful relationship with God the Father, who loves us.
When a person lives for God, he or she finds a great sense of significance and purpose. This person understands that they have a destiny to fulfill. When an individual chooses to serve the Lord, they find joy, contentment, peace, and unconditional love.

Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble, but He also said to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Life here on earth can be confusing and difficult, but as we draw near to Jesus, we find that He helps us in every circumstance. The Lord is faithful to His own. He will give us His peace and comfort, and He will ultimately bring victory out of our defeat.
You may have read literature like this before. And it may be your tendency to want to disregard what you are reading. Let me ask you to reconsider. Perhaps you don't believe that Jesus is who He said He was, but have you ever taken the time to read what He said? I would encourage you to read through the gospel of John. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. He will if you sincerely want to know Him.

If you are ready to ask Christ into your life, then pray the prayer on the following page. It is not some magical mantra. It is a simple prayer, where you can invite Christ to be your Lord and Savior.

Dear God,

I realize that I'm a sinner. I am sorry for my disobedience to You. I thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I ask You to forgive me. Jesus, I believe that You rose from the dead and I choose to follow You all the days of my life. I declare that You are my Lord and Savior. I thank You that I have a home in heaven. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

If you prayed this prayer from your heart, know that you are now a member of God's family. Here is a list of things that will help you to get started in your new relationship with Christ.

Read the Bible – Start in the New Testament.
Pray – Prayer is talking and listening to God. Thank Him for His blessings and ask Him to work in Your life and in the lives of others.
When you fall, know that if you ask for forgiveness, God will forgive you (1 John 1:9).
Go to church regularly – Find a congregation where the Bible is taught in a clear and compassionate way.
Tell others of your newfound faith in Christ – Make it your aim to faithfully tell others about the Lord.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fishers of Men

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20

What would you do if Christ spoke to you and told you leave your life's pursuit and follow Him? Would you go if He sent you to a foreign nation? Would you alter the course of your life to meet His command or would you pretend you didn't hear?

Peter and his brother Andrew were faced with such a decision. Jesus asked them to leave their fishing business and follow after Him. Their obedience was radical – they dropped their nets and became disciples of the Lord.

Though not all of us are called to full-time ministry, each of us have been commissioned by the Master to win men, women, and children to the Lord. The Father desires for us to be open to the Spirit's call to go and make disciples. We are to have a radical obedience that propels us to reach out to those in darkness. We each have been given different gifts, talents, abilities, and personalities. If we seek to follow the Master, He will show us how we can do our part to influence others for the kingdom.

It all starts with a change of focus. We must be intentional about seeing others come to know Jesus. Evangelism must become a consuming priority in our lives. As we pray for those that do not know the Lord and as we reach out to them, God will use us. He will make us fishers of men. We do not have to be full-time ministers for God to effectively use us. No, we can be ministers for God no matter our vocation in life. Have you heard the Spirit's call? If so, what will you now do about it?

Dear Master,

I know You are calling me to reach out to the unsaved. Open my eyes to see who I can minister to. Reveal to me the unique gifts I have, and show me how to influence others for Christ. Lord, I choose to obey You. Help me to make evangelism an integral part of my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Before Every Fall

“But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys.” Daniel 6:20-21

Pride always comes before a fall. We must guard ourselves against this evil. Remember that Satan before his act of rebellion was a beautiful creation of God, who led the angels in worship to the Lord of Heaven. But then pride was found in him and he was cast down to the earth. He became an evil serpent - the adversary of our souls.

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon began to attribute his glorious success to his own achievements. He became proud in his heart and did not glorify the Lord. God made him like a beast. His hair and his nails grew long and he crawled on all fours. It was only after He humbled himself before the Lord that He was restored to his senses. God then also restored to him his kingdom.

When we fall into pride, we become subject to the base elements of our nature. We are fallen beings that can only follow God as we walk in the Spirit. Pride rebels against the Holy Spirit. When we follow after pride, we open ourselves to all the works of the flesh. Instead of mirroring our Maker, we take on the attributes of the devil.

Our only hope is to humble ourselves before the Lord. He will meet us with mercy. He will restore our standing before Him. Pride is an ugly abomination to the Lord. We all, at times, are guilty of it. Let's learn to be meek and quiet in spirit. Let's acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. As we do, we will draw near to the only One who can keep us from falling.

Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth,

I acknowledge that You alone are King. Left alone I am wretched and prone to sin, but I submit to You. Thank You for enabling me to follow You. I give You all the glory and all the praise for what You have done and what You will do in my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Prayer of Surrender

Dear Lord,

I have harbored a dream. Now lodged deep within a chasm in my soul. Many years have washed over this stone now smooth to the touch. Where their once was an aching cry for You to move, now there is a silence. Yielded to You I come. I surrender my hopes to You Lord. Only You can resurrect these bones. For You are the breath of life.

Have Your perfect way in me. In the beginning, I had a vision of what I wanted to do for You. Now I want You to have Your way. Let it be Your dream that I pursue. I give you the rights to my life. Lord I give You my destiny. You now are seated on the throne of my heart.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Divine Surgeon

The doctor listens
Thump thump
With his ear he examines
The heart in motion

Other tests reveal
The condition of the organ
The physician determines the diagnosis

The man lies flat on his back
Fast asleep
A surgeon cuts deep into the patient's flesh
Skillful hands bring a cure

God sees our heart
He perceives the complexities
Of our nature
And judges our thoughts and intentions

Sharper than a scalpel
His word cuts away those things that harm us
So we can bear more fruit

The Father loves us
Like the physician He is concerned about our complete well being
He desires only what's best for us
The same hands that cut away sin administer healing

In the presence of the Holy One
We are made a little more like our Maker
Becoming holy as He is holy

Who are we to resist
The hands of the Divine Surgeon

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The Lord said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

The young woman brushes her hair after trying on three different outfits. She glances at her watch and realizes she needs to leave in ten minutes to make it to her first job interview. She grabs her cell phone and thinks of dialing the secretary at the office where she has the appointment. It would be easy to cancel. She could simply say that she had a family emergency. But she wipes the sweat from her forehead, grabs her keys and her portfolio, and closes the door behind her.

Our lives are filled with many challenges – it takes courage to face them. We must be brave to become the winners that God intended us to be. Whether it's learning a new skill at work, telling a friend about Jesus, or confronting someone who needs to hear the truth, it takes courage to meet these challenges head on.

Courage is more an act of obedience than it is a feeling. That girl who left for the interview was courageous even if her stomach churned and her heart raced throughout the entire meeting. She chose to make the attempt instead of canceling. Almost every time I have shared the gospel with someone I've had to fight fear. But every time I've opened my mouth, God has been faithful to give me the words to say. And every time I've been obedient to God in this regard, I have had the satisfaction of knowing I did my part to help someone get acquainted with Jesus.

But there have been many times when I allowed fear to get the better of me. When this happens, I run to the Savior. He is quick to forgive me, as I repent for my disobedience. Are you walking in the courage of the Lord? He stands with you to give you His strength. We must learn to put His armor on and fight the giants. Let's be men and women of courage. When we do, we are reflecting the One who willingly died in our place.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for making me strong and of good courage. I choose to resist fear and follow You wherever you lead me. In Jesus name I command fear to leave my life, and I commit to be strong in You Lord and in the power of Your might. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Gift of Joy

The gift of joy
It's offered to those
With a servant's heart

It bubbles over when we
Love the unlovely
Choose righteously

When we say no
To ungodliness
Joy becomes our friend

When we fellowship
With the Holy Spirit
Joy is in our midst
When we smile
He smiles in return

The joy of the Lord is our strength
We become overcomers
When we praise our King
With all we are

We shine like beacons
In a world where empty smiles flood the streets
God beckons us to tell the story
To spread the joy

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Joyful Expectancy

Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain! Habakkuk 3:17-19 The Message

Faith lays hold of things unseen. It rejoices in the face of lack and hard times. Faith lays claim to God's promises. A person of faith will believe the Lord for great things, even when the fields are barren and the earth is void of rain.

We must act on our faith. James said faith without works is dead. So if we believe that God is going to bless the work of our hands, we must work diligently. If we believe God's promises concerning victory over sin, we must exert every effort to resist temptation, while we trust the Lord for His grace. If we ask the Lord to heal us of sickness or disease, we must thank Him and praise Him for our healing.

Let's be men and woman of faith. As we spend time meditating on God's word, our faith will rise, and as we stand upon the promises of God, our Lord will be faithful to answer our petitions.
He requires that we live our lives sold out to Him. As we seek Him first and strive to live upright, He will see to it that all our needs our met. We cannot earn His blessings, they are freely given by His generous hand as we walk by faith, but God requires that we put Him first in our lives.

The Lord would say to us, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Let's believe the Lord for great things – for ourselves and for the kingdom of God. After we've made our requests to God, there may be a delay before the answer comes, but we can stand and sing as we look to the Lord with joyful expectancy.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for your precious promises to me. I choose to believe Your word. I will rejoice, even when it looks as though You have not answered me. I will act like Your word is true. I believe I will receive what I ask of You for You are a faithful God. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heaven Sent

This fruit is not forbidden
If we wait until the suitable time

God wants us to experience this pleasure
In the proper context

But some dive right in and partake
They feast on delicacies outside the covenant
The world spins inside their heads for they are drunk
Mesmerized by evil
Their eyes and their bodies commit the sin

Yet God extends His forgiving hand
To those who've gone their own way
He desires to restore them
To set each one back on the right path
His blood can bring about a full cleansing

Sex is a wonderfully good thing
If experienced within the safety of marriage
This intimacy mirrors the oneness we have with Christ

Sex inside the marriage circle
Of man and women
Is heaven sent

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No More Worry

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear... Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25, 27

The attentive seaman exercises every effort to ensure his ship does not crash into icebergs, while sailing through frigid waters. One encounter with one of these could quickly cause water to engulf the hull of the ship and soon submerge the vessel. Even a small tear in the body of the ship could eventually cause it to sink.

One small tear in our spiritual lives can cause us to be emptied of the Holy Spirit's control. Worry works like this. It is detrimental to our relationship with Christ. Like cancer, it chokes the life of God within us. The Greek word for worry is “merimnao”. It simply means to divide. When we become anxious we think on more than one thing. Part of us may still trust God, while part of us believes that our circumstances will win out in the end. This division causes us to sink spiritually. James said that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways (See James 1:5-8).

When we worry, we see God as smaller than He really is. Our vision becomes impaired and this affects our perception of reality.

The antidote to the sinful habit of worry is found in Philippians 4, where it states: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. One by one, we are to bring each worry to the Father. We surrender our cares to Him and thank Him for taking care of us. Then we can experience His wonderful peace.

God wants to restore our sight. He desires to make us one with Him – He does not want us to be divided any longer. If worries are choking out the life of God in you, if you are sinking like the Titanic, draw near to the Lord. His caring arms will lift you up as you surrender each anxiety to Him. He is more than able to take care of every detail in your life. God's precious peace awaits you.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for Your great love for me. Please show me any areas in my life where I am not trusting You completely. I do not want to be guilty of the sin of worry. I cast all my cares upon You for You care for me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 7, 2010


The stone sinks deep into the water
Ripples radiate
Circles multiply

One act of love prompted by the Spirit
Is far reaching
It touches many lives

If we will take the time
To lend a hand
To speak a word in season
We will make a difference

Mercy's impact is only a stone's throw away

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Believe and Speak

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak. 2 Corinthians 4:13

If you have placed your trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). God has made you brand new on the inside. Did you know that He calls you righteous? The word even says that you are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you (Romans 8:37). It's important that we remember how God sees us in the light of our redemption. As we bring to remembrance the many positive things God's word says about us, it's important that we cultivate the practice of speaking out these things in declaration over our own lives.

When we speak out loud affirming Scriptures, we grow in confidence. This helps us to succeed in all of life. It also enables us to accomplish God's will for our lives. Let's believe the encouraging words we read about ourselves in the Bible, and then let's declare these words over our lives. Let's face it if we wait for someone else to encourage us, we may be waiting a long time.

Let's be like David who returned to Ziklag only to find the city burned with fire and he and his men's wives and children missing. David's troops were ready to stone him, when David remembered the covenant He had with God and then encouraged himself in the Lord. David led his men to defeat the Amalekites and they recovered all including their loved ones. The Scripture even says that David obtained a great spoil from the battle.

Others may be saying negative things about us, but we have the power to rise up and declare the good things of God over our lives. By doing this we can recover all that the enemy has stolen from us. Let's cultivate a healthy confidence by believing and speaking what God says about us. By doing this we position ourselves for victory.

Dear Lord of Glory,

I believe that I have been made righteous through Your sacrifice. I believe that I am more than a conqueror because You died and rose again. I choose to remember all of the positive things you say about me, especially when I am feeling down. Thank you Lord for your great love for me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Holy Organism

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they formed one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13

We are a body of believers – a holy organism. We flourish when we make fellowship with one another a priority. A Christian individual isolated from other believers will begin to diminish spiritually. It's the hot coal separated from the others that grows cold. Similarly, God made us to grow in an atmosphere of community – without this “connectedness” our light can quickly grow dim.

Each person in Christ's body has been gifted differently. We have been anointed to minister to one another and to the world. Some of us are called and enabled to encourage. Some are keenly sensitive to the Spirit's voice and serve with the gift of prophecy. This gift like all the others must function under the authority of godly leadership. Others have a compassionate heart and find ways to extend mercy to the least of these. No matter who you are, if you are a believer, you have been gifted by God to minister. The Lord wants us to use our gifts in the context of the local church. He also wants us to reach out to the unsaved using our God-given talents.

God wants us to spend time with those in the body of Christ. He wants us to prefer each other in love. He desires that we use our gifts to minister to one another and to those that don't know Him. We, like the various members of the human body, collectively make up the Church of Jesus Christ – a holy organism called and equipped by God.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for making me a member of the Body of Christ. Help me to develop friendships within the context of the church I attend. Show me how I am spiritually gifted and use me for your glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Made For His Glory

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV

When you were created, God was there. You're birth was not accidental. The Lord knew you would arrive into this world; He is intimately aware of you. He loves you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are God's masterpiece.

The Lord longs to have a relationship with us. Our relationship with Him must be cultivated. It takes time to get to know someone. Those closest to us make an impression on us. They impact our character. It is the same with our relationship with Almighty God. As we make time for Him, by reading and meditating on His word and by spending time in prayer and worship, He affects our very nature.

Initially, we must trust Christ to be our Savior to experience the transforming power of God. Following our conversion, the Lord still desires to change us. He does this in the context of our relationship with Him. The Lord always treats us with compassion. Sometimes His love comes in the form of encouragement, but at other times the Lord chastens us in love. He does this to make us more fruitful.

The Lord desires to make us like His Son. He is transforming us from glory to glory. We are His masterpiece on display before a world that needs to see the Savior. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.” God matures us so we can fulfill the calling He has for us all. God changes us so we can be a catalyst for change in others.

Let's yield to the Potter. His hands are molding and making us more like Jesus, while we revel in our relationship with Him. He does this because of His great love for us, and because He desires to use us for His glory.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for creating me and for loving me. Thank you for helping me to know You more and more. Teach me your ways. Mold me and make me more like you and use me for your glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cast Your Bread

"Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." Ecclesiastes 11:1

When we give into the Lord's work, our gift only leaves our hands temporarily. It, like the bread and fish that Christ distributed, multiplies back into our lives. What we sow we eventually reap. If we are faithful in giving, God will see to it that we receive back abundantly.

A question to ask ourselves is, “Where is our treasure?” Is our heart set on building God's kingdom or are we consumed with becoming rich in material goods? If we are passionate about giving more than getting, God will see to it that we are blessed. He wants to use us as channels to distribute financially into God-ordained ministries and efforts.

If you are in an economically thin season, do not despair. Give as you can, and work diligently at whatever your hand finds you to do. If you do not have a job, at this time, make finding work your full-time job and trust the Lord. He will be faithful to you.

The Lord is our Provider. He promises to watch over us and supply our every need. His word says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).” God can not lie. As we give according to our ability and work as unto the Lord, God promises to meet every one of our needs.

Let's make it our practice to cast our bread upon the waters, by sowing financially into our local church and other ministries. When we do, we can expect God to bless us in return, so we can then give again. I am so glad that we do not serve a stingy God. Instead, we serve the One who gave His very own Son. He gave the best that He had, and He will continue to give to us all we need. He will bless us so that we can be a blessing to others.

Dear Father God,

Thank you for your great promises to me. I believe that You desire to bless me so that my needs are met and so I can help others. Lord thank you for your great provision. I choose to work diligently as unto you and I choose to give into your kingdom. Lord, speak to me and show me where I can give. I love you Lord, and I will obey you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Not Overshadowed

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

So many times we can see the truth of God’s word, while observing nature. The sun’s rays bring warmth, nourishment, and beauty to the earth. When the clouds roll in, the sun is overshadowed. We see the sun’s light through a mist of gray. Its positive effect is dulled.

When we look to our Savior, we receive His goodness and grace, and we grow tall and strong. But when we become distracted by the things of this world, the powerful effect of the Holy Spirit in our lives diminishes. Our love for God is overshadowed by our affection towards other things.

Let’s develop a passion for God. This comes primarily by focusing on Him and His attributes. When we fix our eyes on Him, faith comes naturally. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). The starting place of godly living is with our eyes set on the Lord. Then we can receive His goodness and grace, then His power will have full effect on our lives, and then we will begin to make a difference in this world without being overshadowed by the clouds.

The Holy Spirit desires to reveal Jesus to us as we read and meditate upon the word and as we worship and pray. The Son in all His brilliance is shining down upon us. God has given us His special sunglasses – we have been given eyes to behold His glory. Let’s reach out and receive all we can from God. His power will transform us as we gaze upon His beauty not overshadowed by carnal distractions.

Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth,

I fix my eyes on You. I choose to meet you daily through prayer and through reading and meditating upon Your word. Forgive me for allowing anything to come between us. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and enable me to see Your glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your Eyes

Your eyes are hopeful
Even when we’re tattered and torn
You see great potential
Even when we feel we’ve hit bottom

You see through Jesus’ blood
We are victorious, righteous, and true
We are champions, crowned with grace

You believe the best of us
When we are weak, You see us strong
When we stumble, You see us upright
When we doubt, You see us full of faith

You always look upon us with love
We are Your pearl of great price
Your Son left heaven to find us
Your treasured possession

Lord we love You
We gaze on You with thankfulness
Oh Beautiful One, our eyes are fixed on You

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Christos Anesti!

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11

Through His power and wisdom, God created the world. His explosive power can mend relationships, bring the debtor's finances into order, and save the soul lost in sin. And He has the ability to heal all disease. But the greatest display of His power was shown when God rose Christ from the dead. The Holy Spirit breathed life in the dead body that knew no decay. Now Jesus lives again. He is risen! The stone has rolled away and the hardened hearts of those that embrace Christ's sacrifice are transformed into hearts that are soft and supple under the hand of the Savior.

This Easter Season, let us rejoice in the fact that God's power is available to us. If you are feeling weak and worn, spend time in the Master's presence. His power will raise you. He will strengthen you in His great love. Let us reach out and receive miracles from His hand. But let us not forget that the greatest gift of all is the salvation He wrought for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.

When I used to attend the Greek Orthodox Church, we had a wonderful tradition. During the Easter Season we would greet each other with the words “Christos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen!). The person would reply by saying, “Alithos Anesti!” (Truly He is Risen!). So I say to you, "Christos Anesti!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Nation in Need of Prayer

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Our nation is backsliding. We have drifted from a love of God and a desire to do what is right. We have fallen from grace. Our nation, like much of the rest of the world, is sinking. We no longer call on the Lord Jesus. We no longer look to the Scriptures for guidance. There is apathy in the people's hearts, violence in the schools, and perversion in the media.

We have looked for the government to save us. Our hope should not be in a political structure, but in a relationship with Almighty God. Our government is only good when the values of the people are upright. This is why we must pray. We must pray for our nation – that we will return to the foot of the cross. We must repent of our backsliding. We must fall in love once again with the God, who created our land.

In the past, God has visited our nation. There have been great moves of the Spirit. Let us plead with God to bring down His fire once again. Let us repent on behalf of the people of our land. We have chosen unrighteousness over godly living. We have become distracted with so many things. Our hearts have not yearned for the living God.

Let our hearts burn with urgency, an urgency to pray. Let revival visit our streets once again...

Dear Lord,

We are a needy nation. We have turned our backs on You. Forgive us for our wandering. Cleanse us of our many sins and fill us afresh with Your Spirit. Come visit our land and bring order out of chaos and beauty from ashes. Lord revive us once again. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Blessed is the man or women who receives Your forgiveness
Freely You give to us Your great mercy
We are accepted just as we are

On the cross You forgave us
For all our ugly yesterdays
For our sins of the present
And for all we will still do
That grieves Your heart

You even wipe away the memory of it
You choose to forget
Your blood cleanses our every stain

Let us never take your forgiveness, for granted
You paid an awesome price

Like the woman caught in adultery
Let Your mercy motivate us to go and sin no more

Happy and blessed are we who have embraced
Your forgiveness

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Looking to Our Reward

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3

One of the ways we overcome trials is to remember Christ's future promise to us. Paul described his suffering as light and momentary afflictions. But he underwent a great deal for the gospel's sake. He was put in prison frequently, five times he received 39 lashes, he was often exposed to death, he was beaten with rods three times, and he was shipwrecked and spent a night and a day in the open sea. These are just some of the things he suffered - for a complete list see
2 Corinthians11:23-29.

In Romans 8:18, Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The context of this Scripture describes a longing that creation has for the renewal of all things. One day we will be in heaven. One day we will have glorified bodies. Our suffering will vanish. Today our trials are helping to mold us and make us more like Christ. They ready us for heaven. We are of course saved by grace, but difficulties are often used by our Master to form His likeness within us.

When Moses fled Egypt at forty years of age, he “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.... because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:25-26). Moses chose to leave the luxuries of Egypt in order to obey the calling to live for God. There was suffering linked with this decision, but Moses looked to his reward. His eyes saw heaven.

We too must look upward when we face trials of many kinds. We can learn to rejoice by looking ahead to our reward. The next time our hearts are discouraged because of trouble, we can remember what Jesus said. He is preparing a place for us, and it is a glorious place at that. The book of Revelations describes heaven as a place where the streets are made of gold. It is a city that does not need artificial light, because the Lord fills it with His radiance. It will be a place that is incomparable with anything we have ever witnessed.

We will enjoy fellowship with every believer that ever lived. We will have the privilege of spending time with David and Daniel, Peter and Paul. But the greatest joy will be that we will forever be in the presence of the Lord. It is not wrong to long for heaven. Our desire for this place can be a motivator for us to do good and for us to endure suffering. Moses looked to his reward in his decision to flee from Egypt. We too can look to our reward. One day those of us that have accepted Christ's sacrifice will be there. We will embrace what creation has longed for and we will live in that place forever. A place where there will be no more pain and no more tears.

If you are unsure of your future after this life, if you do not know if you will go to heaven, please pray the prayer included below. It is a prayer that asks Jesus to save you from your sin and to include you in God's family. We are not Christians because we are born into a Christian home or because we go to church. We become Christians when we accept Christ's death and resurrection as the payment for our sin. When we do this, we become brand new on the inside.

Dear Father God,

I thank you for sending Jesus to die for me and to save me. Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, and I believe you rose from the dead. I confess that I am a sinner in need of Your grace. Lord I ask you to save me. I choose to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you that when I die I will see you in heaven. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

If you have prayed a prayer like this for the first time or if you have renewed your commitment to Christ, tell someone. You may email me at I would love to further help you in your newfound relationship with Jesus. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Upside Down

These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:6

From the world's view the kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom. Normal rules do not apply. The world says you must be beautiful or handsome. God looks for the pure in heart. The world will congratulate you for high performance. God looks for our obedience. The world says believe in yourself. God says believe in me and put no confidence in the flesh. The world esteems the talented, but God esteems the poor in spirit.

Don't we sometimes misconstrue things. We must remember that our citizenship is in heaven and not on this earth. Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to discipline us, out of love, to show us where our true priorities belong. We are not to live for the kingdom of darkness; we are children of the light.

I remember when I was a kid. I sometimes would hang upside down while seated on my bed and look at my bedroom ceiling. My room became a whole new world. I wished I could walk around in that place the way I perceived it. When we pray and read God's word, we are learning to view things from God's perspective, and we can walk around freely with Christ as our leader.

So let's make it our ambition to do things God's way. When we miss it, He will be faithful to show us the way back along the path that leads to His throne. He will help us to unlearn the things we held true while we lived in that kingdom that from God's vantage point is upside down.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I love you Lord. Forgive me for mixing up my priorities with those of the world. Help me to see life with new eyes. Teach me to walk according to Your kingdom priorities. In Your name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Suffering Transformed

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

We live in an often hostile world. We all experience suffering and disappointment, but God is in the business of using our difficulties and setbacks for our ultimate good.

Joseph dreamed he would be a leader, but after sharing his dream with his brothers, they seized Joseph and sold him into slavery. He was chosen to serve an Egyptian leader named Potiphar. Everything that Joseph touched prospered, because the Lord was with him. After serving faithfully in Potiphar's house, Potiphar's wife – who was enthralled with Joseph - tried to entice him and desired to sleep with the Hebrew slave, but he refused. The woman then accused Joseph of making sexual advances toward her, and Joseph was sentenced to prison.

Joseph remained in prison for some time, but God's hand was upon him even in that dark place. Joseph was entrusted with the charge of the prisoners. The keeper of the prison committed them into his hands.

Thirteen years lapsed since his brothers betrayed him, then Joseph was given the opportunity of a lifetime. He was asked to interpret Pharaoh's dream. God gave Joseph the dream's meaning. He explained to Pharaoh that Egypt would experience seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph wisely determined that someone should be put in charge who would save grain during the years of abundance to be used during the time of scarcity. Pharaoh appointed Joseph as second in command of Egypt, and his God-given insight saved multitudes from starvation.

His brothers came to Egypt in search of food. Joseph met them and chose to forgive them. He viewed his suffering as part of God's overall plan. He said that you desired to do evil against me, but God meant it for good.

God transformed Joseph's suffering by His sovereign hand. And He works in our lives as well. When we place our pain and disappointments into the Father's hand, He eventually brings healing, victory, and promotion into our lives. As we stay faithful to God, He weaves His goodness into our lives and causes the days of darkness to be eclipsed by the sun.

We do experience pain in this life, but in the midst of our suffering, God is there. The Lord calls us to forgive our oppressors, and He eventually elevates us out of our hardships and causes us to shine for Him. His plan is to use us for His kingdom and for His glory. Let's choose faithfulness, let's embrace forgiveness, and let's offer all our emotional pain to Jesus. He loves us and He will transform our suffering into great glory. He will vindicate us and cause us to prevail.

Dear Sovereign Lord,

I worship You. I give to you my sorrows – the hurtful things I don't understand. I give you my pain and ask You to transform my suffering into victory. Lord, have your way in me. Help me to be faithful, and help me to forgive those that have harmed me. I entrust myself in Your care. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2010 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh Lamb of God

From the many wounds on Your back come healing
Your wrongful death begets life
Victory springs from death's dark valley

Your work on the cross wrought an abundant harvest
So Great a Salvation for all who believe
Unthinkable pain secured our place by Your side

Thank You Oh Lamb of God
You suffered in our place
The just for the unjust
The righteous for sinful man

Now those who trust You
Have been given Your robe of righteousness
Clothing weaved at the foot of the cross

By Your blood, we reign as kings in this life
Royalty bows before Your throne
Thank You Oh Lamb of God