Joe Toy Newsletter below
TGIF=Thank God I'm Forgiven! Thank God for that Baby in a manger who grew to be our sacrificial Lamb! Thank God for the free gift of salvation, faith, forgiveness, and eternal life! Thank God always and pray with expectation and thanksgiving!
Thank you for your prayers yesterday for our grieving family. God was with us and the family. God gave the parents strength to share during the funeral. Can't even imagine how without God. Their testimonies show that God is answering prayers and drawing them close during this horrific loss of their two year old. When we get to the end of ourselves, God is there and Travis shared how he has cried out to God because he cannot do this on his own. God is faithful! The pastor reminded us that we may never understand some of God's plans but we can know He promises to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called by Him. Amen! We are praying for all of you who are clinging to God right now. He promises to be with you always. Receive His loving help and compassion.
Some of our devotionals speak into this today. TWFYT reminds us about doubt we often face in crisis and grief of loss. They remind us, as Travis is experiencing, "True faith only goes into operation when there are no answers." God is using many of us who have already traveled through some of these hard things to comfort others. The Upper Room discuss the "Power in Prayer" to our "Father of compassion and the God of all comfort" who comforts us, prepares us and uses us to comfort others. Ask God for help and for whom He may be sending you. Sometimes just His presence through us is all that is needed. Just listen and love. We usually have no answers for the "WHY's". Don't even try. God's ways are not ours, but He is always at work for good and is always there when terrible-in-our-minds things are allowed. Just be present and love and allow God to love and comfort through you. And keep praying like crazy for peace beyond understanding and for God's loving presence to be received. Remember all Jesus endured and how His heart often broke for His very loved children. Allow Him to comfort and love through you and try to allow Him to love and comfort you.
I end with Harvest prayer's blog today reminding us of the power in prayer. It's a reminder about praying for and receiving Jesus' power. It's about expecting the miraculous love and power of Christ to come alive in, through and around you. Pray for that power to love, comfort and bring healing, hope and new life to those He is sending you to. Pray into that for Sun. (we are expecting many visitors who need to know Who that Baby is and how He has changed your life and can change theirs) Who are you inviting and bringing along? Who are you praying for God to send and draw to Him? I simply have invited several people and they have accepted and say they plan to come. Pray for all hindrances for that to be gone, for God to draw and for strongholds to be tore down as He brings new life, healing and hope alive. I am praying with thanksgiving and expecting to see some miracles on Sunday. Pray in faith with me! God has some great and miraculous plans coming to life as we continue to work on living and loving like Jesus! Amen! and PTL!
We have been given the free gift of love, faith, and hope and are empowered to share it. This year pray into and share the greatest gift ever! The gift that keeps on giving! God's love! Amen!
UR: Power in Prayer
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
My mother was 52 when she died of a heart attack. She had not been a heart patient and had been healthy, so her sudden death came as a great shock to my family and me. We did not talk much about my mother for fear that talking about her would cause more hurt.
But during that time of sorrow and trouble God was with us. My mother was a God-fearing and God-loving person. She had taught us to love God, and our family continued to pray in the morning as we always did when she was alive. My dad kept on praying for our family’s comfort, and many friends and relatives also prayed for us.
With so much prayer I started to feel peace and comfort within me. I especially felt that the presence of God was with us all. God’s love and the support of our family and friends helped us to overcome our great loss and helped us to live life normally again.
We are all sent by God to help and support one another in times of trouble. Whether we know someone well or not, we are called as Christians to hold others in prayer as together we are all united in the body of Christ.
Dear God, thank you for your love and comfort that gives us strength to keep going even in our darkest times. Amen.Harvest Prayer Daily Devotion:
December 22 - “Seeing” through Prayer
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).
Jesus prayed for power prior to or during His miracles. Interestingly, most Gospel records of Jesus’ miracles make no mention of Jesus praying! I count fifty-eight different miracles of Jesus, including groups of His predictions. On only six of these occasions do the Gospels specifically mention Jesus prayed: feeding the 5,000, feeding the 4,000, the Transfiguration, healing the convulsive boy (prayer assumed), raising Lazarus from the dead, and at Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.
However, I believe He prayed at some point during most—if not all—of the miracles He performed. Why? First, He prayed often (Luke 5:16). Second, there are many acts Jesus did that the Gospels do not mention (Jn. 21:25). The Evangelists rarely recorded Jesus’ daily activities of eating, bathing, sleeping and praying (all of which observant Jews did)—unless something was unusual. Third, Jesus said that He did nothing unless He saw the Father do it (John 5:19)—which would include doing miracles, and prayer was the most likely way for Jesus to “see.” Fourth, He said He could do nothing on His own initiative (John 5:30, 8:28, 12:49-50), and prayer was the expected way to ask for permission. Fifth, prayer is the likely means by which Jesus asked the Father for the power to do miracles, which manifested His messiahship from God. Therefore, it makes sense that Jesus prayed each time that He performed these mighty works of God.
Lord, You performed many miracles through the power of Your Father and You have said that if I have faith in You I will do even greater things than You did on earth. Give me such faith to believe that You can and will use me and other believers to do more than we can think or imagine because You have promised it in Your word. Give Your Church boldness to step out in great faith!
--Taken from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 5, God the Son and Prayer by James R. Wicker).
|Prayer Concerns: Pray for Mardi Gras Outreach February 7-14, 2024
“...and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
As the angels brought a message of hope to the shepherds about the birth of the Messiah, so we continue to spread the good news of the gospel in the Triangle Area of North Carolina. In late November, a team of six engaged the crowds waiting for the Raleigh Christmas Parade with the good news of Jesus. We were given great liberty to walk the parade route passing out thousands of gospel tracts and reminding the crowds of the importance of God’s love expressed to the world in the giving of His Son to save sinners.
As the parade began, we moved off the route, so the folks could enjoy the parade. It was way cool to have one of our friends come up and say, “It’s the bus station preachers,” and then shake our hand. It shows us that our consistent witness in Raleigh is touching lives for eternity and our labors are not in vain, so we press on with the gospel.
It is hard to believe that fifteen weeks of college campus ministry is over for the semester. We have spent two days of the week at UNC and NC State preaching, witnessing and passing out gospel literature. I have focused all of my preaching on the gospel of John attempting to make Jesus an unavoidable issue. For the first eight weeks, I spoke on the seven miracles of Jesus and His resurrection. The last seven weeks were spent on His seven I am statements. Each week, we were able to pass out lots of tracts and engage many students in conversation.
One young man asked me at UNC, “Do you believe in fatalism or free will?” That is a loaded question. But after discussing God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, we were able to converse on God’s plan of salvation and our need to trust Christ. A few weeks later we met Chris, who is an alumni, but has found himself in a place where he has walked away from a previous profession of faith. He now struggles with the brokenness of life that sin brings. It was a joy to challenge him to return to Christ in repentance. I have seen him a few times since then, but he is still not where he needs to be.
Eli and Isaac belong to a campus ministry called Wellspring. These young men are on fire and boldly preach Christ and witness to their fellow students consistently. It is a joy to work with these young men and encourage them in the task of evangelism. They are truly an inspiration and the Lord is using them mightily to rock their campus for the Kingdom of God. Pray for these young men to be steadfast in the Lord.
We finished up our college football outreach with a team of ten people at Carter Finley Stadium for the big rivalry game between UNC and NC State. It was awesome to have a big team as the crowds of people flowed to the stadium. We were able to break into three teams and cover more of the crowd. Usually, we begin our outreach three hours before game time with gospel preaching and literature distribution. Most of the time we don’t have much gospel interaction, but there are those divine appointments that occur. As Zack Brady was preaching, a crowd of ten Muslim students engaged him in dialog. Zack did a great job pointing out the flaws of their world view and showing them how they need forgiveness of sins that only Jesus can provide. It was a great encounter and an awesome way to end our night.
The Moore Square Bus Station in Raleigh has been a weekly outreach for over two years. Recently, there has been an uptick in crime, which has increased the police presence. We continue to preach the gospel and pass out literature. It is not uncommon for seven bibles to be picked up from our literature table. In the midst of the troubles many are being counseled and helped.
Pastor Jeremy stopped by from the Raleigh Dream Center and led one man to Christ last week. Much gospel seed is being sown and we have a group of faithful men and great support form the churches who helped provide for some of the basic needs of the men and the women.
Pray for this outreach to bear much fruit.
Thanks for all your prayers and support.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!