Sunday, August 30, 2009

God's Dream

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Faith's Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Sovereign Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Are Blessed

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Heavenly Father,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No Condemnation

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no condemnation for those in Christ.

© Copyright 1988 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Favorable Environment for Growth

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Seed of God's Word

The farmer sows the word. Matthew 4:14

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord Jesus,

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

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stand Guard

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Your Voice

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Less is More

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

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

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

Dear Living God,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.