Monday, October 26, 2009

Working as Unto the Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Learning to Walk

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

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

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

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

Dear Father God,

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

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Food for the Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Father God,

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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Surely it is Our Faith

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

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

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

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

© Copyright 2009 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vessels of Healing

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

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

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

Dear Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends for Eternity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord,

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

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord Jesus,

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