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!"