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.