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What Happens When the Door Closes and you are in the Storm?

This is the post excerpt.

Reflection of our lives reveals that we have overcome many obstacles; however, for reasons which are not easily identified, we are feeling quite overwhelmed with the present and unexpected life event. When we perceive that we are overwhelmed, fear, worry, and anxiety escalate at disproportionate levels.

As a result, we become fixated on the closed door and become spiritually disoriented, quickly forgetting the power of Divine intervention. When we begin to communicate with God through prayer, we then understand that God has allowed the door to close. He is protecting us as only a Heavenly Father can do. As our relationship grows deeper with God, He will enable us to see his excellent plan for our lives-many open doors.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

How to Please God

But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Many of us are familiar with the first part of Hebrews 11:6: But without faith, it is impossible to please him. However, the scripture also says that it takes additional action to receive our reward from God. We must believe and diligently seek Him, only then will we be blessed with the gifts that God has for us.

Serving God requires active participation every day. There are many sermons directed toward our anxiety, worries, and feeling down and out. But the answer to our emotional distress is for us to pray more. Communication with God through prayer is our life-line.

The Holy Spirit goes into the Spiritual Comforter mode while we are praying. It is a relief to feel your burdens lifted while praying. I may have started broken, weary, and hopeless, but never have I felt anything but victory after seeking our Heavenly Father in prayer.

Hebrews 11:6 further explains that we must believe that God is who He says he is, recall that God told Moses to tell the Israelites, “I Am” sent you.

Another messenger’s sermon on faith:

You may say, “I love God, but I just have difficulty trusting Him.” Then you are not pleasing to Him. You cannot struggle at the core of your relationship with God and still enjoy a vibrant fellowship with Him! Faith does not eliminate problems. Faith keeps you in a trusting relationship with God during your problems. Faith has to do with your relationship with God, not your circumstances. Some may say, “I’m not much of a person of faith. I am more of a practical person!” Yet you will never do anything more practical than to place your trust in the Lord! Nothing is more secure or certain than that which you entrust to God. From Today’s Devotional-Experiencing God Day-by-Day

Making a renewed covenant with God is just a prayer away. We are not required to do anything strenuous or challenging to serve God. It is a simple commitment to offer ourselves and worship our Creator. God loves us more than we will ever know. Believing (faith) in God requires constant communion with Him. We cannot live off of yesterday’s worship, praise, or prayers. Diligently seeking God places us in a position to build our faith and trust in Him. Whether we are in the mountain highs or the valley lows, God is always here! He is patiently waiting for us to seek Him.

Bible Study: Hebrews 11

God, we have failed to keep in touch with you as we should. Please forgive us for not diligently seeking you. We are renewing our covenant to have a much closer relationship with you. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

Our Lives Matter

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27

A thought-provoking question, “Do others see the love of God through my behaviors, habits, and lifestyle?” Nonverbal communication can speak louder than our spoken words. Do they know that we are believers by our clothing, mannerisms, and cheerful disposition?

We may not respond with words to various situations, but whatever is deep in our hearts will eventually be revealed. It takes the right situation to expose our true character.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny. Lao Tzu

Living for Christ requires that we have wisdom, which we must ask for because wisdom is a spiritual gift that only comes from God.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave if the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-7

Just as our relationship with God requires daily prayer and study of the Bible for spiritual growth, our character is always a work-in-progress. To live in sync with God remains a daily challenge. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit to withstand the challenges and to be overcomers.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17

Because we believe in grace and forgiveness and love, it is all too easy to think that God is so easygoing that it doesn’t matter how we live or what we do. That is not so. Because He cares about us to be as whole as possible in a sick world. Above all things, God wants our happiness, both now and eternally. And because He desires for us to be happy, He takes our needs seriously. We are important to Him. Excerpt from Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus, George R. Knight

Living by faith, and fully trusting and obeying God requires 100% dedication to Jesus Christ. When we do our part to love and serve God we receive salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Who am I? I am a child of God who has been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Every thought, action, and behavior must represent God and His definition of righteousness.

Bible Study: James 1-2

God, we acknowledge that our hearts are not close to you, and that has prevented us from representing your godly standards. We desire to have a deeper relationship that we may love you with all of our heart, soul, and mind. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

We are Never, Ever Alone!

Yesterday, I listened to a Christian radio station that was 100% inspirational music. To be honest, I was surprised by the lyrics of a couple of songs that expressed despair.

1. “All is not well with my soul, I am feeling alone, empty, and…”

2. “As usual, I awakened feeling like I just couldn’t get out of the bed today.”

Many believers are expressing more despondency than the unbelievers and that should not be the case. We have “Forever Love” by our Spiritual Team, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, along with angels who protect us. If anyone should be feeling alone and empty, it should be the worldlings who worship themselves and other idols.

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

Unfortunately, we are the problem. Remaining connected to Jesus is all about action. Our relationship with Christ is dynamic, constantly changing due to spiritual growth. Studying the Bible diligently and praying throughout the day keeps us connected. Because we have allowed people, going places, and other things to create chaos in our daily lives, we are disconnected from Jesus Christ.

The answer to reconnection is easily accomplished. Make the decision to eliminate everything that pulls you away from spending quality time with God. We allow too many distractions in our lives. Serving God involves boundaries. Do not get caught up in busyness or allow others to consume your time that should be spent with God. Our connection to God is easily broken when we cannot say “no.” The ability to let the call go to voicemail, or text back, “getting ready to have worship, ttyl” are examples of how we manage our lives in making certain that we put God first.

Will you lose friends? Possibly, but if they do not respect your relationship with God, then you are unequally yoked.

One of our greatest struggles is pulling our minds away from our jobs. Yes, our jobs provide the finances that we need, and definitely are a blessing, but many believers are hungry and thirsty for money and tangible possessions. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33. The expectation from God is that we will have complete faith and trust in His promises and worship Him everyday, all day long. Whisper a short prayer throughout the day thanking God and expressing your love for Him.

Back to the modern lyrics of hopelessness, we are warned that we can do nothing without our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. Jesus willingly died that we can be redeemed from our sins. No one deserves more of us than we give to God.

Through His love, grace and mercy, our Creator is aware of our weaknesses. He knows that most of humanity responds to challenging situations with emotions. So God gave us the Book, the Holy Bible is complete with stories of victories and defeat, along with the plan of salvation, and wonderful praises and promises. Make the commitment to learn more about God, and your life will change. And like David, even when hardships arise, we can smile through our tears, and praise our Heavenly Father.

I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

Bible Study: Isaiah 43

Prayer: God, we recognize that we are too distant from you and for that sin of omission, we ask forgiveness. It is our desire to serve you by giving you the time that you rightfully deserve. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

Forever Love

There are very few individuals that can give or receive forever love. Relationships form much to quickly because we are desperate for the wrong person. God tells us that His love is everlasting; yet, we place Him in the position to be next in line.

Who can love us like God? Loneliness is more than a state of mind, it is the reality of many who confess their belief in God. Why is it that we can have a Heavenly Father along with an entire spiritual team, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the angels and still despair?

The answer: We desire someone who cannot provide the love and nurturing of our soul. Only God can fulfill our spiritual needs and He patiently waits to give us everlasting love.

Our emotions were given as a blessing of expression, not to replace our cognitive abilities. We rely too much on our feelings for guidance. “Follow your heart” only applies to a relationship with God. He will lead you in the right direction that ends in perfection. No, we are not perfect, but God is, which means we do not have to suffer negative consequences when we trust and obey.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming. Psalm 27:8

The “Everlasting Love” of God never fails. Do not miss out on the greatest love experience from your Heavenly Father. Give God what He rightfully deserves: Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

Did you forget about Jeremiah 29:11? God has plans for us! First, get in sync with God by loving Him as Jesus commanded and your life will change. How will it change? If we do our part (human effort) then God will always fulfill His plans for us (Divine intervention).

God, we admit that you have not been first and foremost in our hearts. We ask forgiveness for putting you last with our love and attention. Our souls are empty without you. We recommit our hearts to you and we can’t wait to receive your everlasting love. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

Happy Sabbath Become a Peacemaker

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called the Children of God. Matthew 5:9

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Excerpt is from Today’s Devotional–Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus–George R. Knight

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

Highs and Lows

What you need to know for the Highs and Lows

This life is full of ups and downs. There are moments when it seems as if you’re touching the hem of heaven because they’re so dazzling. And others when it seems you stand on the brink of hell because they’re so heart wrenching.

We can tend to feel far away from God in both. When times are good, we forget how much we need Him. When times are hard, we wonder why He has forsaken us. And yet both of those responses are only our humanity talking.

Neither height nor depth…will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

God’s affection for us is the same at the highest and lowest moments of our lives. The heights of success and the depths of despair cannot separate us from Him. His love is the one constant we can count on no matter what.

Take comfort in this, friend: Whether this is your best day on earth or one of your worst, you will never be alone or unloved. Not even for a moment.

-Devotional encouragement by Holley Gerth, from her blog Heart to Heart with Holley.

Do you desire righteousness?

With the fourth beatitude we have reached a major turning point. The first two exemplified a turning away from our human weakness and sin, while the third expressed the Christian’s humility in light of that weakness. The fourth, by way of contrast, is a turning toward the positive aspect of Christianity. It is a hungering and thirsting to be right with God and to be like Him. Thus the Christian life is more than a mourning over past sins. It is also an intense desire for present and future righteousness. Excerpt from Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus by George R. Knight

What a defining point for our relationship with God: We must desire righteousness!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

Ten Percent of Our Time

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15

It is easy for me to give back 10% of what I receive financially or for items that are an asset. But as I searched for scriptures on how God expects us to use our time, the reality is that most days with the exception of the Sabbath, I fail to worship God even 10 percent of the 24 hours He has blessed me with. Yes, this fact about how I spend my time does concern me.

Would you agree that God deserves more of our time everyday?

It is a personal decision to dedicate more time studying, praying, singing, and praising God. I do not intend to make my worship ritualistic. An increase in the time that we spend worshipping God will certainly increase our faith, trust, and result in a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

With more time spent in worship, the Holy Spirit will reveal our character flaws, and have the opportunity to teach us what God requires of us to live Holy and righteous lives.

What about the increase in our faith? The challenges in the season of darkness will not overwhelm us because like David said, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4, we will become totally dependent on God in times of adversity.

God, we have identified a serious problem, our time spent with you is insufficient in comparison to the blessings of your grace and mercy that you continually give to us. Please forgive us for our sins. We make the commitment to spend more time with you everyday. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz