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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

Searching For Treasure Audio

https://anchor.fm/sonya-johnson-ruiz/embed/episodes/Searching-For-Treasure-Audio-e1b3a0b

Our fingerprints and footprints are distinguishing evidence that we are uniquely created. Even so, we also have other characteristics that indicate “there is only one like me”. Our likes and dislikes are a combination of learned behavior and experiential occurrences. Even identical twins and siblings raised in the same environment will not have carbon copy preferences.

One thing is for sure, most of us share the happiness that comes from having money and tangible things that we like. Of course, there are the extremes of hating and loving materialism, but we speak of the comfort that money provides within normal limits. Yet, money ranks as the most powerful addiction that humanity struggles with every day. The lack of money alters our happiness, often plummeting us into depression and desperation. The love of money results in the person possessing no boundaries to obtain it, produces a cut-throat mindset to keep it, and provokes the ability to take from others without remorse.

Yes, we must have money for our basic necessities. Still, our perspective changes when we have an over-abundance of money and material things. Money is pleasing. Money is captivating, and it pulls us into a false sense of security that all is well and will be forever and ever. The power of money is so strong that Jesus addressed and warned us of the conflict and the wayward affections for money. Money is a master!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:21,24

The most misunderstood scriptures are the ones where God speaks of prospering and restoring us. Our minds spontaneously generate visions of having wealth in our present lives. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2. Yes, the first section of the verse is most often interpreted as a promise of material prosperity. Jesus promised in Matthew 6 to take care of today’s needs without thought for tomorrow. Oh, the peace and joy we would possess if we lived by this promise.

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

Our riches of spiritual prosperity and the inheritance of eternal life will be received at the Second Coming of Jesus. Yes, God is gracious in giving many believers an abundance of wealth to help others. Sadly, we have lost the meaning of sharing and taking care of our destitute brothers and sisters.

Since we cannot judge ourselves spiritually, David gave us a powerful prayer of humility asking God to reveal the status of our hearts: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24. Edited. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Searching For Treasure

Our fingerprints and footprints are distinguishing evidence that we are uniquely created. Even so, we also have other characteristics that indicate “there is only one like me”. Our likes and dislikes are a combination of learned behavior and experiential occurrences. Even identical twins and siblings raised in the same environment will not have carbon copy preferences.

One thing is for sure, most of us share the happiness that comes from having money and tangible things that we like. Of course, there are the extremes of hating and loving materialism, but we speak of the comfort that money provides within normal limits. Yet, money ranks as the most powerful addiction that humanity struggles with every day. The lack of money alters our happiness, often plummeting us into depression and desperation. The love of money results in the person possessing no boundaries to obtain it, produces a cut-throat mindset to keep it, and provokes the ability to take from others without remorse.

Yes, we must have money for our basic necessities. Still, our perspective changes when we have an over-abundance of money and material things. Money is pleasing. Money is captivating, and it pulls us into a false sense of security that all is well and will be forever and ever. The power of money is so strong that Jesus addressed and warned us of the conflict and the wayward affections for money. Money is a master!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:21,24

The most misunderstood scriptures are the ones where God speaks of prospering and restoring us. Our minds spontaneously generate visions of having wealth in our present lives. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2. Yes, the first section of the verse is most often interpreted as a promise of material prosperity. Jesus promised in Matthew 6 to take care of today’s needs without thought for tomorrow. Oh, the peace and joy we would possess if we lived by this promise.

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

Our riches of spiritual prosperity and the inheritance of eternal life will be received at the Second Coming of Jesus. Yes, God is gracious in giving many believers an abundance of wealth to help others. Sadly, we have lost the meaning of sharing and taking care of our destitute brothers and sisters.

Since we cannot judge ourselves spiritually, David gave us a powerful prayer of humility asking God to reveal the status of our hearts: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24. Edited. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The Art of Manipulation

To say that I have had an exciting nursing career is an understatement. My entrance to the dark underworld of perpetrators began in 1994. Working for the New York State Division of Parole was a life-altering experience. The symptoms reported by the residents during their initial intake assessment were usually a feeble attempt to escape [abscond] from the locked facility. Outside medical evaluations for emergent conditions were the only valid reason the resident could leave the building for the initial four weeks following admission. From behind bars to the ability to look out the windows of a residential building in a commercial area on a busy street in Upper Manhattan tempted many of the residents to test their skills on nursing staff that appeared to be naive. After all, how much could two nurses [wearing regular clothing] know about the art of manipulation?

Reading medical books was a favorite past-time for a few residents who attempted to mimic the symptoms of certain infectious diseases. Yes, I must admit that the skill of manipulation was utilized quite well. But there was always something out of sync with the reported symptoms. Usually, the symptoms reported did not include a high fever that always accompanied the actual disease. In addition, the residents were unaware that the nursing staff received a complete copy of their medical records, which we reviewed to approve their transfer to the minimum security facility. Unless there was an acute onset of an undiagnosed condition, all residents transferred were in excellent health.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the Apostle Paul tells us of the signs of the last days.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

The Loss of Our Time

Satan, our arch-enemy, is highly effective at manipulation. We can agree that he is the Master Deceiver. Still, many anticipate obvious deceptions that they can readily identify. Not so! He cannot be equaled in the Art of Manipulation. His most effective tactic is to chip away and steal our valuable time with God. We are not referring to a cookie-cutter approach. The distractions are customized for every disciple of Jesus Christ. It is in the areas of relaxation, self-improvement, and our career goals that leave us too exhausted to put God first. From social media to the pursuit of academic goals or children enrolled in too many extracurricular activities are the distractions that diminish time spent with God. Still, the number one distraction, our jobs. We easily transition from a 40-hour week to uncounted hours [even if we are not physically present] spent in overtime and thinking about the responsibilities of tomorrow.

Considering your daily schedule, does God receive even 5% of each 24-hour day?

Yes, the skill of manipulation works so well with time. We rarely notice the wasted minutes escalating into hours until we are spiritually depleted, mentally overwhelmed, and physically exhausted. But wait! God sees that we require a reminder that we need Him. By allowing trials and hardships to enter our lives, we receive a necessary spiritual wake-up nudge. And how do we respond? We respond with misguided emotions because our spiritual resources are tapped dry. Then we are overcome by the Ds–downtrodden, depressed, and despondent. As despair overwhelms us, we feel forsaken, and ask, “Where are you, God?”

Spending time with God matters. In Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10-11, we are warned: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The change that is required to serve God wholeheartedly is a choice. God tells us that His very Name is Jealous. God is God! The “I Am that I Am” does not change. Put God first! Anchor yourself in Christ! Ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Time spent praying and studying the scriptures opens our spiritual eyes. The Spirit of God imparts the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to identify Satan’s manipulative attempts to steal time that belongs to our loving and patient Heavenly Father.

Prayer: God, help us to give you more of our time. Time to worship and commune with you every day. The time to receive spiritual renewal along with wisdom as we seek knowledge. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Spiritual Scams in Christianity

When Jesus was tempted by Satan after fasting, He did not use His divine power. He fought the temptation with the scriptures. When the Sadducees approached Jesus with the foolish question of the woman who was the wife of seven brothers, asking, Whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

Many believers are overconfident in their ability to discern false teachings and overcome temptation. Without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, you will become a victim of deception. Is it necessary to seek knowledge and possess wisdom? Satan is a fallen angel. Not just any angel, Lucifer was the highest-ranking angel in heaven. How you are fallen from Heaven, O Daystar, son of Dawn! How you were cut down to the ground, you who laid the nation’s low. Isaiah 14:12

In Psalm chapter 8, David tells us, “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor.” Our rank in the order of created beings is below the angels and above the animals. God did not intend for us to function independently of Him. The scriptures are the Voice of God. We receive guidance and answers to our daily challenges through the living and breathing Word of God. 

As we see a resurgence of hunger, homelessness, hopelessness, and hatred among humanity, we are witnessing the escalating power of the evil one. Without scriptural knowledge, we either minimize Satan’s power or escalate his power to Omnipotence [only the Trinity Godhead is All-knowing]. Now believers are seeking therapeutic intervention because they claim to see demons walking throughout their homes. Guarding our eyes and ears against the demonic lyrics, horror flicks, or delving into the occult of spiritual wickedness is a habit not without consequences. Yes, demons do exist, but our eyes are not opened to visualize them. [This statement excludes pagan worshippers of the evil one.] Satan would win if he could put that level of phobia in our minds. He would target and antagonize believers until we were unable to think rational thoughts. Thank you, God, for your guardian angels. And thank you for limiting his power. Amen!

It is difficult to believe that people are still being scammed out of thousands of dollars in 2021. Even so, the number of believers who are being scammed by Pastors with mega-churches [by not teaching the scriptures] is in the thousands. Music has replaced God’s truth by focusing on feelings–seeking peace, happiness, and outward joy.

The popular churches are Emotion-based as opposed to being Bible-based. Although praise and worship, singing, and joy are integral in serving God, it is not the main focus. Deception is easily accomplished. Already weary and worn down from fighting spiritual battles that God promised to fight for us, we desire a “Zen lifestyle.” So why not attend a church service that offers singing for two hours every week? Or a service that is less than one hour? We have ample time to work on our to-do lists.

We fight a daily battle. Every believer faces custom-made schemes of temptation. God to the rescue! Psalm 91 tells of God’s protection. We can pray in confidence when we know the scriptural promises of God. Yes, we require the daily reinforcement of spiritual food. Thankfully, God meets us where we are. Sanctification is a daily and life-long journey to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Our experience with God is personal. No two Christians are at the same level in their walk with Jesus Christ.

Still, a common factor is that all believers require steadfast faith and spiritual discernment. We must have a solid faith and trusting relationship with Jesus Christ, nurtured by daily prayer and studying the scriptures. It is impossible to maintain a sound mind or recognize the scams of spiritual wickedness without knowledge, wisdom, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Immediate change is necessary to identify and eliminate the scams of false teachings, motivational messages, and distractions that keep us from daily worship. Watch out for the chaos and confusion brought into your life by unbelievers–you will know them by their lack of spiritual wisdom. Studying and praying for divine intervention from the Holy Spirit is our only solution to avoid spiritual scams. Study Ephesians chapter 6.

We belong to God! Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth will involve consistent worship of God. Forming the habit of worshipping God on this Earth every day gives us the desire to worship Him eternally.

Prayer: God, we ask for your divine intervention to lead and guide us. Our minds are overwhelmed by the stressors of life. We invite you into our lives and ask you to show us the people, places, and things we need to eliminate. Please give us peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Overshadowed By Darkness

It appears that the darkness of spiritual wickedness will overshadow the earth. And that is exactly the perception that Satan desires for humanity to possess. Many individuals believe that he has unlimited power. Not so! The world belongs to God. Satan has enforced boundaries by God. He cannot do what he desires to do whenever he desires to do it. Still, he is humanity’s greatest enemy. Most do not realize that Satan is responsible for the destruction, hatred, and calamities on our earth. Every maleficient action against humanity is a result of his anger, bitterness, and resentment toward God.

Why does God allow the degradation to continue? John 14:1-3 and Revelation chapters 21-22 provide the answers. The present earth is our temporary home. Jesus has not withheld the fact that He is preparing an eternal home for us. The faithful have always known that the New Heaven and New Earth would be ours. The vision that the Apostle John had, was given to give us hope. Jesus promised that He was preparing a forever home for the righteous.

The question: How are we preparing every day to receive our greatest reward?

Fervent prayer, along with studying the scriptures, allows us to stand firm for righteousness and truth. Without spiritual growth, we manifest weakness, indecision and embrace false teachings. The Holy Spirit [our Teacher] manifests His power through our prayers by giving us wisdom and discernment of the scriptures. Leading and guiding us to stay on the Path of Righteousness is just a prayer away.

Without the Holy Spirit we are the five foolish virgins who ran out of oil [the oil represents the Holy Spirit]. Jesus’ parable found in Matthew 25:1-13 has many believers confused. The five wise and five foolish virgins represent two groups of believers. The wise are armored up through the Word of God. Yes, they are studying and praying–spending time with God daily. The five foolish represent those who attend church service weekly, rarely studying the scriptures and mumbling rushed ineffective prayers. Ephesians chapter 6 instructs us on the necessary actions for disciples of Jesus Christ to stay strong in this world of spiritual darkness.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

From our steadfast prayers and study of the Bible, we maintain a connection to Jesus Christ, the source of Light. Stay connected! Our Savior is coming soon!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Prayer: God, we thank you for providing us with guidance to live righteously. We ask for forgiveness for the lack of time we spend with you. Thank you for your grace and mercies given to us day by day. May we continue to be beacons of light by witnessing to the lost. This prayer we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry