Spiritual Self-Evaluation

Last night, I prayed a prayer that left me feeling uncertain about my relationship with God. I asked God to reveal “all of my character flaws.” I desire to change and to live my life clothed with Christ’s righteousness. The reward of eternal life that Jesus has promised those who faithfully serve Him;  yes, I desperately want the reward of living with God in a perfect world.

Presently there is the curse of sin upon this world. Even so, God is preparing a New Heaven and New Earth for the righteous to live in forever with Him. 

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. Revelation 22:3.

The reward for the faithful: Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13

Now is the time for us to self-evaluate. I promise you that God will readily answer the prayer of anyone who desires to get rid of ungodly character traits. Never lose hope. We are nearing home!

Bible Readings: Galatians 5:22-23, Hebrews 12:14

God, please reveal the flaws of our characters and our sins that we may confess and repent. We pray to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Following Jesus Can Cost Your Life

Then Jesus said to his disciples, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Prayer: God, we are ready to recommit our hearts, souls, and minds to you. It is our desire to deny our desires and to faithfully serve you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

There is Only One Answer

When I was in nursing school, the consensus was that our Nursing 1 professor was blunt, tactless, and overbearing. The exams had a standardized format with the paragraph question and four multiple-choice questions. Two of the answers were distractors, and the remaining two were closely related. Following an exam, Kathy would review the correct rationale and answer. You would think that students in the first semester of nursing school would not possess the arrogance to challenge an experienced nurse with an advanced degree, but that was not the case. But Kathy aconsistenly used one quote, “If you implemented that action your patient would probably die or suffer serious injury. There is only one correct answer.”

While my classmates were sparring with Kathy, I took notes, writing down the correct answer and rationale. My goal was to become an RN. After our second class, our professor established a zero tolerance policy. The challengers were reminded that they chose to become nurses, and to complete their goal, they would respect the nursing profession and their professor. Clarification of her role followed, and that was to teach the nursing process, which had only one road to travel on. The students were given an ultimatum to accept the theoretical information as presented or withdraw from the program. 

It would have been impossible for me to achieve my goal as a nurse if I did not study countless hours to learn the structure and function of the body along with various disease processes. To achieve my goal also required respect for my professors, their experience, and teaching the accuracy of nursing care for patients.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12.

We are living in a time where many are selecting the wrong answer. Individuals who claim to love and serve God readily challenge the Bible, which God gave to men who were faithful, humble, obedient, and striving for the mark to be holy and live righteous lives. God gave us creativity, which is evidenced by our talents and the ability to learn, which explains why the writing styles of the books of the Bible may vary. But God did not give us the option to interpret His words according to our level of understanding.

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. The question is, “Do we desire eternal life?” Studying the Bible is a requisite to receive eternal life. The Bible is our spiritual mirror, it points out character flaws, and teaches us the correct answers given to us by God. We have a Heavenly Father who anticipated our every need. God did not leave us alone to interpret the scriptures. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. As servants, we do not have to understand how the Holy Spirit teaches nor should we have a list of “why” questions. Our role is to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and wisdom before we study God’s Holy Word. God has prepared a perfect life for those who humble themselves and accept the only correct answer. Read Revelation chapters 21 and 22 daily to remind yourself that the reward of obedience and perseverance is eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14

Bible Study: Philippians 3, and Revelation chapters 21-22

Prayer: God, we desire to learn the only answers that will guide us through our journey and prepare us to receive the reward of eternal life. Please fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may understand truth from error. Lord, give us wisdom as we seek knowledge of your Word. We ask this prayer 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.

It’s an Urgent Matter: Please Talk to God

The quest for simpler lifestyles to achieve peace and tranquility in the busyness of our lives is at an all-time high. Most of us routinely practice precautions to safeguard our physical safety. Businesses are paying attention to the increase of consumers making healthy choices regarding nutritional foods and purchasing clothing and equipment for physical exercise. And Psychologists continue to recommend guarding our mental and emotional health by using stress-reducing techniques and staying clear of toxic relationships.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

We are moving in the right direction, except for improving our spiritual health. When hardships, significant life events, or seasons of darkness overwhelm us, we still do not invite God to be our First-Responder. Prayer must be our immediate “911” call. We carry too many burdens when we fail to cast our cares on Jesus. Without consistent prayer, our faith depletes, and anxiety and worries consume our thoughts. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:27

Prayer is our connection to God, the source of our strength. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Jesus warns us that we can do nothing without him.

The only way to stay connected to the vine is through continuous prayer. We can pray anytime of the day and night to optimize our spiritual health by growing closer to God. Remember, prayer is our lifeline. Make the commitment to have a strong bond with God. Prayer is the only way we can receive life-giving nourishment from the Vine–Jesus Christ.

“Just have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about your troubles. He will hear the faintest cry, He will answer by and by.”

Happy Sabbath!

Bible Study: 1 Thessalonians 5

God, we desire to build our relationship with you and to improve our spiritual health. We thank you for the Sabbath, your gift to humanity. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Our Talents and Abilities

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Most of us have received gifts chosen out of love but forced us to smile and secretly wonder, “What will I do with it?” There is only one Giver of perfect gifts. God always provides us with excellent gifts. Unfortunately, many of us do not recognize that we have received our spiritual gifts [some individuals receive multiple gifts] or we lack understanding of using the gift.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17.

Gifts are usually tangible items of value that we can see, touch, and use for our purpose. But God’s priority is giving us intangible gifts. The writer, artist, mathematician, musician, motivational speaker, or athlete demonstrate their talents and abilities given by God. Do you easily provide comfort and encouragement? John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27. Spiritual gifts enable us to achieve spiritual growth by honoring God and serving others.

Many years ago, I worked with a nurse who was an artist. She would often ask me to explain God’s love but refused to attend church or interact with believers. One evening at work, she shared that as a child, she grew up in an orphanage where she was physically beaten every day because of her outward beauty. Then she asked if she could show me some pictures. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect. When I looked at the beautiful images that reflected artistic genius, I realized that God is merciful. From her pain, God had gifted her with the ability to express “perfect beauty” on canvas.

God placed on my heart to invite her to my church’s health fair, where she brought her paintings for display and taught a class where we learned to paint even if our previous experience was only drawing stick figures. During our next shift, she thanked me for inviting her to church and asked if I had disclosed her background. I answered no and explained that would be a grevious sin against God, and a breach of trust and confidentiality. She then expressed that she felt God’s love from everyone, and finally believed that God does love us. All praise and glory to God.

God has a variety of spiritual gifts. Your gift will probably be different from my gift. Yet, God never leaves anyone empty. If you are not aware of your gift or doubt the reason for your abilities, Peter, Jesus’ disciple, explains:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Living for God requires daily worship through knowledge of the scriptures, constantly praying, having complete faith and trust in God’s plans, and being a servant–helping others. We should never bring attention to ourselves. We use our spiritual gifts [talents, abilities] to bring attention to God. With humility and obedience, our thoughts, words, and actions will reflect the character of Jesus Christ.

How did Jesus use his gifts? The Lamb of God born into poverty used His gifts to offer love, compassion, and healing to those who suffered from mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses. “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” John 8:29.
If you are struggling in your relationship with Christ, pray and ask God to reveal your spiritual gifts and His plan and purpose for your life.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Bible Study: 1 Peter 4

God, we desire spiritual growth and to do Your will. Please reveal our spiritual gifts and your plan and purpose for our lives. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.