Living a Peaceful and Contented Life

I can remember when Believers in God always displayed the inner joy that comes from serving God. There were never any negative words of defeat spoken from their mouths, and the smiles on their faces indicated their rock-solid faith in God. Even in severe trials and sorrows, the Saints of God still praised God.

The gospel singer CeCe Winans recently shared her father’s reaction when their oldest brother passed away in 2005. Pop Winans immediately lifted his hands and began praising God for the life of his son, Ronald, and thanked God for the time that He granted them to enjoy his presence.

I must admit that this is one of the most powerful testimonies that I have ever heard. After watching his son take his final breath, Pop Winans’s faith was so strong that he expressed gratitude to God. I pray every day to have this level of faith in God.

Our lives have evolved into a complicated web of misinformation, the pursuit of wealth, and overwhelming anxiety and worries. We are entangled in life’s complexities because we seek to blend in by accepting and practicing the world’s standards.

Had the coronavirus pandemic hit 20 years ago, ordering groceries and toilet paper from the comfort of your sofa wouldn’t have been nearly as easy. But in May alone, Americans spent over $77 billion through online retailers, and the industry saw sales growth typically reserved for the holiday rush. https://theeagle.com/business/investment/personal-finance/online-shopping-already-hit-holiday-level-peaks-this-year/article_d3aecca3-6a6e-5d84-b3be-8086025bb02c.html

When the Coronavirus developed into a pandemic, it was then that I started to read¬†Matthew 6:19-34 over and over again. My mindset and my spending habits changed to reflect necessities over desires. I reviewed my tangible long-term goals and eliminated them as I begin to focus on spiritual growth. I intentionally changed the way I prayed. “God, I want to thank you for… ,” was the beginning of my morning and evening prayers.

Throughout the day, I uttered prayers and lifted up songs of praise to God. And then I begin to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.¬†It was then that I begin to notice a change in my temperament. I felt an overwhelming peace that I had never experienced before. The inner joy began to display itself through laughter and smiles on my face. My conversation included gratitude for God’s love, grace, and mercy. I received the blessing of God’s peace by intentionally possessing the mindset of appreciation, accepting that I have everything that I need, and continually praising God with thanksgiving for His provisions.

King David says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Jesus, our Wonderful Lord, and Savior reminds us:¬†“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Finally, the Apostle Paul shares his spiritual wisdom: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12 NIV

And how is this possible? For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

God, we want to thank you for your love, grace, and mercy. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, that we are forgiven of our sins and have the opportunity to live with you forever in the New Heaven and New Earth. Most of all, thank you for the gifts of food, shelter, and clothing. We pray that we will never forget to keep a song in our hearts and a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. Please give us the strength to endure and always embrace and receive your unconditional love as our Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

 

 

Letting Go

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourself from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17

Growing up in a home with a Mother who was an Ordained Minister included strict guidelines and mandated obedience. We were not allowed to watch many television programs or cartoons, wear seductive clothing, or have friends who were unbelievers. It was not her intent for our family to blend in by adapting to the world’s ungodly standards. Although my father was not as strict as my Mother, he respected that she was a “Woman of God.”

Once I became “grown” and desired to explore the world, the first thing that I did was to pierce my ears, four piercings in each ear. In today’s standards, that wouldn’t even cause a reaction. But then the domino effect started. The love for expensive jewelry caused me to stop giving tithes and offerings.¬†“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8.¬†The transition to becoming a worldling was easy because I stopped studying the Bible and no longer attended church.

I never stopped believing in God. But serving God and living righteously were not my priorities any longer. Satan allowed me to meet a good man who was faithful, did not party, drink, smoke, or use profanity. But remember that there is always a gimmick when the gift is from Satan. Yes, my “good man” did not believe in marriage and was a self-proclaimed agnostic.¬†

There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred, and their life made a weariness. In order to gratify ambition and worldly desires, they wound the conscience and bring upon themselves an additional burden of remorse.

The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. . . . He bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 330.

Long ago, the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 31:3

Although I had given up on God by being enticed by the things of the world, God did not give up on me. One day, I was driving and saw a store, “One Dollar or More,” that caused me to stop. As I was browsing, an older woman approached me and started a conversation about the unique items that were in the store. Then she said, “God misses you.” I can tell you that was a “Jesus is LORD!” experience. She invited me to her church. I turned to resume shopping but then realized that I did not thank her. From where I was standing, I could easily see throughout the store. She was not in the store, so I went outside, but she was not there. Since this store was in New Jersey, the only parking available was metered parking. I do know this, that as old as the woman was, there is no way she could have disappeared in a moment.

I started attending church and was rebaptized. It was then the “Satan vs God” battle started. I ended the relationship with the good man before my rebaptism, but he wanted to remain just friends. Soon, I realized that he was a distraction. I had to make a choice, and that choice was painfully difficult. Even so, when God says that He always makes a way out from temptation and that he will never leave you or forsake you, He stands by His promises. As a newly baptized member, the church assigned a spiritual mentor who was a prayer warrior. God made sure that I did not have to fight alone.

As for the older woman, when I described her to the church members, I was told that no one fitting that description had ever attended their church. I believe that God sent one of His messenger angels to approach me as a kind, and soft-spoken godly woman to let me know that He still loved me, and He wanted me to return to Him.

For most of my life, I have traveled on a path of suffering. Nevertheless, God has always placed His loving arms around me. I encourage each of you to give up all worldly desires by following the will of God which places us in harmony with God. Yes, we will continue to struggle in our walk with God. Even so, when we live by faith and obedience, we will reap the benefits of having complete peace in our stormy trials and sorrows. And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. Amen!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 ESV¬†

God, we thank you for never giving up on us. We ask for forgiveness of our sins. We need your strength to overcome all worldly temptations. Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and loving us unconditionally. We pray this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. 

¬© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

Happy Sabbath-Your Divine Purpose

Are you aware that each of us who has joined the Army of God has a Divine purpose? Without exception, yes, we do. 

When God called Jeremiah, he was young and fearful. Yet, as only our Heavenly Father can, God not only reassured him that He would be with him at all times, God also promised young Jeremiah that He would tell him what to say.

The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah. Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions. Jeremiah 1:2

4 The Lord gave me this message: 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” 6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” 7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” 8 “And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth!” Jeremiah 1:4-9

In 2015, I injured my left knee, which left me in an immobilizer and on crutches. I was on vacation in another state and limited to very few activities. When the Emergency Room physician came in to speak to me about the extent of the injury, he inquired as to why I was visiting Upstate, New York. I explained that I used to live there and was on vacation to see friends. He stated, “Have a great time, but I need you do me a favor, as soon as you return to Texas please make an urgent appointment with an Orthopedic Dr.”

Little did I realize, the Ortho consult would reveal information that would significantly impact my life. After looking at numerous knee x-rays, the Orthopedic surgeon began to inquire if I had previous problems with my knees. I gave him the history of experiencing bilateral knee pain while standing for long periods. His next words were like a hammer striking a nail that would not go down into the wood, “Compared to your age, I have never seen damage like this, what do you do for a living?” To which I replied, “This is my 37th year as a Nurse.” And then He delivered the final blow, “Well, Sonya, your career as a nurse is over!”

As I struggled to comprehend the seriousness of his statement, my voice quivered when I asked, “What do you mean?” As we reviewed my x-rays, the Doctor explained that my knees were bone-on-bone. The cartilage that cushions the knee joint was worn away from the many years of delivering patient care, and I needed total replacements in both knees. I left the Doctors office with a customized knee brace and for three months focused on the healing process as I endured the rigors of aquatic physical therapy.

After seeking a second and third opinion, which confirmed my diagnosis, I gradually accepted that walking on sand, grass, uneven surfaces, riding a bike, and climbing up and down steps was over. My love of roller-coaster rides came to a halt due to the jerking motions that could cause further damage to my knees. Still, I worked for two more years in a non-clinical setting that did not involve patient care. But in 2017, my knee gave way, and I sustained a fall with injuries, causing retirement from active nursing in 2017.

I remained on an emotional roller-coaster. I had devoted my life to caring for those in need, using every opportunity to share the love of Jesus. My heart was heavy. Every day I thought about the fact that I could not function as a nurse. In my sorrow, I prayed and asked God what He wanted me to do? It was then that God revealed His miraculous plans for my life. While cleaning out a file drawer, I found a sermon that I delivered in 2007, titled, Feed My Sheep. Little did I realize that 10 years later, I would begin sharing the good news that Jesus loves us, Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, and that Jesus is coming again to online readers on a global level. Mainly due to my limited tech skills.

God paved the way to facilitate my recovery by improving by health. I attended a seminar on using a plant-based diet to reverse Diabetes. Not only did I lose weight, I no longer required anti-diabetic medication. My lifestyle has completely changed allowing me to achieve an optimal level of health. Although my physical activity is restricted, I can walk one-mile and I rejoice that I have been delivered from the chronic pain that I suffered from. I eagerly await God’s promises of a physical transformation in which I will receive new knees that will never grow old.

I am sharing my testimony to encourage others. God revealed His Divine purpose for my life when I was suffering from the agony of defeat. Praise God! Hallelujah! When God ordains your purpose, nothing can prevent it from coming to fruition. Pray and ask God to reveal His Divine purpose for your life. Just as He told Jeremiah, I am with you, and I will tell you what to say, God is with us.

The Great Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1

God, thank you for the Sabbath. We ask you to reveal your Divine purpose for our lives. Please give us the courage to overcome our fears as we fulfill your plans for our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

A Child-like Faith

When children are raised in a healthy environment, they develop positive and noticeable character traits and behaviors. It is the love and nurturing from the parents or caregivers who provide the foundation for healthy growth and development. When these conditions exist, the child expresses inner joy by giving hugs and kisses, and saying, “I love you.” They only anticipate goodness because they trust in their parents to provide for their needs. In fact, children who are in the earlier stages do not anticipate disappointment. It is not even part of their thought processes. They have 100% faith–total belief that Mommy and Daddy will do exactly as they say they will do.

The pre-school ages of 4-5 reflect an inner joy expressed by smiling, laughter, and excessive bursts of energy. They become very friendly and have the desire to please and help others. Yes, there are many remarkable developmental milestones in this stage, but we will focus on the social and emotional traits and healthy movement of the body:

Social and emotional milestones that indicate healthy development

  • Wants to please friends
  • Wants to be like her friends
  • More likely to agree to rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbor alone¬†
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative

Movement milestones

  • Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
  • Hops, somersaults
  • Swings, climbs
  • May be able to skip

Reference: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-4-to-5-Year-Olds.aspx

God, we thank you for another day of life in which we have received a large portion of your love, grace, and mercies. We ask forgiveness of our sins, and we ask you to open our minds and give us understanding and wisdom that we may receive and believe in your promises. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

Our spiritual journey begins with total faith and the acceptance of Jesus Christ. We openly agree that Jesus is the Son of God and that His death provided the necessary sacrifice for the redemption of our sins. We also affirm that Jesus was resurrected and is in heaven and that He will come again to receive and reward the faithful.¬†Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64 ESV

As Believers in the Most-High God, we must have spiritual growth and development based on unwavering faith, trust, and obedience to God. Complete and total faith is 100% belief in God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6. When we accepted Salvation, it was through our faith–we believed, as children do, what we heard or read about Jesus was the absolute truth.

Spiritual Milestones

    • Actively, loves God and loves others
    • Wants to please God
    • Desires to have the Character of Christ
    • Determined to live a holy and righteous life
    • Always agrees to God’s precepts and commands
    • Strives for growth by consistently studying the Bible and praying
    • Engages in daily praise and worship
    • Gives faithfully through tithing and offerings
    • Believes in all of God’s promises¬†
    • Becomes totally dependent on God
    • Practices faith, trust, obedience, and patience
    • Avoids all sinful temptations
    • Seeks to help those in need
    • Shares the Plan of Salvation with others
    • Prepares for Eternal life

I cannot imagine my life without God. My journey has included some painful events that would have left me permanently scarred, broken-hearted, and emotionally unstable. But I decided to accept and believe in God’s promise that¬†He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3.¬†I recognized that I had to exercise Human Effort to grow my Seed of Faith. By learning who God is through the diligent study of the Bible and fervent prayer, my faith started to flourish. And the determination to believe in God, His promises, and His power became stronger as I became wholly dependent on Him.

King David shares the traits of God’s unconditional love:

Sing to the LORD, O you His saints, and praise His holy name. For His anger is fleeting, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 BSB

We are approaching the end of earth’s history as we know. Even so, we are not to be fearful or distressed. Jesus has promised,¬†“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

Through faith, strive to reach your spiritual milestones. Jesus is coming for us. If we faithfully believe and think deeply about His promise, we will possess overflowing joy. And as pre-school children, we will spiritually jump, hop, skip and turn somersaults because we serve a loving and compassionate Heavenly Father. He is patiently waiting for us to become child-like and faithfully depend on Him.

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. Revelation 22:20-21

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.  

Preparing to Move

My best friend and her husband are relocating to another part of our town. As we talked about the strenuous task of preparing for the move, I asked her to tell me about her plan for a smooth transition. The first step was to identify all of the things that were no longer a useful part of their lives and eliminate them, either by donating or throwing them away.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1

Believers in God, we are also preparing to move. God has promised us life in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Although we are making preparation by faithfully trusting in God, obeying His precepts, studying the Bible, and praying, God is actively involved in preparing us to achieve spiritual perfection. And that is where suffering enters our lives. God sees and knows the things that are not useful in our characters. He begins to get rid of the traits that would prevent us from receiving our greatest reward, immortality in a perfect and beautiful New Heaven and New Earth.

Do you think about the journey more than you think about the reward?

Now let’s do some real talk about the process of getting rid of our sins and undesirable traits. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.¬†Yes, Jesus told us that we would suffer many trials and sorrows, but to “take heart” because He overcame every burden, all suffering, and difficulties through His earthly journey.¬†

Jesus’ death was for you and me. Now that He is fulfilling the role of our Heavenly Intercessor remember these words: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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 14:1-3

What is the meaning of “take heart?” It means to “Be courageous!” So, in one scripture, we are forewarned that we will have many trials and sorrows, but to have peace and courage because Jesus, our Lord, has promised to see us through. I will be the first to testify that suffering does not feel good. I often wish that I had a delete option to get rid of the impurities in my character. When I feel down, God reminds me that He is fulfilling His plans for my spiritual makeover. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 BSB

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.… Romans 5:3-5 BSB

Through constant prayer, praise, and worship, I am slowly beginning to have an in-depth understanding and acceptance of “the why of suffering.” I pray for each of us that we will focus on the triumph of our faith when we embrace God’s plan for our spiritual perfection.

One of my very dear Sisters-in-Christ, Lori Fish, shared this testimony in 2017:

After lunch today, several of us were sitting in the living room talking, and the conversation steered to Salvation, Bible study, and how crazy our world is.

I was reminded of one of my Bible Teachers at Maplewood Academy. It was my junior year. His name was Dale Rhodes, I believe, and he and his wife had been missionaries for years in Singapore if I remember correctly. During class one day, he made a statement that has stuck with me to this day. Our senses are the five avenues to the soul. We won’t make it to heaven by making decisions based on our feelings.

We cannot make spiritual decisions without studying for ourselves and make sure we ask the Holy Spirit to show us the facts. So often, we make decisions because “it seems right.” Our sinful human nature takes in all that worldly knowledge through the five avenues, and we try to choose things based on all that rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us through the truth – God’s Word. My prayer is that I won’t let my senses get in the way of my salvation. How about you? Lori Fish

This beautiful prayer of thanksgiving was posted on Facebook:

Heavenly Father, thank you for anticipating my needs and knowing what is best for me. Being Your child has been my happiness, and I can’t wait to see Your loving face and spend eternity with You! In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen! (Name deleted)

Our perspective of suffering will either propel us to gain the victory or lose out on our eternal reward. It is my prayer that each of us embraces God’s promises:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

Bible Reading: Isaiah 43

God, we come before you with praise and thanksgiving for loving us. Thank you for your grace and mercies of patiently taking the time to reveal our character defects and guiding us through our suffering. Please give us the wisdom to recognize that you are performing a mighty work within that we may be ready when Jesus comes again to gather the faithful and the obedient. We ask for forgiveness for not accepting your plans for our lives. We trust you to take us through the deep waters and to come out as victorious overcomers. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

Our Beliefs: Biblical or Not

In my distress, I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple, he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6

Good Morning, Thank you, God, for the new mercies of a new day. Amen.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to witness on social media. Understanding that I am simply a messenger, before I responded to the comment, I prayed and asked for the Holy Spirit’s Divine intervention. But before sharing the story, I would like to provide just a snippet of my background. Although I pursued Nursing and Business Management pathways, for a reason unknown to me at the time, I chose Eastern and Western religions as elective courses. God revealed the answer to His guidance in choosing my electives a decade later.

The author of the post asked this question, “How often do you think about heaven?” to which most of the responses affirmed that thoughts of heaven were always on their minds, except one individual. She stated, “Heaven is not a place, it is a state of mind, and starvation, homelessness, and other conditions are hell on earth.” Usually it is a natural response to use the Holy Bible as the authority and basis for our beliefs. However, the individual stated her views according to the “Bible” used in their denomination. (Disclaimer: I do not judge the religious beliefs of others.)¬†

So what do you think happened next? The intent to persuade others, mostly on the part of the person who believes that “Heaven is not a place…” actually made several follow-up posts with the concepts that she believed in. But I was surprised when the comments included racist remarks. The words were too harsh and projected an angry tone. I decided to keep scrolling, but then the Holy Spirit told me to write. I felt like Moses when he asked God, “Who shall I say sent me?” I sat and reread the comments but did not move my fingers. I said, “God, do you want me to get involved in this online debate?” Not only was this a religion that I was very familiar with, but I also did not wish to be part of a biblical debate, which involved “two different Bibles from two separate religious systems.”

Again, I heard, “Write!” So, I prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and began to type. The answer given to me was as follows:

(Name intentionally deleted) What if you are wrong? Then what? You see, the thing that I have learned about humanity is that when one rejects the truth, according to God, is that they never really think about the consequences. We were created with free will that always gives us a choice. But our spiritual choices determine whether we will receive eternal life or destruction. I have studied many religions and denominations. But I decided to accept the Plan of Salvation because it guarantees eternal life in a perfect New Heaven and New Earth, and I am willing to stake my life on it, that I am not wrong with my decision.

It is not our role to convince others of the truth. Even so, there are times that God directs us to be His mouthpiece. But He does it in a manner where He always receives the glory.

We must understand that Satan has the upper hand when we participate in religious debates. If the response of non-acceptance is verbalized or the tone of the conversation becomes hostile, retreat immediately. When we share the truth, and it is not accepted, how does God expect us to respond? Whoever does not receive you or does not listen to what you say, as you leave that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Matthew 10:14. 

We live in a time where we are bombarded with misinformation. Reflect on your current beliefs. Are they biblically based? Since there are numerous bibles and various doctrinal beliefs, you may ask which Bible are you referring to? And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14.

 1. The Holy Bible that contains both the Old and New Testaments and is written under the inspiration of God.
2. The Holy Bible that validates all 10 commandments, including the Seventh-day Sabbath.
3. The Holy Bible that identifies The Trinity as God the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, which are 3-in- 1.
4. The Holy Bible that reflects Jesus Christ is the Son of God that He was crucified and died for the redemption of our sins, that He arose, and is currently in heaven fulfilling the role as our Heavenly Intercessor.
5. The Holy Bible that explains the Plan of Salvation is only available through Jesus and reiterates that confessions, repentance, and forgiveness of our sins are only granted through God.
6. The Bible that documents baptism by immersion (if physically possible), the Communion service, and foot washing–the Ordinance of Humility are part of our worship to God.
7. The Bible that promises the anointing of the Holy Spirit when we ask in prayer.
8. The Bible that refutes human beings receive immortality immediately following death and are presently in heaven looking down on us.
For the Lord, himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJV. The Bible does not support the concept of disembodied spirits, which is a pagan practice. The scriptures provide proof of only three men who did not see physical death and were translated: Enoch, Elijah, and Moses who are the only human beings currently in heaven.
9. The Bible proclaims, Yes, the Second Coming of Jesus is the most significant event for humanity where the faithful will receive their reward of immortality and life in the presence of God in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

This list is not all-inclusive of the fundamental beliefs that God has provided for us through His Holy Word, the Bible. However, it is what I have been directed to identify as truths that Satan has interjected false teachings into like he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden.¬†Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” Genesis 3:4

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17 NLT.

When God tells us to turn away from all immoral, sinful things and activities, He has a valid reason. Our five senses gather information, and once we are exposed, our brain processes the information and stores it as memory. Yes, you can try to disregard what you saw, read, heard, ate, or touched, but it is too late. We cannot take back our actions. Strive to make wise and godly choices because we cannot erase our experiences.

Please reflect on your current belief system. It is easy to follow traditions, doctrines, cultural guidelines, and accept trendy information such as the prosperity message. God has never promised that we would be wealthy. Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Galatians 3:2.

If there is a fundamental belief that you are confused about, or you cannot accept it because it does not appear to be rational. Pray for revelation. Even so, we must accept that there are mysteries in the Bible that God will explain to us when we received immortality and life in the New Heaven and New Earth. 

The Apostle Paul explains: Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Please do not let anything become a stumbling-block that causes you to lose out on Eternal life. Pray and fast for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth about any belief that has you bound. The same Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost who enabled those present to speak other tongues (languages) to witness to the multitude gathered outside is the Holy Spirit that will guide you to discard the beliefs that are not from God. (Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded because every man heard them speak in his own language. Acts 2:6 KJV)

God, we pray for Divine intervention and blessings upon your people who are striving to serve you. We are in the valley of decision and turmoil because we have heard many different and conflicting doctrines. Therefore, we humbly call on you Father God to anoint us with your Holy Spirit. We ask for you to reveal all truth whereby we must be saved. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

Be Encouraged

Then one of the elders addressed me: “These in white robes,” he asked, “who are they, and where have they come from?” “Sir,” I answered, “you know.” So he replied, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13-14 BSB

Good Morning! We have received the gift of another day. Great is God’s faithfulness. He is always proving that His love is unconditional and has no boundaries.¬†The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Yes, the year 2020 has brought the most challenges that many of us have ever endured. Even so, God has allowed the distractions that would prevent us from receiving our reward of Eternal life to be removed. When feeling overwhelmed, make Jesus’ great sacrifice personal, verbalize: “Jesus died for me.” Have you considered the suffering that Jesus went through for the redemption of our sins? Great athletes do not achieve their abilities overnight. They have the mindset that they are willing to overcome every obstacle in their journey to receive the reward of being the best.

The Apostle Paul, who endured stoning, beaten with whips, ship-wrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, and imprisoned with heavy chains, still used every opportunity to rejoice and praise God. How did Paul get through his severe trials and suffering? He possessed the only mindset that all who believe in God should have:¬†Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 3:3-5 ESV

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, proclaims:

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold‚ÄĒthough your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7 NLT

James defines suffering as joy:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.… James 1:2-4 BSB

Without trials, we would fall into the abyss of self-reliance. It is our faith in God that keeps us spiritually grounded. We live a purpose-driven life to serve God! To receive our reward of Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth, we must be holy and acceptable to God. Not judging ourselves by our standards, but possessing and reflecting the character of Jesus Christ. 

I am very thankful that my trials have a purpose, to get rid of the debris from sin. When I compare myself to Galatians 5:22-23 and Hebrews 12:14, I realize that God is giving me time to change. Please know that we are never alone in our spiritual transformation. It is the teamwork of Human Effort + Divine Intervention that produces victorious outcomes. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

God is giving us time to confess, repent, and Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14. Even so, live with the urgency that Jesus is coming soon!

Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and its works will be laid bare.…2 Peter 3:8-10 BSB

Believers in the Most-High God, we have our greatest hope in Jesus Christ. Know that our present lives, which have trials and sorrows, is merely part of our earthly journey. But this is not how the story ends!¬†“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelation 22:12

God, we thank you for loving us. Your grace and mercies flow freely to us day-after-day. We ask you to forgive us for desiring an easier path to travel as we strive for holiness. We know that your plans are perfect. Please give us your strength today as we begin to view life through spiritual eyes. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.