All or Nothing

For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37 NIV

Are you a gambler? Do you love the thrill of taking risks? What about the “let’s just wait and see what happens” mindset? Many of us would emphatically say a resounding “No” to those questions, yet we fail to prepare for the greatest event foretold to humanity: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Throughout the Bible, the theme is about Redemption; Jesus was born, lived a short 33 years on the earth, and died on the cross for all humanity to save us from our sins. His sacrifice was necessary because He was sinless and the only one worthy to fulfill the Plan of Salvation, which was in place prior to the creation of human life.

And if the Plan of Salvation is not enough to have you excited and making daily preparation by seeking after righteousness, then the promise made by Jesus: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going. John 14:1-3 NLT; should jumpstart a fervency to prepare for the perfect life that is described in Revelation 21-22. In studying the Bible we become aware of another biblical promise–Jesus’ Second Coming-His return to this earth, for those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior; we are promised the gift of immortality–Eternal life in a New Heaven and New Earth.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. revelation 21:4 NIV. This promise alone should be a catalyst to jumpstart a commitment to give your All and obediently serve God!

God knew that Adam and Eve would fall into temptation, disobey, and commit a grievous sin because they desired much more than God had already given to them. The consequences of their disobedience were severe; evicted from their home–the Garden of Eden–paradise, the loss of immortality, physical and emotional pain, hard work, the murder of their son-Abel by his brother Cain, the aging of their bodies leading to the physical death, and the inability to communicate with Jesus face-to-face. They gambled their entire lives away for the cunning deception of a worthless promise that they would be as “gods” if they ate from the forbidden tree.

Are we falling into the same behaviors as Adam and Eve? What are we gambling away our promise of Eternal Life for? It is guaranteed that the worldly pleasures that will soon cease to exist. Or do we feel that what we give to God is our interpretation of sacrifice?

Although there are no biblical references to validate the holidays of Christmas and Easter–many individuals celebrate these two manmade holidays with zeal and believe there is a religious significance that reflects the birth and death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Is this all that is needed for righteousness by faith? Is this all we must do to be followers of Christ? Is the promise of Eternal life based on the observation of two holidays per year?

The giving of “All” includes the acceptance of Jesus as your personal Savior; daily confession and repentance of sin; dutifully studying the Bible; praying continuously; obedience to God’s commandments; praying for the influx and guidance of the Holy Spirit; casting aside worldly pleasures; possessing unwavering faith and trust in God, and witnessing to others by sharing the Word of God, and providing for those in need.

If you think it is overwhelming to give your all to God, then reflect on your current job description or your daily lifestyle, you are probably burning the candle on both ends without an endpoint. Is it worth it to gamble and practice risky behaviors regarding your salvation that will only place you in a lose-lose situation?

As sinners saved by grace, we have absolutely nothing that we can give to God that constitutes a sacrifice–every good gift, including our life, is given to us by God. Let go of the unhealthy relationships, the pleasurable habits, chasing after the dream, and the pursuit of anything that interferes with placing God first in your life. Because God did not even spare His own Son who died, who suffered shame and spilled His precious blood on the cross; God requires us to give up our idols and to give our very best and our “All” to Him.

Believe that Jesus is alive and well in heaven acting as our Intercessor; He is the reason that God extends His love, grace, and mercy to us even when we are giving nothing. Thank you, Jesus!

Bible Reading: John 14, Revelation 21

Prayer for today: Dear Lord and Father of all mankind, We come to you today simply and humbly asking for you to forgive us for thinking more of ourselves because we have convinced ourselves that we are making sacrifices to follow you. We confess that we are unworthy, and we repent of giving you, what we feel is necessary. It is our desire to follow your plans for our lives and to give to you, our all and all from this day forward. We ask this prayer of confession and repentance in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Soon and very Soon

Good Morning

I had to share these words of encouragement from one of my favorite Christian authors, Sister Ellen G. White.

When your life is filled with tests and trials…just remember…We are almost home; we shall soon hear the voice of the Savior richer than any music, saying, Your warfare is accomplished. Enter into the joy of thy Lord. Blessed, blessed benediction; I want to hear it from His immortal lips. I want to praise Him; I want to honor Him that sits on the throne. I want my voice to echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven. Will you be there? . . . God help us, and fill us with all fullness and power, and then we can taste of the joys of the world to come. Ellen G. White

For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37

Praise the Lord! We are nearing Home!

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings and we ask you to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. We pray for comfort for all who are discouraged and saddened by their circumstances. Please help us to always have the joy and peace that comes from knowing that you are our Heavenly Father. Oh God, we acknowledge that you love us and that you are great, your love and your mercies endure forever and ever. Amen!

Be encouraged! Prepare by Praying, Singing, and Studying the Word of God!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

It’s here! Happy Sabbath!

The Master had special times and places for quiet conversation with His disciples. He met with them…more often on the sacred slopes of the Mount of Olives. Every Christian should have his own Mount of Olives. Most of us today, especially those of us in cities, live under great stress.

From early morning until bedtime we are exposed to the whirlwind of life. Amid all the turmoil, there is little opportunity for quiet thought, God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship of the heart! Come close to the Master for your personal mountain top experience with Him!

From Today’s Devotional–Streams in the Desert–by L. B. Cowman

Deliverance Only from the Source

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

As we study the Old Testament, we realize that the people of Israel faced insurmountable challenges which left them fearful, faithless, and forgetful. They began to focus on their situations instead of reflecting on the countless times in which God had delivered them. What was the basis for their lack of faith and trust in God?

If we fast forward to modern-day Believers, we can still ask the same question: What is the basis for our lack of faith and trust in God?

When we are in a state of suffering, there are times when we may view our situation as hopeless and we become obsessed with our circumstances. Realistically, we must acknowledge that suffering does not feel good and it does have a crushing effect on our mental and emotional well-being. However, it is when our circumstances appear larger than life that God is waiting for our obedience and for us to completely trust in him.  It is at the time when we are fearful, faithless, and forgetful that God is waiting to intervene if we only come to him in prayer.

How important is prayer? Prayer is a gift from God! Prayer is our opportunity to talk to God and to strengthen our relationship with God. Prayer connects us to the source who tells us that, “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8 NLT

When we devote ourselves to rely on God through continuous prayer, we begin to flourish and experience a deeper relationship with Him by realizing that He is our source of strength. Our suffering is beneficial in that we can realize our weaknesses and limitations, which direct us to God; therefore, we grow spiritually by becoming fully dependent on His strength and power.

Our relationship with God must be a dependent relationship; we must completely empty ourselves of the self-reliance that we possess when we are without difficulties. It is the inner battle of trusting in ourselves versus trusting in God that leaves us with doubt and mistrust when the storms of life are upon us.

In order for us to know what God is capable of, we must diligently study His Word-the Holy Bible and believe that if God promised it, then He will always fulfill His promises. Commit to memory the precious promises found in the Bible; read the many miracles and stories of deliverance, especially in the Old Testament. We serve a God who parted the Red Sea and enabled the people of Israel to walk across on dry land–there was no mud on their feet, and once they were safely on the other side, He destroyed their enemies.

Believe in the love that God has for those who are suffering; He sees every tear and hears every prayer. We must travel this journey with complete faith, hope, and trust in God: He says, “…I am that I am…” Exodus 3:14

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 31

Prayer for Today: Dear Merciful Father, We come to you as broken vessels who are faithless. We have forgotten who you are because we have been relying on our own strength. God, we ask forgiveness for our lack of faith and trust in you. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and we thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercy. We pray for unwavering faith, obedience, and the ability to completely trust in you in spite of our circumstances. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. We ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Exposed

For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 WEB

But the words you speak come from the heart–that is what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. Matthew 15:18 NLT

Most of us like to have our picture taken if certain criteria are met; we desire the best angle, maybe a headshot versus a full body shot, and we certainly want the pose and position that shows our best side. Even so, the most interesting part of taking a picture, is that it is an absolute reflection of us whether we choose to like it or to dislike it. The problem is that we view ourselves through our own eyes-although our perception may be distorted, and if our expectations are not met then we usually discard the picture because we feel that it does not reflect who we really are.

The Word of God is more powerful than a photograph; the Word exposes what is truly in our hearts; the Word gives us the absolute truth about ourselves and we are unable to discard our character that has been revealed by God’s Word.

I can recall a conversation many years ago with a co-worker who emphasized that she did not like the new employee who was hired in our department. Considering that it was the individual’s first day and we had not been given the opportunity to interact with her, due to orientation training, I was surprised that my co-worker would make such a statement regarding someone that she was not acquainted with. I began to laugh and started asking probing questions as to why she felt dislike toward a total stranger. Her answer was shocking, “Oh you know how it is when you see someone for the first time and you just don’t like them.” At that point, I was able to see that my co-worker possessed judgmental traits against others not based on reality.

God’s Word is not based on feelings that we can adjust to our likes or dislikes; the Word discerns our true character, and we are fully exposed like a baby who is born naked, into the world. Once we begin to diligently study the Bible, we will realize why Salvation is a life-long journey and we become aware of our misaligned traits that are enmity against God.

Remember that Jesus understands our weaknesses and was tempted, but we also know that He lived a sinless life.

We must not become discouraged over the exposure of our true spiritual photograph; God has not left us alone in our efforts for transformation and the journey of holiness and righteousness. The most wonderful aspect of our lives is that we have a powerful spiritual team: God the Father, Jesus His Son, the Holy Spirit, and our assigned angels-who protect us; our spiritual team are always available when we call on them through prayer. We can be victorious in possessing “a clean heart and a right spirit,” when we manifest Human Effort and surrender to Divine Intervention.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. there we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 NLT

I can [and I will] do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Bible Reading: Hebrews 4

Prayer for today: Dear God, You are awesome! Thank you for your Holy Word that exposes our sinful traits and gives us the awareness that we do not possess a clean heart and a right spirit which you require. We ask forgiveness for the intentional traits that we hold onto that are enmity against you. O God, it is our desire that we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, and to be filled with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your spiritual team, for your grace, your mercy, and your love. Thank you for the full exposure and the opportunity to renounce sin as we continue our journey down the path of Salvation. We thank you and we ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Are you Sure about this?

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

Are you 100% certain that the way you think, your actions, your habits, and the things that you consider important are in sync with the Word of God?

Often it is our desires or our emotions that lead us into a life of sinfulness because we have become accustomed to pursuing worldly pleasures. For those who possess misaligned habits that cause them to have double standards and live a life of compromise, God designates them as “Lukewarm.”

But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:16 NLT

Believer Alert! We are at a high risk to be deceived by Satan’s subtle entrapments on a daily basis. It is our behaviors that he uses to lure us from the narrow Path of Righteousness to the broad Path of Sin. Satan utilizes the powers of observation to place us in an area of compromise based on our personal preferences. Remember, God has not given Satan, a fallen being, the ability to read our minds! It is really a simple process to observe an individual and to learn their likes and dislikes.

Most of us look forward to some type of entertainment; who doesn’t love watching a great movie or reading a great book? There is nothing wrong with being unique in our likes and dislikes; however, our preferences present a problem when our likes cause a conflict between truth and error. Prior to choosing the movie or book, ask yourself, “Do I have to compromise godly standards in order to watch this program or to read this book?”

Let’s focus on a real-life situation: the movie that we have selected to watch has peaked our interest, as we begin to concentrate on the plot, we are feeling good that we have made the right choice; however, when the movie is at the halfway point, the dialogue begins to include “soft profanities,” what decision do we make?

We have reached the crossroads of vital decision-making! Satan is anxiously waiting: Do we overlook the profane words and continue to watch or do we immediately turn the program off and search for something else?

The Apostle Paul expressed the dilemma of humanity:

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15 NLT

Even so, God has the emergency rescue plan and is ready to activate it immediately and every time we are at the Crossroads in our lives. We must take action: All it takes is a humble spirit and a contrite heart to call on God in prayer when we face the challenge of doing what is right-standards determined by God.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

We must continue our journey with a made-up mind; either we are going to obediently follow God’s commands or we will intentionally live according to our personal desires. There is no gray area or life of compromise when we choose to live a godly life. Certainly, we will fall into sin; but we do not have to stay in the pit. It is a personal decision for each of us to make!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NIV

Bible Readings: Proverbs 14, Romans 7

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for the sin of being a lukewarm Christian. We acknowledge that we have chosen compromise and it has become our way of life. Thank you, God, for providing all that we need to seek after righteousness and to live as Overcomers. We are thankful for your love, your grace, and your mercies extended to us although we have done nothing to deserve another chance. Thank you for sacrificing the life of your Son, Jesus that we may be redeemed from our sins. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Basic Training

Study to shew (show) thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

Carefully study to present thyself unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 DRB

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV

Never stop praying! 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

Prior to my acceptance into the nursing program, I was required to complete three core classes: Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, and Microbiology. The minimum grade requirement was a 3.0 or the letter grade “B” with a numerical value of 80-89 as a standard for consideration. The college offered several Anatomy & Physiology classes; however, students with a major in nursing were separated from those declaring other academic majors. The premise of segregation was that if we shared a common goal–to become Registered Professional Nurses–then we would bond with one another, work as a team, and enable the process of the elimination of students who would not progress into the clinical aspect of the program. The separation proved to be effective, over half of the students were unable to achieve the requirements for moving forward to pursue nursing as a career.

As Believers, we must also adhere to Core Values which are designated in the Word of God.

1. Love God!

2. Love Others!

3. Pray continuously!

4. Study the Bible!

5. Stay away from evil!

6. Endure hardships!

7. Always obey, and have faith and trust in God!

8. Live a holy life!

9. Tell others about God!

10. Pray for the Holy Spirit to live within you!

There is not an order of importance to the core values that everyone who desires Eternal life must possess; we are required by God to strive daily and to do our part in the Plan of Salvation which is outlined in the Holy Bible.

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

When we were created by God in His image, He was already aware of the hardships that we would face throughout our lives, and He never expected us to bear our burdens alone.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the comfort that God offers to all:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. for the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. (New Living Translation)

Human Effort always requires Divine Intervention!

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth…John 14 16, 17 first part

The Bible presents the precious promises of God that are still valid for all who choose to believe. We must give up our doubts and completely trust in God in spite of our circumstances. There are many who feel that the Plan of Salvation is full of complexities as if we were walking through a maze that leads to nowhere.

Even so, the path that we walk on in life has a Guide and a Comforter who is the third person of the Godhead. We do not have to analyze or fill in the blanks with our own thought processes by questioning the purpose of the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask for the faith to accept the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Believe that God’s plan is always perfect! There is a purpose for our earthly lives: To prepare ourselves and to witness to others about the Plan of Salvation which includes Eternal Life.

Commit to the Basic Training required of all Believers: God has promised if we do our part, He is always faithful in doing His part.

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” 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 22:7, 12-13 NLT

Bible readings: 2 Corinthians 1, Revelation 21-22

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercies. You are great and we love you. We admit that sometimes we become overwhelmed because we lose our focus and become fixated on our sufferings instead of striving to stay close to you, and for this, we pray for forgiveness. We ask you to fill us with your Holy Spirit and to give us wisdom as we seek knowledge in your Word. Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have Eternal Life through the death of your Son, Jesus Christ who willingly gave His life for us. And we thank you for giving us the hope of the return of Jesus who was resurrected and now acts as our great Intercessor in the heavenly courts. We need your guidance, and we need your strength to make it through our journey. We believe and we commit to the Basic training that is required of us to faithfully and obediently serve you. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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