The Uncertainty of Life

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

Answer the questions with yes or no:

1. Do you feel secure with the status of your life?

2. Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause you to feel even more insecure about your future?

3. Are you hoping that 2021 will bring new opportunities to your present circumstances?

4. Are your doubts and fears preventing God from bringing blessings and deliverance to your life?

God is fully aware of our abilities and limitations. The Bible is filled with unlimited promises and testimonies of God’s grace and mercies to humanity. We can be thankful that God will never tell us to figure out how to resolve our problems. There are no setbacks that God cannot make as a stepping stone to victory. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Confess your doubts and fears to God in prayer. Present your circumstances and faithfully wait for His victorious answer. And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Commit in 2021 to: Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

God, we admit that we are not feeling courageous about our present circumstances. But we do know that we need you in our lives. We pray for your Divine Intervention to calm our fears and to give us peace. Holy Spirit, please provide comfort and the reassurance that we are loved. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

Living by the Spirit’s Power– Sabbath Devotional, 1/8/2021

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…. 1 Corinthians 6:19

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16

To believe in God, we must also believe in the Trinity Godhead-God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. It appears that the least understood is the third person of the Godhead, who is the Holy Spirit.

We will not take an analytical approach or attempt to dissect the purpose of the Holy Spirit. Our approach to the Holy Spirit is one through total faith, which is a requisite to believe the biblically based definition. Faith facilitates wholehearted acceptance and understanding of the power and purpose of the Holy Spirit. 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. There are mysteries in the scriptures that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend, yet, because we love God and believe in Him, we acknowledge and embrace the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If God said it, then it is the truth! 

The Holy Spirit existed before Jesus came to this earth and before the day of Pentecost. In fact, we were promised the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekial 36:26-27

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit to His Disciples

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:15-17

Attributes of the Holy Spirit

  1. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Isaiah 11:2
  2. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 ESV
  3. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

The Day of Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.

4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. 5 At that time, there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!” Acts 2:1-7

From reading Acts chapter 2, verses 1-7, we receive God’s explanation of precisely what “speaking in tongues” is and what it is not, an unknown language. 

Serving God requires total faith, or it truly is impossible to please Him. The Plan of Salvation requires that we accept and believe in all of the Bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Now that we are aware of who the Holy Spirit is and His purpose, we can tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. By praying to be filled, to be guided, and to be comforted by the Holy Spirit we step forward in our faith-based journey. If you have made this commitment: Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 BSB, then you are ready to take your relationship with God to a deeper level.

Accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior requires faith. There are many things that we can imagine are a certain way. However, with faith, either you have it, or you do not. Faith requires constant and consistent human effort, faith is action. We make decisions every day regarding what we will wear, eat, drink, whether to pray or study the Bible. Faith is a choice, and it will take a concerted effort every time we are faced with a challenge to pray and believe that God will bring resolution and victory over all trials and sorrows that we face. “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

Initially, when we begin an exercise program, such as walking every day. We may start with 1-2 blocks or half of the walking course. Even so, as we continue to walk, our body builds strength, stamina, and endurance—our mindset changes as we begin to feel and see the changes in our mind and body. With perseverance, our blocks become miles, and we begin to smile and laugh more because we are proud of our accomplishment.

Spiritually, having faith in God takes us to a higher level in our relationship than we could ever imagine. Human Effort: If we pray and believe that God will always work it out for every challenge we face, then we are exercising our faith. Eventually, when troubles come our way, we have the confidence and reassurance to obey by patiently waiting on God. Divine Intervention: It takes the power of the Trinity Godhead for us to attain spiritual growth.

The inner joy, and peace of mind that we are missing can easily belong to us, if we put forth the effort to build and strengthen our faith!

The Holy Spirit is available to propel us into having a strong, faith-based foundation in our relationship with God. Through prayer, we extend our invitation to the third person of the Trinity to give us the power to be overcomers through Jesus Christ. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

God, we desire to live a faith-based life and with divine purpose. Please forgive us for our sins. We now understand that we cannot exist without the Holy Spirit. God, we pray to be filled, be led, be comforted, and receive knowledge and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. As we worship you on this Sabbath, we know that you can give us a Day of Pentecost experience, and we ask you to do this for your children. Thank you for providing all that we need to live victoriously as overcomers. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Link for additional scriptures on the Holy Spirit:

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

Catch-Phrase Christians

What does the word “Christian mean to you?” For me, it means Christ-like, possessing Jesus’ character, and following Him even unto death. I recognize that prayer to God is the only way to communicate with God, and I can boldly approach the throne of grace without mediation from a pastor, priest, or human-made idol.

As a follower of Christ, I possess love, faith, trust, and obedience to all of God’s commandments, including Saturday, the seventh-day Sabbath. I believe in the Trinity Godhead-God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. I acknowledge and accept that the Bible, the Word of God, was written by men of God under Divine Inspiration and has never changed and is still valid. And the Bible is where our focus will be today.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle (the smallest letter or stroke) will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matthew 5:18

The lack of desire to diligently study the Word of God is not a new phenomenon. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:6

Living by God’s truth requires consistent effort:

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

What exactly defines a “Catch-phrase Christian? One that does not possess knowledge of the Bible and filibusters by using their own opinions as answers.

Just yesterday, we had an insurrection against the democratic system of the United States of America. Was your response similar to any of these responses?

It’s a shame what is going on in the United States.

Nothing surprises me anymore.

The President is at fault.

This is what happens when you cheat someone that should rightfully be the President for the next four years.

They are taking a stand to Make America great again.

If so, then you are a Catch-phrase Christian who is unaware that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled and these events indicate the closing of this earth’s history. Nor are you preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus because studying, hearing, and obeying the scriptures is a mandated part of serving God.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For those of us who are studying the Holy scriptures, we know why the insurrection happened:

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 2 Timothy 3:1-4

If we only performed part of our job duties, our employer would institute a Performance Improvement Plan’s disciplinary action, and further non-compliance would lead to termination. Yet, for many, they choose how they will serve the Most-High God. If they read the Bible at all, the search is for feel-good scriptures. But feelings do not last, and the disobedience of not studying all of the Bible leaves us with anxiety, worries, and depression. We cannot have the peace of God when we have no idea who God is, and disregard the only method of gaining knowledge of God. We cannot have personal relationships with strangers.

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy about the Catch-phrase, counterfeit Christians: They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:5

God has provided us with all of the knowledge we need to prepare for the times of persecution that are upon us. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13, But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 2 Timothy 3:12-13

Ephesians 6:11-18 admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God, which includes the diligent study of the Bible.

The continuation of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy:

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:14-16

Human Effort: As soldiers in the Army of God, the scriptures, along with prayer, faith, trust, and obedience to God, equip us to stand against Satan, the enemy of humanity. The study of the Word of God has a definitive purpose: God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:17

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

We do not have to blend in with unbelievers by being a Catch-phrase Christian. Stand out by proclaiming the Word of God. Yes, you will be shunned by others, maybe even those who profess to be believers. But we must not concern ourselves about what others think about us. Know this, everyone did not reject Jesus Christ. When we boldly proclaim the scriptures, they will not be heard only by the scoffers. Many individuals are just waiting for someone to tell them that there is a Savior, Jesus Christ, who provides love, peace and unspeakable joy to those who faithfully serve Him.

The diligent study of the Bible will prevent us from the pitfalls of “Catch-phrase Christianity.” Study, pray, and witness by proclaiming the Word of God. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13

God, we thank you for the scriptures that provide the knowledge that we need to live holy and obediently. We ask forgiveness for not studying the Bible. Please reveal the meaning of your words, and give us wisdom for a spiritual transformation. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. 

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

“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10

The Commitment

Prayer: Lord, we desire to serve you and to live according to your will. We thank you for the mercies of a new day. Please forgive us for our sins. We ask for your blessings upon our lives. We pray this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. As I listened to this song of dedication and commitment to God, I asked myself, “Are you willing to serve God with all that you have to give?” My answer to God was through a heartfelt prayer that included, “Create in me a clean heart, O, God and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

In the past, I have possessed self-reliance, made many mistakes from disobedience, failed to diligently study the Bible, and had a hit-and-miss prayer life. But today, my prayer of consecration was to give my heart, soul, and mind to serve God for the remainder of my life. 

I encourage you to make a complete commitment to God. He truly loves us and is sending Jesus, His Son, for us very soon.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though 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 1:6-7 NLT

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

The Difference Should Be Obvious

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Serving God sets us apart from unbelievers. Can others see that you reflect the light of Jesus Christ? So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16 ESV. What about your character? But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23

Performing good deeds is not the same as accepting Jesus as our personal Savior and living holy and righteous lives. Many philanthropists and those who volunteer to alleviate the suffering of others embrace atheistic and agnostic beliefs. And yes, there are individuals who believe in a higher power outside of themselves. Even so, their faith is not in the “I AM.” They worship idols, angels, imaginary part human and part animal demigods, nature, practice witchcraft and divination, and then there is self-worship. 

It is easy to find self-appointed false prophets who convince others they are foretelling the future or speaking to the dead, along with persons who claim to be equal to God. One of the most sinister and rapidly growing cults is the Church of Satan–Satanism, where his followers are pulled in because of greed, which is now known as the “joy of excess.” 

Do not be intimidated by Satan! We should acknowledge that the greatest enemy of humanity has evil power. Refer to “The Fall of Man” in Genesis 3. But Satan’s power and deceit can never overshadow the power of God the Almighty. Satan will never have the unlimited ability to do what he would love to do, and that is to destroy every true believer of the Most-High God.

We have a Godhead: God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit who will always limit Satan, yet, provide us with the power against sin if we do our part.

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. Galatians 5:16-18 NLT

Our thoughts, spoken words, demeanor, behaviors, and actions indicate who we are loyal to, God, or Satan. The friends that we hang out with, the places we visit, the management of our time and money, the food we eat, and how we dress should loudly proclaim, “I believe in and serve the only God, the “I Am,” who has completely transformed my life.

Joshua challenged the Nation of Israel, who loved paganism, “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 NLT

Make it obvious that you serve God, even if it means letting go of relationships. 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.

If it is difficult to know which relationships are beneficial to righteous living, begin the elimination process by asking your friends to be prayer partners and to study the Bible with you. Believing in God and dedicating your life to Him through love, faith, trust, and obedience is required to live a holy and righteous life. Because we are naturally loyal to sin, we need the Godhead to attain spiritual growth and overcome sinful tendencies. And that is why God tells us to separate ourselves from unbelievers. We don’t need additional opposition in our day-to-day lives.

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

God’s promise of a better life is coming very soon for those who serve Him with their heart, soul, and mind: Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2

God, we ask for your divine power as we strive to live holy and acceptable lives. Please reveal to us the people, places, and things we must give up to live righteously. We need your strength to overcome sin. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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


Static Interference

Do you listen to the radio? Among all forms of media, radio is still the most popular. Invented by Guglielmo Marconi: an Italian inventor, he proved the feasibility of radio communication. Marconi sent and received his first radio signal in Italy in 1895.

Is radio still relevant today? Listener habits have changed, but our love for radio hasn’t. Discover why radio is still popular, outperforming podcasts and TV in the digital era. Across all demographics, Nielsen demonstrates that radio is still the most popular form of media in America. Radio reaches 90% of adults aged 18-34, 94% aged 35-49, and 91% aged 50 and older. That being said, here are our thoughts on why radio is still popular today.

As much as we enjoy radio broadcasts that have stood the test of time, there is one element that plagues radio, static interference.

Static is the noise produced in a radio or television receiver by atmospheric or natural, or man-made electrical disturbances and the electrical disturbances producing this noise.

Yes, static is something that remains entirely above our technological capabilities. Even so, we have adapted and readily expect noise interference to occur at some point during our listening enjoyment.

Daily I pray and ask God to reveal the thoughts and behaviors that prevent me from fulfilling my divine purpose to live righteously. I will share the answer that the Holy Spirit placed in my mind: As Believers, we have too many concerns that have nothing to do with serving God.

Like the radio that will forever be plagued with static interference, we have also placed ourselves in a position to suffer from static. We have allowed people, our day-to-day challenges, and our fluctuating emotions to create ongoing interference. The noise that we allow in our lives stands in the way of our commitment to establish and maintain an unwavering, faith-based relationship with Jesus Christ. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 1 John 3:7

In 2021, reduce the static interference of too many concerns by redirecting your focus. Begin by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Use your Facebook page, TikTok, Instagram, youtube, etc., to help others. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT. If you believe that God helps us to overcome, then share your testimony. Let others know that there is a loving God who can help us gain victory over the static noise in our lives.

Living by the Word of God can only be done by diligently studying the Bible. Remain faithful to Jesus by whispering a prayer throughout your day. Have a meaningful praise and worship session with God at least twice a day. And most importantly, Jesus says, “If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15. Without obedience, we fall back into our old habits from a former lifestyle of sin. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

God, we thank you for the ability to develop a strong relationship with you. We desire to eliminate the static interference that prevents us from serving you with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Please help us to guard our thoughts and become more aware of the distractions that pull us away from you. Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

Maintain the Connection

As I studied John 15, I received a spiritual recharge compared to a cell phone connected to its charger. Only I did not have to wait for the timely process of being fully charged. Human Effort: For 2021, my mindset is different. The expectation is that I will receive the blessing of total restoration from God. And what a difference that has made in my outlook on life. God does not make us wait, the spiritual recharge happened immediately. Divine Intervention: During prayer, I received the reassurance that Jesus is Lord, and as long as I stay connected, I will experience the never-ending joy and peace that comes from serving God. 

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! John 15:9-11 NLT

In this chapter of John, Jesus was instructing and encouraging His disciples because of his pending death. We are Jesus’ disciples, and He has given us the answer to possessing constant inner joy: Stay connected to Him through faith, trust, and obedience to God’s commandments. And the reward is: Yes, your joy will overflow!

Staying connected is the only way to be energized with the peace, joy, and reassurance that comes from faithful commitment to Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Lord. Jesus obeyed His Father even unto death. Remain in me, and I will remain you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4. Daily prayer, praise, and study of the Bible indicate our desire to worship and dedicate ourselves to God.

Serving God is a guaranteed mood stabilizer and frees us from the bondage of fear. Doubt, depression, sadness, anxiety, and worry are fruits of fear. We cannot have fear and faith. Staying connected requires faith. Staying connected requires that we expect to receive a spiritual recharge every time we worship God. 

In praying, we ask God for many material blessings, begin to ask Him for an increase in faith, and to give you the desire to serve Him with all of your heart, soul, and mind. You will receive joy, peace, and contentment, despite the presenting circumstances. We should not be living on empty when we serve the Most-High God. Jesus paid for us with His life. And because of His sacrifice, we can receive spiritual recharges any time of the day or night.

Jesus is the True Vine. It is impossible to succumb to the adversities in this life when we are connected to the vine. 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 15:4

God, we have not done our part in staying connected to you, and for this, we ask forgiveness. Thank you for the gifts of love, joy, and peace. We commit to serving you with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

The Reflection of 2020

We can agree that the year 2020 brought adversities as we have never experienced before globally. The COVID-19 pandemic not only rates as the most virulent, still, we continue to have growing statistics of disease, death, destruction, and depression impacting nearly every individual and family. We have endured the sorrow of physical death along with the crumbling of a strong economy and further tearing down of our social structure. Shattered dreams add to our loss as we wish for all of this to be over. We desire to make new memories to soothe the emotional pain. Overall we just want better days.

If 2020 left you feeling victimized, then we need to view our adversities through spiritual eyes. The Apostle Paul asked the question: You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? Galatians 5:7 NLT

We are the “who” that has held us back from following God’s plan for our lives by becoming discouraged. We removed our spiritual eyeglasses, became distracted by our circumstances, and never looked for them again until we felt the agony of defeat. Yes, COVID-19 hit our world like a continuous tsunami with a domino effect catapulting everything we knew to be stable and strong. Find those eyeglasses and immediately put them on.

Jesus gave us this warning: “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. Even so, with this warning, He also gives us a promise that He has overcome everything that we face, and through Jesus Christ, we are victors, not victims of our circumstances.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT. Although it feels as if we are suffering much more than others, God tells us it simply is not true. Our trials, sorrows, and suffering are universal and experienced to some degree by all. Are we relying on our abilities or praying for God to give us the strength to endure? 

There is no shortcut to having a character that reflects the character of Jesus. In our present condition, we are not acceptable to inherit our greatest reward of eternal life. God is intervening on our behalf because: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”… He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

Put on the whole armor of God! Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24

God has a plan for us: 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

The goal of an Overcomer is to win, and winning does not happen without human effort. God is aware that we would not seek Him consistently. He knew that we would need trials to produce faithful and obedient soldiers that rely entirely on Him in times of plenty and drought.

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NIV

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23

God does everything with intent and purpose. Yet, He does not leave us alone to attain spiritual growth. 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

We have entered a season of change, which will not end because we are in 2021. Choose the goal to strive for holiness, and live righteously by placing 100% of your trust in God. Like Job during his harshest trial, we must proclaim: But I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end, He will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

All Glory, Laud, and Honor lyrics

All glory, laud, and honor

To thee, Redeemer, King

To whom the lips of children

Made sweet hosannas ring

Thou art the King of Israel

Thou David’s royal Son

Who in the Lord’s name comest

The King and Blessed One

The company of angels

Are praising Thee on high

And mortal men and all things

Created make reply…

Praise and worship God through prayer, and study of His Holy Word.

God, we thank you for allowing us the opportunity to change and achieve spiritual growth. We pray for an increase in faith, trust, obedience, and perseverance. This prayer, we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

Happy Sabbath, January 2, 2021

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over…Genesis 1:26 NASB

The majority of individuals are aware of the genetic material in the 46 chromosomes that determine the traits passed down from their parents. But did you know that the characteristics of “Love and Faith” cannot be inherited from those same parents? The ability to love and believe in God was given to each of us by God, our Heavenly Father.

How do we know this? We were not spoken into existence. The first human, Adam, was lovingly handcrafted by the hands of our Heavenly Father.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7.

Read this verse until you understand the love, tenderness, and compassion that God has for humanity. If you can love your baby, who you cannot see until he or she is born, then how much love should we have for God, our Heavenly Father? The only label that we should care about is “Handcrafted with love by God.”

Our Creator, the originator of love, made us in his image, and with the free will of choice. How can we not love and faithfully serve God? God has given us a spiritual component that inherently has a natural desire to seek Him. It is the seed of faith that causes us to believe in a higher power outside of ourselves. We are naturally drawn to our Heavenly Father because that is part of our inherited spiritual traits.

I encourage you to mentally visualize God bending down and picking up ordinary dirt. The result is a complex human being with intricate body systems and emotions that no scientist can ever reproduce or clone. The breath of life which sustains us day-after-day can only come from God.

When our greatest desire is to see Jesus face-to-face, we will never dwell on the trials and tribulations that comprise the believer’s journey. We will live with the blessed hope that Jesus is coming again and faithfully prepare for Eternal life.

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12-13, 20

God, we thank you for creating us in your image. And we pray for the strength to endure as we await the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. 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.