Pray for Purpose

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Holy Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:4-5 NIV

What has God created you to do?

Identifying your Spiritual Gifts

God has given to each of us gifts that are to be used to reflect His love. Your gift is unique and custom made just for you.

Although I was very shy and intoverted as a child, God allowed me to enter the nursing profession where I would interact with countless individuals from diverse backgrounds. I assessed patients based on subjective and objective data which required me to learn and practice the skills of therapeutic communication. Even so, my spiritual gift was to minister to patients by giving comforting emotional support through my smile, my gentle tone of voice, and words of encouragement.

God has allowed me to fully understand what He expects me to do with my spiritual gifts. I am given the opportunity to provide a kind word of encouragement on a daily basis. I always breathe a prayer thanking God for allowing me to let others know that He is love.

The Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, Psalm 139:14. It is our responsibility to ask God to reveal our spiritual gifts and the manner in which He desires for us to use them.

We have a purpose in life: Our duty to God is to show others that He is full of love, grace, and mercy.

Challenge for today: Pray for the desire to use your spiritual gifts on a daily basis.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please reveal my spiritual gifts and the purpose you have for me in life. It is my desire to serve you through obedience. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Tuscany, Italy

He is Faithful!

Why Do You Doubt? Do you know Who He is?

Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:25-26

I love the fact that although the time that we live in is full of complexities–many hypotheses and theories–the plan of Salvation remains simplistic in that a child is able to comprehend its complete meaning based on faith.

“It is by faith that God’s mighty power is released into the life of a Christian (Heb. 11:13-16). The fact that you have doubts indicates that you do not know God as you should.” Excerpt from Day to Day Devotional

Lack of a personal relationship with God (which is my responsibility) is the reason for all of my doubts (my fears, anxieties, worries, sleepless nights, mistrust, depression, dark times)?

Have you ever been accused of doing something that you were innocent of? Most of us can answer yes to that question; however, if you doubt God, then you are the guilty person.

It is only by possessing faith which is totally believing, trusting and obeying God that He is able to unleash His mighty power in your life.

Reflect on God’s amazing faithfulness by thinking about the countless times He has brought victory to your life.

If this is true, then why do you still doubt Him? This is an open-ended question that only you can answer; even so, the obstacle is faithlessness and only you have control over that aspect of your life.

Challenge for today: O taste and see that the Lord is good: Blessed is the man that trusts in him. Psalm 34:8

Prayer for today: Dear God, I am responsible for my lack of faith. You have proven over and over again that you love me and I ask you to forgive me for doubting your great faithfulness. It is my desire to have a strong and personal relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Tamul Waterfall, Mexico

Do you know who He is?

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:10 NLT

Be still and know that I am God I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. Psalm 46:10 NLT

Studying the Bible is the only way that we can learn “who God is”.

We are aware that the Old Testament documents the defeats and the victories of real people. Even so, if you look closer you will also notice that God’s character is revealed in His interactions with those created in his image-human beings. (I emphasize human beings due to the various beliefs that are currently accepted in our societies.)

Who God is–He is our Heavenly Father who possesses Unconditional love; He has an abundance of grace and mercy; He has plans for us that are full of hope, and promises of an expected future. Because our God is perfect in all His ways, He requires strict obedience and adherence to His steadfast Law.

Who you perceive God to be, is totally dependent upon your personal relationship with him.

Because I know the Character of God through the consistent study of His Word, I have great Love in my heart for our Heavenly Father.

Since I was born in Sin and every aspect of who I am has been shaped by iniquity, I must endure the fiery trials of life to become like pure gold. I view the Commandments, and His Word as the structure and discipline that I require to become Holy.

Because my thoughts must be pure, and my character requires a complete spiritual overhaul, then I appreciate God extending His grace and mercy to allow the time needed for my spiritual journey leading to Eternal Life.

Challenge for today: If you are uncertain of your view of God, or you have never contemplated on who God really is, then I encourage you to begin by developing a plan to learn His character by studying the Bible.

You will develop the strongest love relationship beyond all you can ever imagine.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I love you with all of my heart and I bow in awe to your greatness. I desire to know who you really are. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for loving me by extending your grace and mercy when I can never do anything to deserve it. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Human effort combined with Divine Intervention always ends in Victory!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Santorini Beach, Greece

Seeing Mirages?

Sabbath Devotional

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14 BSB

Thirst is one of the protective mechanisms that prevents the interruption of homeostasis–the balance in the body. The fluid in the body must remain at a certain level within very limited parameters or else the damaging state of dehydration occurs.

Many years ago, some of the most popular movies included scenes in the desert where the individual was dying of thirst; a thirst so intense that it affected every aspect of their existence especially the mind. The brain desperately made an attempt to save itself by creating the visual illusion of an abundance of water commonly known as a mirage.

Without God we place ourselves in a damaging state of existence. Spiritual dehydration causes us to see mirages as we continue to struggle through life, without purpose or fulfilment.

Jesus tells us that He is the living water and that if we drink from the water that He gives, then we will never be thirsty again.

When we confess and commit our life to Christ, we are able to stop living in a world filled with mirages. Our spiritual eyes are opened and we realize that while we were desperately longing for something to quench the dying thirst of hopelessness and distress that God has a Fountain of Water that leads to a peaceful existence, and eventually eternal life when Jesus comes again.

How do we drink from this endless supply of spiritual water? We surrender ourselves to Christ by confessing our sins, discarding our plans and totally relying on Him, in every aspect of our lives. Since our faith and trust in God provides the foundation to total surrender, we must pray and study the Bible everyday to really get to know the Giver of living water.

Salvation is not a thirsty journey through a desolate land; it is a journey connected to God who always refreshes like cool water on a hot summer day.

Challenge for today: Make a decision to drink from the Fountain of living Water.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I have traveled for so long, thirsting after the things of the world instead of thirsting for your righteousness. I ask you to forgive me. I am ready to follow you by drinking from the living water that only you can provide. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Strategic Planning

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 BSB

We live in a society that prepares for the future by utilizing an organizational process known as strategic planning:

To set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment.

Individuals who are self-starters, highly motivated, and who think “outside of the box” are at the top of the list for desirable employees. They are the people who can make things happen and who build successful businesses. Our focus on planning and strategically placing ourselves to rise above and eliminate the competition has been engrained in our minds since childhood.

Were you the first or the last child to be chosen for the sports teams in elementary school? The team captains demonstrated their strategy to win, as they called the names of those who possessed the highest level of skills first on their lists. As a result, it is a natural inclination to gravitate toward the concept of choosing only the best in order to achieve success.

Consider the sports industry:

Over the past year, Americans spent a whopping $100 billion on sports — and over half of it on sporting events.

We love to win and demonstrate our desire to achieve and maintain victory by spending astronomical amounts of money to purchase the best players for our teams.

Be thankful that God’s strategic planning included the Plan of Salvation which includes all of us regardless of our skills in life. We were bought with a price that no amount of money can buy–the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ–His life and His death were for our Redemption.

Unlike an organization’s constant task to evaluate and re-evaluate their strategic plan to make ongoing modifications according to the changing environment; God says,

“Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you not even a period or a comma will ever disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen.” Matthew 5:18 CEV

The Bible contains God’s Strategic Plan for our lives…we have been chosen and our success relies on our obedience and adherence to the only Plan that never needs an update to accommodate the changing environment.

Challenge for today: Learn God’s Strategic Plan through the daily study of the Bible. Our future is described in the Book of Revelation, chapters 21 and 22.

Verse for today: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your Plan of Salvation and your great sacrifice that I may be successful in my Christian walk with you. I know that the gift of your life is priceless; and you gave it, so that I may be the recipient of Eternal Life if I choose to serve you. Thank you for accepting me, just as I am. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Faith Moves Mountains

This is my testimony, originally posted on Facebook and dated March 13th, 2014.

Living a Faith based Life

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1: 17

As believers, we talk a lot about faith; however, are we really living a faith based life?

In January, my Mother’s health declined and she became gravely ill. It was then that I realized that one of us would have to relocate to Texas to assist with her care. I reasoned that it could not be me, because I had already moved to Florida to marry, and my husband was on a job that he would retire from.

We started praying and asked God to show us what to do. At this point, God began to intervene; our emergency vacation time was approved, and we prepared for an immediate road trip from Orlando, Florida to Northern Texas.

On the return trip to Florida, I began to speak to my husband about resigning from my job and returning to Texas for a couple of months to care for my Mother, much to my surprise, he suggested that we relocate to Texas.

The events of the story are so amazing that I am still in awe. God took over and Divine intervention which is always perfect occurred.

1. Our lease in Florida that had two remaining months-ending April 30th, was waived by the Property Manager.

2. My husband’s manager approved a 4-week extended vacation for him to accompany me to Texas.

3. We sold all material possessions (furniture, etc.), packed our Grand Marquis to the brim and started on an unknown journey.

4. Prior to leaving, we found our house online and the property owner held it for two months without funds until we arrived in March.

5. My husband was blessed with an excellent job with great benefits. I would finally be covered with health insurance from his employee package.

We began our journey with faith, prayer, and fully reliant on the power of God. Within two weeks, our home is furnished, and my Mother’s health along with her appetite has greatly improved.

I had to share our testimony, and pray that it will encourage others to stop putting limits on our Heavenly Father! All God requires of us is to do our part.

2019 Update: My Mother is 85 and doing well. I am retired and writing a Devotional/Motivational book and inspirational blogging…and my husband who made a sacrifice for love will retire later this year. Also, we will celebrate 10 years of marriage in September.

Verse for today: “You don’t have enough Faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had Faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 NLT

Prayer for today: Dear God: Thank you for your wonderful blessings. You require faith only the size of a mustard seed. I desire to have an abundance of faith and trust in you. Please help me to stop thinking my own thoughts and placing limits on your great power. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Very Dependable

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

When applying for a job, the screening process often includes a telephone interview to determine if a face-to-face interview is feasible. One of the expected questions, “Why should we hire you?” is utilized to obtain the “right fit” and also provides the applicant with the opportunity to market themselves as the best possible candidate for the position.

This particular question is filled with complexities: It forces one to perform a self-evaluation for professional and personal strengths that are applicable to the responsibilities of the job. Your answers must reflect that you possess the best skill-set, you are teachable, a team player, goal-oriented, possess perseverance, loyalty, and dependability. If an applicant fails this question then the probability of being hired is slim-to-none.

For a moment, let’s stretch our spiritual imaginations. You have submitted your resume to be a Devout Christian based on your spiritual history. During the interview, God explains that although He has delivered you from many self-inflicted situations, you continue to repeat the same behaviors: Disobedience, Mistrust, Wavering faith, Intermittent Prayer and Bible study, and overall you have proven to be very undependable. Nonetheless, instead of turning you down for the position, God says, “You are hired. I need you to repent and you can start immediately.”

Because of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ and God’s grace and mercy, our history has been erased and thrown into the Sea of Forgiveness. We are given another chance over and over again to serve and work for God as a Devout Christian.

Challenge for today: Identify and repent of your spiritual weaknesses.

Verse for today: And because of his glory and Excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please forgive me for the times that I am inconsistent and undependable. It is my desire to be a faithful and devout Christian. As I begin this new phase in my spiritual journey, help me to never forget your awesome sacrifice along with your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Perfect Peace

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

I have attended church and listened to many sermons throughout my life; however, I can count the times that I was taught how to connect with God through prayer for Divine intervention to resolve all of my real-life challenges.

I routinely had morning and evening prayer; even so, my mind was constantly in motion, and always focused on how to resolve my problems. Through His mercy, God allowed me to form a bond with a spiritual sister who taught me how to include God in every aspect of my life.

Prayer is the connection to our Heavenly resources. Do not place limitations on the number of times that you pray. We are instructed to pray without ceasing; whether your prayers are silent or audible, God is always available.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we can enjoy perfect peace. The comfort that comes from God is only available when we invite our Heavenly Father into our joys, our sorrows, our trials, and our victories. There is not one issue in our daily lives that is to great or to small for God.

Challenge for today: If you know individuals who are constantly in distress, pray with them and teach them how to apply God’s Word and constant prayer to their daily lives.

Verse for today: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Prayer for today: Dear God, I desire to include you in every aspect of my life. My life has been full of worry and restlessness because I am trying to solve my problems without you. I now realize that in order to have peace that I must completely trust you by inviting you in through prayer concerning everything. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz