Deep Waters

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

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. Isaiah 43:2 NLT

For all of us who are suffering for Jesus Christ:

We PROCLAIM that the WINDOWS of HEAVEN can Never and will Never Be Shutdown!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Sonya Johnson-Ruiz

The Source of Stength

Today I am sharing an excerpt from the 10 days of Prayer currently being recognized by the Seventh Day Adventist World Church.

“Promises for Strength to Do God’s Will”

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed
day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phillipians 2:13

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

*There are so many times that we feel grieved and overwhelmed by our situations or circumstances. Even so, God is here-He is the source of our strength. When we approach Him with our heartfelt prayers, God extends His loving arms to embrace us with love and steadfast promises that He will always take care of us.

*Written by Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Challenge for today: Memorize Psalm 27:14.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I feel overwhelmed by my current circumstances. I am asking you to help me to increase my faith and trust in you. I know that you love and care for me, and will see me through. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Spiritual Stability

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is Holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am Holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 NLT

I can remember riding the roller coasters at the amusement park; looking at the curves and the height of the tracks, feeling butterflies in my stomach as I stood in line, anticipating the excitement of the fast speed of the car. During the ride, I vowed to never ride again, only to get back in line for a second experience as soon as the ride ended.

There are many of us who are vascillating between living for God and enjoying the pleasures of the world. We love God, we study the Bible, pray daily, attend church, and yet our spiritual lives compare to a roller coaster ride.

When we commit sins, we ask for forgiveness, even so, we still desire the excitement of doing things outside of the realm of holiness.

There is “A Call to Holy Living”:

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control…So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is Holy. For the Scriptures say, You must be holy because I am Holy. 1 Peter 1:13,14-16

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors…It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, Spotless Lamb of God. 1 Peter 1:18-19

It is time for us to get off of the roller coaster. It is time to cast all of our worldly desires and behaviors aside.

What more can God do for us? There is no greater price paid than the blood of Jesus that was shed for the remission of our sins. We cannot forget the shame, the suffering, and the spilling of His most precious blood; His blood was for us; His blood prevents the second and final death; His blood offers us Eternal life, if we choose so through faith and obedience.

All that He asks of us, is to Live Holy. It takes Faith, Self-control and definitive Action on our part to live as obedient children. Whatever we need to cast aside to stop the highs and lows of an unstable spiritual life, we must commit to Holiness, because Jesus Christ will return again as King of King and Lord of Lords.

And Jesus said to him, “If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 ESV

It is possible to live holy; yes, we will fail in our human state, even so the Holy Spirit makes us aware when we are getting ready to plummet into a spiritual low. It is our choice to serve God and there is only one way: Do not get on the Roller Coaster!

Challenge for today: Ask God to reveal the behaviors and desires that are preventing you from living Holy.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I have not been obedient to you for so long that I am unable to to get off of the roller coaster. I know that I am sinning against you by seeking after the things that I desire. Please forgive me for not using my time and my talents for your honor and your glory. I commit my life to you right now. I want to live Holy and I want Eternal Life. Thank you for giving your Son for me. Please allow me to have the faith that is necessary to get off of the roller coaster. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Hardships

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with Fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. Daniel 3:19 ESV

As a believer, we usually have less than the world’s standards for material possessions. We have our share of mountain highs and valley lows. It appears to others that we are always experiencing some type of trial and tribulation, although we serve God. And yes, there are plenty of biblical accounts which reflect the sufferings and hardships of those who are faithful to God.

From experience, if the journey involves a rugged path, why do we continue to travel on this path? Surely there is an easier road that leads to a less tedious journey and a brighter future.

There are certain changes that occur in our lives when we travel the path paved with hardships:

1. We experience change; our character must align with Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

2. We live with hope. We believe that our current earthly journey is temporary, and that Jesus will come again to give us a new home and eternal life.

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

3. We believe that we are never alone.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalms 91:11

The Lord himself goes before you, he will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you go through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

4. We accept that God’s standards for happiness are very different from the worldly standards for happiness.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2

…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God has given unto thee…Deuteronomy 26:11

Even so, we must distinguish the difference between sufferings for God and sufferings due to a continuous pattern of making the wrong choices, backsliding into the same situation once we have been delivered, or simply because we did not wait for God’s answers and solutions.

How can we avoid self-inflicted suffering? By staying rooted and grounded in a closer relationship with God through continuous prayer, and study of His Word.

God is with us…our challenge is to stay with God.

Challenge for today: Only suffer for God! Pray for guidance if you are unable to discern the difference.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We have endured many hardships in our lives. We ask you for the spiritual discernment to know the difference between self-inflicted suffering and suffering for you. We believe that you will give us strength to keep moving forward. In your Holy name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Walking on your Knees

Pray without ceasing!

Never stop praying!

Pray constantly!

1st Thessalonians 5:17

I listened to a song this morning that included the words, “I live through life walking on my knees.” What a powerful way to express an ongoing relationship with God! What a powerful way to live!

In December, I committed to making changes in my life for the new year; not resolutions that would change based on my feelings or situations, but developinging achievable goals within set time frames.

There are Christians who believe that we should never set goals, or make plans for our lives. However that mindset is not supported by bibical teaching. We are not to wander through life aimlessly.

Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14 NLT

Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT

Because God tells us in Isaiah 55:8 (NLT):

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

First, we must present our desires, plans, and goals to God in prayer for approval.

I am happy to say that God approved my goals; even so, God rearranged my goals and they were re-prioritized, according to His will. In our walk with God, we must pray for the abilities to recognize and correctly discern when the Holy Spirit speaks to us in that “quiet and still voice.”

It was only after I prayed a heartfelt prayer that God revealed His priority for my life: To walk on my knees.”

I share God’s answer because it is applicable to all believers. God requires for us to maintain a humble spirit and a contrite heart to serve and honor Him. We are unable to perform good deeds to achieve the changes that are pleasing to God. We must walk through life on our knees!

Challenge for today: Make known to God the changes that you desire in your life and wait for His answer.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for always hearing and answering our prayers. Please help us to walk through life on our knees by constantly communicating with you through prayer over every aspect of our lives. We desire a closer relationship with you; we desire you to prioritize what really matters in our day-to-day lives; and we desire most of all to be able to hear the still and quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. We ask these blessings upon our lives in your Son’s name, Jesus. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

I am Here

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

The fellowship of believers is vital for spiritual growth. It is so important for the love of Christ to be displayed by speaking encouraging words, sharing testimonies, and praying for one another when we are experiencing the stressors of life events.

Although we are living in a time, of an ongoing demise of godly morals and values, an increase of violence, and government shutdowns, we cannot let those who do not believe shake our faith nor divert our focus from the Lord.

Surround yourself with individuals who are close to God and possess the ability to love others. You may have to rethink who is in your social circle. Christian belivers are strengthened when we are able to form a bond with others who share commonalities.We need the prayers and the emotional support of believers of the most High God.

Many times we simply reiterate that God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Even so, we are admonished to place the needs of others above our own needs. Our Christian duties extend beyond attending church services. True love displays itself by caring about others; by compassionately listening via a phone call, and face-to-face contact.

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Romans 12:9-10,13 NLT

Challenge for today: Someone needs for you to reach out to them.

Prayers for today: Dear God, We have been concerned about our own agendas. Please help us to reach out to our fellow believers who need to hear our voice, a prayer, and laughter. We ask you to show us how to love and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz