Traits for Soldiers

Part 1 of 4

Yesterday we spoke of being a Soldier in the Army of God; the Bible is our guide to learn the qualifications that God requires for each of us to possess, in order to be in His Army.

Although we are unable to work to gain Eternal life, there is something that we have the ability to modify, to change, and to allow the Holy Spirit to work on: Our Character which defines who we really are.

Unity-Are you really a team-player?

Love- Is yours based on conditions?

Humble-Does meek and lowly describe you?

Compassion-Does your heart bleed for others?

Sympathy-Are you willing to walk in their shoes?

According to the Bible, we are living in the last days. Our time to ask God to give us the desire to endure a transformation is now!

Our minds, hearts, and lifestyle will reflect whether or not we are truly in alignment with the Word of God.

Remember: Soldiers always follow commands!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Bible Reading: Matthew 5

Prayer for today: Dear God, We need a complete overhaul of our heart. We pray for forgiveness of our sins and shortcomings. We desire to be Soldiers in your Army and we desire for the Holy Spirit to fill us and dwell in us. We need your strength to be overcomers . We ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Soldiers in God’s Army

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 NLT

semblence: the outward appearance or apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different.

When an individual makes the decision to enlist in the military, there is a commitment to serve and be obedient until death. They have decided to relinquish their own mindset, which enables a complete transformation–the change of their thought processes, their behaviors, and their outlook on life. They belong to a group of individuals with the same mindset working together to achieve common goals.

As Believers, we are Soldiers in the Army of God. We attest that we follow God’s commands through faithful service, obedience, and tithe-paying; yet we attempt to live according to our perspective and interpretation of the Word of God. We disregard the instructions and commands that are in the Holy Bible when it causes conflict between our desires and what God requires.

Many of us take God’s grace and mercies for granted in our daily lives, as if we were given the option to live according to our own whims and standards. It is heartbreaking to hear a Christian attempt to justify their disobedience to God by using excuses to downplay their wayward thinking.

I have heard many justification statements and would like to share because most of us can relate to this mindset at some point in our lives.

1. “I just can’t do it.”

2. “God understands that we are human.”

3. “Thank goodness, God forgives us.”

4. “I knew it was wrong, I had to ask God to forgive me, but I was glad I said it or did it.”

5. ” I am not there yet, spiritually like you are.”

We are soldiers, we are servants, and we are light-bearers; our goal as we march is to follow all of God’s commands without question or hesitation.

Are you ready to fully enlist in God’s army? Then cast your thoughts aside and prepare to be obedient and faithful until Jesus comes. The time is now for us to say, “Yes, Sir” as we commit our all-and-all to Christ.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3

Prayer for today: Dear God, We have our own thoughts and desires which are enmity against you. We ask you to forgive us for living to please ourselves. We ask forgiveness for disregard of your commands and for not fulfilling our duties to you, our families, and our communities. We desire to live, and think according to your standards. As we move forward in our lives, we commit to serve you and to meet the needs of others. We commit to faithful obedience as we strive to march toward the mark of spiritual perfection. We humbly ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Making it Personal

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close to me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NLT

Do you know who Melba Pattillo Beals is? If your answer is yes, then you are well versed on the beginning of integration in the United States educational system. If you are not familiar with who she is: In 1957, at the age of 15, she was one of the children selected to be one of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of nine African-American students who first integrated the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

There are many of us who have never suffered any types of “isms” in our lives; even so, if we have the slightest belief in God, we have an enemy who is always ready and willing to put our faith to the test, by attacking our beliefs and making us doubt our relationship with a loving God. Although many of us have biases and prejudices, Satan is no respecter of persons; his perspective is that Believers are all part of one family–God’s family, and his daily plan is to facilitate mistrust, doubt, and disbelief against our heavenly Father.

In the Book of Job, chapter 1, Satan accuses God of showing favoritism to Job by protecting Job from adversity and blessing him with prosperity; hence, the reason for Job’s faithfulness to God. As we read about Job’s experience, he endured the riches-to-rags syndrome, painful boils on his body, the death of all of his children, ridicule from his friends, and disbelief from his wife who gave him the advice to curse God and die. However, we know how Job’s story ended because Job remained faithful in spite of the devastating circumstances. God is always faithful! In chapter 42, we read of God’s displeasure for Job’s friends who were required to offer sacrifice for their false accusations, and the complete healing and restoration of Job’s family and his fortune.

God is faithful and just! He did not spare his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who suffered an unspeakable death through shame and the spilling of his precious blood on a wooden cross with nails in his hands and feet, and a crown of thorns on his head.

When we reflect on the sufferings of Jesus and Job, and their victorious outcomes, we must come to realize how insignificant our trials and tribulations are in comparison to God’s redeeming power. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we awaken each morning with the knowledge of who we are, and the ability to serve him one more day.

We must establish a personal relationship with God and live as David who proclaimed, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

Whatever “isms,” glass ceilings, biases, prejudices, financial problems, marital discord, disobedient children, estrangement from family, grief, and loss we are experiencing, there is an Almighty and Omnipotent God that is Omnipresent who loves us with an everlasting love. Hallelujah thine the glory, Hallelujah, Amen!

He is our Jehovah Jireh, our Creator, and our All and All.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT

Make your goal in life to have a personal relationship with God–Great is His Faithfulness, always and forevermore.

Bible Reading for today: Job Chapters 1 and 42

Prayer for today: Dear Lord and Father of all mankind: We come before you today humbling ourselves to ask forgiveness for complaining about the life that you have blessed us with. Whatever suffering that we must endure, we are not alone, you have always been here. We have been focusing on our problems and trials instead of keeping our minds and our hearts in a spirit of thanksgiving for your grace and mercies. God, you are our Healer, our Restorer, our Provider, and our Heavenly Father. We must make it personal in order to receive your strength. We ask you to continue to bless us as we draw closer to you. Thank you for this day. We love you, we praise you, and we worship your Holy Name. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Fly, Run, and Walk

Have you heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. Isaiah 40:28 NLT

I can recall the day that I completed my final nursing exams and waiting anxiously for the grades to be posted in the student lounge. Nursing school was an extremely tough journey; the enrollment of 27 students quickly dwindled to only 7 graduates from the program. On that bitter wintry day, I took my final walk as a student nurse to the parking lot, crying tears of joy because in spite of, God had given me the victory of completing the RN program.

There is a word that a former Pastor used to describe our tumultuous journey, full of trials and tribulations in life; Vicissitudes–which is a change in circumstances that is unwelcome and unpleasant. Yes, the vicissitudes of life can be life altering, challenging, and leave us feeling as if we are in a desert storm.

Even so, in the Christian walk in life, we are to become fully reliant on God, which translates into being fully dependent on God. Can you imagine that our Heavenly Father would leave us or ever forsake us? If you are saying, “Why would God allow this and that to happen in my life, if He loved me so much?” The only answers available to those questions is in the Bible, God’s holy Word.

Since he did not spare even his own son but gave him up for us all, won’t he give us everything else? Romans 8:32 NLT

When Jesus was on the cross, he despaired and cried out, “Eloi, Eloi lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And we know that for the remission of our sins that Jesus was required to suffer and die an excruciating death. But on that third day, there was an earthquake; God sent an Angel to roll back the stone, and Jesus arose from the sleep of death with all power and glory, “His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was as white as snow.” Matthew 28:3 NLT

God has never asked us to do more than we are capable of doing with His strength. If you are in despair, then you are failing to put your faith and trust in God. He has promised to ease the pain and to heal the broken-hearted. God is always great in his faithfulness to us.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT

When we begin to diligently study the Word of God, we begin to praise God for his wonderful love and we are able to enjoy and have a peaceful existence, regardless of the vicissitudes of life. Our trials, life events, and unforeseen circumstances are only a surprise to us; God is always aware of the trials that we must endure.

Pray and ask God to give you strength, study the Bible, wait on God, maintain your joy, embrace peace, and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the victory that God will bring.

Fly, walk, and run! You will soar high, you will not grow weary, and you will not faint!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Bible Reading: Isaiah 40

Prayer for today: Dear God, Your promises and love can never fail. You are always faithful in sustaining our lives and providing for us. We ask forgiveness of the sins of mistrust and self-sufficiency. We need you, we need your help, and we need your strength. As we prepare for eternal life, we ask you to resolve the problems that each of us are experiencing in our lives and to bring us through victoriously. We ask this prayer in the worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Make a Difference — for someone

This is a published article written by my Uncle G. Taylor who has the biggest heart and a passion for helping others. I had to share his heartfelt commitment for those in need.

I like to think of the story about the guy who was walking along the seashore where thousands of starfish had been washed ashore by the high tide. He came upon a young boy eagerly throwing the starfish back into the water, one by one, he was puzzled; “There are thousands and thousands of starfish and only one of you–what possible difference can you make?

The boy picked up a starfish, gave it a gentle toss back into the water and explained, “I made a difference to that one!”

That’s how I feel about my community. What little bit I can do to help someone, perhaps someone I don’t even know, I am willing to do. A few years back, I joined a prison ministry and one day I got my chance to speak behind bars to around 500 inmates. I felt that I did a pretty good job when I finished, but didn’t know for sure.

About six months passed and one day I was walking down the street when someone called out to me. He was on the street handing out religious pamphlets. I told him that I didn’t think that I knew him.

He said, “I was one of the guys you spoke to in prison in the big gym.” He told me that because of my words that day, he was now on the street spreading God’s word. I broke down and cried knowing that I made a difference at least to one person.

My wish is that every one of us gets involved in our community. Find something today that you can do to help someone. The task you take on may seem small but if we each put forth an effort, I know we can make a big difference to our community.

G. Taylor

Thank you Uncle for reminding us of our duty to God and others.

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Deuteronomy 15:7

Do your part for one person at a time.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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The Christian Walk: Listen to be Heard

Strive for Spiritual Maturity

What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. Isaiah 58:4 NLT

Division among Christian believers has existed for many centuries; if we serve one God then we should have the ability to coexist in peace and harmony.

The simple answer to this dilemma is to find a mirror and stare at the reflection that you see; yes, you are the problem.

It is a myth that if you raise your voice then you will be heard. This is not referring to the literal act of yelling, this is the plight of using one’s mouth to speak more than using one’s ears to listen. It is a popular trend to utilize your right and ability to sound off, give your opinion, debate or argue so you can be heard.

We have fallen prey to the worldly trends that are in opposition to godly standards and character traits.

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire…James 3:6

The Word of God is truth…if you have the deadly habit of spewing words, then according to God, you are corrupt.

And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right. James 3:10 NLT

The Christian walk is one that will remove you from the “Most Popular” list; in fact, you may end up with very few friends. Make the commitment to change by exercising self-control of your tongue and you will notice many changes. As you begin to practice the gift of silence in response to ungodly conversations, you will notice that your social life and interaction with the “Sound off” circle of friends will decrease.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? James 4:1 NLT

In order to change, we must acknowledge, confess, and repent of our evil desires.

And he gives grace generously. As the scriptures say, ” God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 NLT

Our goal as believing Christians is to possess and reflect the character of Christ. We cannot afford to throw away the opportunity to have Eternal life. God is straightforward in the habits that He is displeased with: Can you imagine those with disagreeable traits in the heavenly home?

Do whatever is necessary to draw closer to God!

Remember the saying, “Silence is golden?” Someone realized a long time ago when gold was the most precious commodity that silence was also highly valuable.

Our salvation is the most valuable gift because Jesus gave his life. We must never let our flame of fire destroy the opportunity to serve God and lose our inheritance of Eternal life.

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

Bible Reading: Revelation 21-22

Prayer for today: Dear God, We confess that we are using our tongues as deadly weapons. We ask you to forgive us of our sins, especially the sin of possessing an argumentative spirit. Please help us as we do our part in changing ungodly and detrimental habits. We desire a closer relationship with you and we desire eternal life. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019