Watch and Pray!

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of Believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NIV

The Word of God is straightforward in admonishing us to stay away from sin.

There was a time in my life that I willingly placed myself in situations that involved compromise. How did I put myself in the situation if I knew the difference between truth and error?

Feeling overly confident that we will do what is right in high-risk situations leads us away from God. We have already committed the sin of pride by thinking too highly of ourselves that we will do what is right; and then we easily fall because the devil has developed a custom made temptation for each of us with our names on it.

It is a certainty that in situations that require compromise, we will sin. If you have conflicting thoughts then just say NO! Obedience to the Word of God supersedes what others may think of us. Disregard the opinions or labels–coward, holier than thou, church goer–from individuals who do not live according to God’s Word. The uncomfortable feelings or the hesitation that is present is the Holy Spirit’s warning that the presenting circumstances are not of God.

Remember that Satan is bold and He has no boundaries. He is already in a lose-lose situation so he eagerly plans for us to disobey and succumb to sin.

God has given us the warnings and the action we must take in order to be Overcomers from sin. Let go and give up relationships, habits, and desires that cause enmity against God.

Watch-we must view life through spiritual eyes, possess knowledge of the Bible, and listen for the warnings by the Holy Spirit–that deep feeling that tells us that this is not the right decision and to flee.

Pray-The greatest avenue of communication is through prayer; we stay connected to God and become so in tune with Him that we patiently wait for His guidance in all situations.

Watch and pray; stay away from people, places, and things; draw closer to God; we will always have a way to escape when tempted.

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

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for willfully placing ourselves into areas of compromise. Thank you for always providing a way out when we are tempted. We thank you for the Holy Spirit that guides us and enables us to have victory over every temptation. We pray for the desire to prepare ourselves against the wiles of Satan by watching and praying continously while we await your Second Coming. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Everyday is Thanksgiving!

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 NLT (last part)

I just can’t stop praising His name, Jesus!

One of the greatest joys in life is to see a baby smile. When they are happy their little faces are like the sun shining amidst a beautiful blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds. They smile and you smile, or do you smile?

Believer Alert! One of the most disheartening situations is to have to interact with unhappy and discontented individuals. For those who believe that we have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us and has provided everything that we need including love, grace, mercy, a spiritual team–The Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Angels; we should possess the greatest joy within our hearts and our faces should show it.

We must be determined in our hearts to possess a Spirit of Gratitude and Praise!

Our first and last prayers of every day should express our sincerest thankfulness and gratitude to God. The blessings that we receive from God on a daily basis should produce unspeakable joy and happiness.

We must cease and desist of proudly saying, “this is just the way I am.” Research the Word of God; you will never find one verse to substantiate a discontented spirit, a stern face, or a temperamental disposition.

Ask yourself and Ask Others: Are you an approachable person? Remember, the life of Christ reflects his great love for humanity.

Transitioning from an UnChrist-like Disposition to a Delightful Demeanor!

1. Cease complaining immediately!

2. Get rid of the stern look on your face and begin to practice smiling!

3. Laugh as often as you can!

4. Pray prayers of thanksgiving throughout your day from the time you awaken until the time you close your eyes for sleep.

God is so good and He is worthy to be praised!

Bible Readings: Psalm 34

Prayer for today: Dear God, We are so thankful for your love, your grace, your mercies, and for creating us with the ability to smile, to laugh, to possess happiness and to have everlasting joy. We ask forgiveness for our discontent, our ingratitude, and for our lack of reflecting your character to others. Thank you for providing all of our needs. Thank you for the death of your Son that we may be redeemed from our sins. We love you, we worship you, and we praise your Holy Name. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Autumn Glory _ Fall in Maine

 

 

The Mirror

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 12:9 NLT

There is a common thread that all humanity shares; we have weaknesses also known as character defects. The main issue with possessing weaknesses is that we are unable to see our own defects as readily as we are able to identify the weaknesses of others. Can you imagine looking in the mirror and seeing someone else’s face? We can agree that the normal mind will process that the reflection in the mirror is your image.

For believers our mirror is the Bible– the Word of God speaks the plain unadulterated truth and readily identifies our weaknesses. The Bible reveals the character of God! As Christians, we are to strive for Christ-like characteristics: We are not able to select certain characteristics based on our preferences or to fit the presenting situations. Our focus in life is to align our character with God’s requirements.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT

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

When we read Galatians 5:22,23 and Ephesians 4:2 we receive godly standards that will take us a lifetime to strive for and to achieve.

Unlike psychological theories such as self-actualization: possessing the continual drive to fulfill one’s talents and potentials for personal growth; we can never achieve a status of spiritual self-actualization.

Yes, God is aware of our weaknesses and our flawed character and it is by His grace and mercy that he has provided us with a spiritual helper, the Holy Spirit. It is up to us to be connected to the source, it is our Heavenly Father who readily forgives our transgressions and provides yet another opportunity to seek righteousness when we confess and repent of our sins.

Look carefully and deeply into the mirror-the Word of God; confess and repent; pray for a revelation of the misaligned traits that you possess; ask God for guidance and to be filled with the Holy Spirit; strive for holiness, and believe and receive His promise that His power works in our weaknesses.

What more can we ask for?

Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord: Hebrews 12:14 NLT

Bible Readings: Hebrews 12, Galatians 5, Ephesians 4

Prayer for today: Dear God, As we look in the mirror, please help us to see ourselves as we truly are. We pray for the character traits that are not pleasing to you to be revealed that we may do our part in changing and seeking after righteousness. We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for this day and for your love, your grace and your mercies. We ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen,

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz

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Prayer is the Answer

If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Living the life of a Believer will never compare to sailing on a calm body of water. The tumultuous trials, tribulations, and temptations of life will cause our boat to consistently sail in troubled waters. Even so, Fear not! God is with us, and he will never let our boats capsize or overturn in spite of the stormy seas.

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. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:2,3 first part

Jesus Christ is the Captain of our boats even when we feel as if we are drifting further and further away from the shore or cannot see dry land. He is leading us to the point in our lives that allows us to have a closer relationship with Him. Jesus is leading us to deeper waters without our self-made life jacket because He wants us to become fully dependent upon Him.

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Our duty is to cast all of our cares which means that we must pray, pray, pray! He already knows of the brokenness in your heart, the tears that stream from your eyes, and the overwhelming situations that have you feeling as if you cannot bear one more burden.

Consider the man named Job who was a righteous man; Job was a man who feared God and was blameless; yet, he lost everything he owned including the death of all of his children. If you have never thought about the long time-frame of Job’s trial then read all 42 chapters of the Book of Job. In spite of his continuous suffering, Job never blamed God and in the midst of his great tribulation, he proclaimed:

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and He will stand upon the earth at last…I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” Job 19:25, 27 NLT

Job was human with all of the emotions that we possess; yes, he was greatly overwhelmed and even attempted to proclaim his innocence several times during his great tribulation. Nonetheless, he did not follow the advice of his wife who told him to “Curse God and die,” nor did he throw in the towel when the friends who he counted on for support, turned their backs on him by accusing him of committing grievous sins against God, which could have left him devastated.

As we continue to study the life of a man who withstood extreme suffering, we know how the story ends: God blessed Job above and beyond (read chapter 42) all he could ever imagine. He lived a long, full life with the blessing of prosperity and four generations of children and grandchildren.

Whether we are sailing on calm waters or raging seas, we must always completely place our faith, trust, and obedience in God. It is only through constant prayer, and dutiful study of the Word of God, that we can remain steadfast in the vicissitudes of life. God promises that if we do our part in keeping our relationship strong with Him, then He will do his part in giving us victory as overcomers.

Bible Reading: Job chapters 1-42

Prayer for today: Dear God, There are times in our lives that we feel as if we cannot endure the hardships and we become despondent. We forget that you know exactly what we are going through and that you are just waiting for us to approach you through prayer. We ask you to forgive us for our lack of faith, our self-reliance, and our intermittent study of your Word. O God, we need you to guide us through our storms in life and we need you, even more, when we are experiencing peace so that we do not think that we are sustaining our lives. We ask you to give us strength as we endure the hardest trials of loss from the death of our loved ones, from the dissolution of our marriages, from financial devastation, from the decline of our health, and from the overwhelming feelings of being alone. You have promised to never leave us or forsake us and you have promised to never let us drown in the waters of tribulation. We thank you for your love, your grace, and your endless mercy. God, we need you now, and we ask you to heal our brokenness. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

opticxllyaroused_ “ White Mountains New Hampshire… White Mountains, New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in God

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

How can we learn to fully trust in God in spite of our circumstances?

There is no problem that we face that is bigger than our Omnipotent God.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Expensive Consequences

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Do you believe that sin always has consequences? Sin is very expensive; sin chips away at your character; sin changes your perspective, your morals, and your values; sin desensitizes and blinds your spiritual eyes as the line between right and wrong is blurred and you willingly cross over, but most importantly sin diminishes your ability to sustain a relationship with God. Oh yes, sin has the power to produce transformation and as a result, your connection to God is severed and spiritual death occurs.

But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars–their fate is in the fiery lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Whether the sin is premeditated, spontaneous, or unintentional the liability of the debt is above and beyond your means to make payment; you have insufficient assets to cover the cost of sin. Remember that sin places us into spiritual bankruptcy; we are left with nothing!

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. a man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

There is no gray area of compromise with God!

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

We have a choice to make: What is it that I really want, Eternal life or the pleasures that life has to offer? Your relationship with God requires faith, trust, obedience, studying the Bible, constant prayer, witnessing to others, helping those in need, and the renunciation of sin.

As we live in the present, we must also prepare for our future; the future that includes immortality, and living forever in the New Heaven and the New Earth with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:52-54

Jesus is coming again whether we choose to believe and prepare or we continue in our present state of seeking after the things of the world. It is a personal choice and a commitment to seek after righteousness.

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22: 7, 11-12

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:13-14

Keep God’s commandments; refrain from sinning; confess and repent for unforgiven sins from the past, and present, pray when tempted, faithfully obey and follow the Plan of Salvation. It will be the most wonderful day when Jesus returns for us and we receive the greatest gift: Eternal life in a perfect and sinless world.

Bible Reading: Revelation 21, 22

Prayer for today: Dear God, We humbly come to you and ask forgiveness of our sins, past, and present. We ask you to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. As we strive to grow closer to you, we ask you for the desire to live a purpose-driven life; a life that includes letting go of sinful pleasures, faithful obedience to your commandments and preparation for your soon return. We thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercies. And we ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Spring Cleaning

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

One of my favorite past times is watching vintage criminal mysteries; their intricate details and attempt to distract you from the real perpetrator is cunning and skillful without the addition of excessive violence and profanity. It is easy to find a television series, but rarely a full-length movie that fits the criteria for suitable watching. When I found a full-length mystery movie, I put on my sleuth hat and excitedly began to pay close attention to the plot. But there was something very different about the overall tone of the movie, the initial 20 minutes was full of bitter and sarcastic words with continuous conflict among the main characters. I proceeded to crochet in order to circumvent my disappointment and waited for the plot to take a different direction. The movie did take a drastic turn, the next sentence out of the main character’s mouth was filled with so much profanity that I felt as if arrows had pierced my heart. I had to repent by accepting responsibility for ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit when I recognized the initial tone of the movie was waywardly compared to my usual selection of programs. Yes, I was fully aware of the inappropriateness of the movie, but hoped for the best, because I focused on what I desired.

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them! Romans 16:17 NLT

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1: 14-15 NLT

It is my belief that temptation is custom made for each of us; the things and people that Satan will use to tempt us always appeal to our individual desires. It is a trap based on subtlety with cunning and complex details that are designed to lead us to commit sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

As long as we have breath in our bodies, we will have to endure temptation; even so, believe that God has a way of escape for each of us. We must stay in tune with the Holy Spirit who will appeal to our conscience and provide the knowledge and the wisdom to resist temptation and be an overcomer!

When you are tempted, immediately begin to pray and ask for help! Say very little and walk away from the situation by taking action to change the channel, or to politely end the conversation in order to avoid entering into conflict. Your temptation will never be my temptation, sin is like having a tailor-made suit designed for each of us on a daily basis.

Remember, we must perform spring cleaning in our lives every day; we must rid ourselves of people, places, and the things that we desire that are enmity against God.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NLT

Bible Reading: James 1

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your love by giving us the Holy Spirit who will provide us with the knowledge, wisdom, and the strength that we need to resist the temptation that causes us to commit sin. We pray for forgiveness of our sinful desires. We pray for a change of heart that we may be obedient and faithful to your commands. Thank you for the Bible that you have given to us to study and to learn of you and to teach us how we are to live as believers. As we perform spring cleaning in our lives to rid ourselves of intentional wrongdoing, we ask for wisdom and the ability to listen and recognize when you speak to us. We love you, we worship you, and we praise your Holy Name. We ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019