The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. Psalm 34:19
Yesterday, I listened to the testimonies of individuals who admitted that 2021 was their most challenging year. Although filled with many difficulties, they made it through. Many of us can relate to a year filled with economic hardships, health issues, losing loved ones, and devastation from natural disasters. My testimony includes facing homelessness after receiving notice of intent to sell the house I had leased for six years. Even with faith more diminutive than a mustard seed, God lovingly extended His grace and mercies by relocating me to the beautiful Florida Coast.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers them out of them all. Psalm 34:19
God’s promises are always “Yes” and “Amen.” Yet, we worry and fret during our seasons of trials and sorrows. What is lacking in our lives? We are discouraged because our mind is focused on our limited abilities. We cannot recognize the Omnipotence of our Heavenly Father because our knowledge of God is too little. But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken since you do not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29.
Prayer is the secret of spiritual strength and connects us to Divine Power!
When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. Psalm 91:15
Recently, I read an article on prayer. The author stated, “Prayer changes us by nourishing our faith in God.” Immediately, I thought of the conditions of the desert, lacking water most of the year, yet there are plants and trees, which exist. Yes, my soul was dehydrated. As a result, my faith cannot grow and I lack spiritual insight. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
God desires that we receive His abundant rain that quenches our thirsty souls. Prayer communicates to God that we desperately need Him. Who does not require daily spiritual nourishment? Doing our part allows us to receive unlimited blessings of strength that enable us to persevere and endure our hardships. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5. What a powerful promise! To receive the spiritual insight of wisdom and discernment from prayer. Much prayer gives us much power!
Prayer is a direct connection to our Spiritual Team:
- And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26.
- For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…1 Timothy 2:5
- “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
Prayer is the channel of communication between our souls and God. God speaks to us through His word; we respond to Him through our prayers, and He always listens to us. Prayer, EGW
Many are spiritually dehydrated because they do not know the Scriptures. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Knowledge of God’s promises allows us to think and live differently. It is with an assurance that we receive peace, joy, confidence, and contentment from ongoing prayer and study of the Word of God.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
A known fact is that yo-yo dieting leads to discouragement and often a state of malnutrition. The body is weakened, eventually causing the individual to give up. Overwhelmed by the busyness in our lives, we forget to put God first. To receive spiritual resilience, we must seek God daily, which takes commitment and a review of how we spend our time. Our praise and worship of God require consistency. We should not factor God into our schedules. Avoid spiritual malnutrition by praying and diligent study of the Bible. Remember, our Team is available 24/7. Call on the Lord! And be persistent in your prayers!
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:17-18
Prayer: God, we are thankful for a new year. And we desire to have a closer relationship with you. We ask forgiveness for excluding you from our lives and pray for wisdom as we seek knowledge through the Scriptures. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers, and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries
Surrender to God requires faith and obedience along with diligent study and correct knowledge of the scriptures. Without a firm grasp of biblically-based sound doctrine, we become desensitized to the increasing corrupt changes in these perilous times. Still, we cannot ignore the laws that are in full opposition to God’s law. The level of compromise has risen and impacts every system from government to many churches. The decline is evident in our societies on a global level. The swift collapse of the moral fiber and value systems is a result of rebellion. Many individuals proudly proclaim, “My truth is what I believe in.” We are coerced into acceptance of the lies from gender neutrality to the belief that good people always go to heaven. Yet, the most blasphemous trend is now boldly proclaimed on social media: Believers have been given the authority to call upon and command the Holy Spirit to activate as if He is a magical genie–a figment of demonic imaginings.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
God has fully disclosed the events that show rapid progression toward Jesus’ Second Coming. Reflect on this, centuries ago the Apostle Paul gives us the exact condition of the last days. The people in Noah’s time had 120 years to get it together. Our lifespan is not even close. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13 NKJV. We do not fear the prophecies that are being fulfilled. God is still in control of His world.
The Human Effort of praying for the discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit is vital to our spiritual growth, perseverance, and endurance. It is a conscious decision to faithfully obey God by asking that His will be done in our lives. Turning our eyes upon Jesus requires wholehearted commitment. Through Christ, we can live holy and righteous lives. We have a Spirtual Team that is ready 24/7 to assist us in our journey on the Path of Righteousness.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:21-22
Prayer: God, we thank you for giving us the Holy scriptures that we may study and learn who you are and the righteousness that you require of us. We ask for forgiveness of our sins and to anointed with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry
Bible Reading: Acts 27. Paul is a prisoner and being transported by boat for his trial. Paul was imprisoned for two years while waiting to go before Caesar.
For every missing person’s report, a complete description is required. Because most individuals rely on their eyesight, a picture of the person is extremely helpful. Even if the image is years younger, advanced technology can produce an accurate picture of the person’s current age.
Although we have never eaten at a specific restaurant or traveled to a particular state or country, someone who has will use their prior knowledge and experience to provide us with a description that piques our curiosity. Just from hearing their words, we become excited and form mental images.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Revelation 21:1-2
We have the complete description of the New Heaven and New Earth in Revelation 21. Because God desired that we possess an inward longing and excitement about our permanent home, He allowed John the Revelator to see the New Heaven and the New Earth. From the amazing and vivid description of the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, we should prepare ourselves spiritually to receive our reward of eternal life every day.
Without using the Bible, can you describe the holy city? Many verbalize their desire to live in the New Heaven and New Earth. But the reality is that we have not taken the time to study and memorize the description of our “forever home.” Would you be excited to go and live in a place without any prior knowledge?
When life is overwhelming, pray and read the description of the New Heaven and New Earth. Yes, praise the Lord! We have this hope of life eternal! We are nearing home!
Bible Study: John 14 and Revelation 21-22
God, thank you for preparing a forever home for the faithful. We ask You to forgive our sins. Please fill us with the Holy Spirit as we diligently study the scriptures. 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.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.…2 Timothy 3:16-17 BSB
Did you know that the Bible was translated into English? If you speak another language, then you are familiar with the phrase, “Lost in translation.” Many words in American English have double-meanings or a play on words, “No pun intended.”
The Bible is not complicated. It takes a spiritual mind in Christ Jesus to understand the “Voice of God.” To explain this concept, think about babies. They have the innate ability to recognize their mothers through their five senses. And I thought babies would always remember their fathers, but this proved to be inaccurate with fathers who shaved their facial hair. The babies did not recognize them and cried as if they were looking at a stranger. Of course, those who sought to prove this hypothesis carefully manipulated the experiment with controlled factors, the fathers were not allowed to speak. Certainly, the babies would have recognized their father’s voices.
For us to recognize our Heavenly Father’s voice, we always require Divine intervention when studying God’s Word–the Holy Bible. Before studying the Bible, pray for forgiveness of sins and ask for the Holy Spirit to give you a correct understanding of the scriptures. Also, ask God to provide you with the wisdom to apply the Word of God to your life. If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 AMP
Because we are on a learning curve throughout our lifetime, we can seek a higher level of knowledge from those who are anointed and appointed to minister to mass congregations. Even so, we can attend church services, listen to sermons and study the Bible without experiencing a spiritual transformation. It is not enough to study the Bible. We must also apply it to our lives. Yes, God has anointed many individuals to preach the Word of God, but all who say that Jesus is their Lord and Savior must search the Bible and receive the knowledge to think, act, and live holy, righteous lives. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV
With the Holy Spirit as our teacher, we will always gain truth when studying biblical principles.
It is true! We may feel overwhelmed when searching the Internet for spiritual guidance through sermons. Who do we listen to? How do we know they are preaching the truth? The Apostle Paul answers those questions: They must preach about Christ!
Because of his love for God, many are familiar with Evangelist Billy Graham, who passed on February 21, 2018. Every sermon that he preached, regardless of the subject matter, always included Jesus and biblical scriptures. He never preached about gaining material wealth, and if he spoke on anxiety, worry, and depression, he explained the reason behind the feelings, “your relationship with Jesus is lacking depth, and commitment.”
I do not promote pastors, ministers, or speakers of any particular denomination or religion. God is no respecter of persons. He does not have favorites based on the denomination of the church or social, educational, and financial statuses. We must pray for spiritual discernment before listening to any sermon and studying the Bible, so we have the correct understanding of the Word of God. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.… John 10:27-28 BSB
Many preach with other motives: It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. Philippians 1:15. Because it is impossible for us to know other people’s motives, we can use the Apostle Paul’s message: Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely. … Philippians 1:17. Again, Paul gives us the defining answer, they must preach about Christ! The subject of the sermon may vary; even so, Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
Every one of us has a spiritual job to fulfill: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. To receive eternal life, we must have a personal relationship with Christ that grows stronger and deeper every day. When we are in love with God, we excitedly spread the message of His saving grace to others.
Please know that studying the Bible is not an option! The Bible is the Voice of God! To know who God is we must have knowledge of His character, expectations, and promises. Do not be concerned about being lost in translation! When we pray for understanding, God will never allow the scriptures to be confusing. Our Teacher, the Holy Spirit is always ready and available to provide us with the ability to grasp the meaning of God’s Words.
We are blessed to have the most powerful technology available to read and hear the Word of God in many languages. Even for those who live in remote areas or in countries where the Bible is prohibited, and the media is controlled, remember that the angels are God’s messengers. If you are without a Bible, pray and ask God to give you a Bible. “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
Bible Study: 2 Timothy 3
God, we thank you for the Bible, your Holy Word. Please forgive us of our sins. We pray for spiritual discernement and wisdom as we seek knowledge through the study of your Word. Our desire is to have a deeper relationship with you as we prepare for Eternal life. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.