Do you desire righteousness?

With the fourth beatitude we have reached a major turning point. The first two exemplified a turning away from our human weakness and sin, while the third expressed the Christian’s humility in light of that weakness. The fourth, by way of contrast, is a turning toward the positive aspect of Christianity. It is a hungering and thirsting to be right with God and to be like Him. Thus the Christian life is more than a mourning over past sins. It is also an intense desire for present and future righteousness. Excerpt from Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus by George R. Knight

What a defining point for our relationship with God: We must desire righteousness!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

The Seasons will Change

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

Presently, our small town in Texas is crippled by the bitter, icy winds and the chilling temperatures that have frozen our utilities leaving many without water and electricity. Our streets are layered with a thick coat of ice and adorned with a snowy covering that has turned from snowball quality to a highly dangerous road hazard.

For those who endure far worse winters as a routine way of life, please know that we are not equipped to meet the challenges of icy winter storms. Our county does not have plows or dump trucks filled with a sandy/salty mixture for traction. We barely own clothing that would protect us below a temperature of 40 degrees if we dared to venture outdoors. And did I fail to mention that all cable providers have sent apologies for the outages?

Being from the Northeast, I have endured many harsh winters without blinking an eye. But the brutality of this storm has caused the cessation of all activities with the exception of looking out the windows. As I read, study, crochet, or use my cell phone to stay connected, I console myself that this storm will be over in four to five days. In fact, by next week our temps will be in the 60s.

During my solitude, I figured out a secret to staying content during our winter storm, I know that this storm will not last. There is an end to the harshness that has us at a standstill. If only it was that easy to remain content when I face the seasons of my trials and tribulations. If only my faith was stronger and I believed Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. There is no other way to grow strong spiritually than to go through trials.

God requires continuous growth. We are not where He needs us to be in our relationship with him. Faith and trust must flourish and until it does, God helps us to reach the mark, the level that pleases Him. Unlike the counterproductive storms, our trials produce: And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NKJV

God, we thank you for loving us so much that you help us to build the spiritual qualities that are pleasing to you. We pray for the strength to trust you during the process of changing and growing. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Looking Beyond Today

Good Morning. It is a new day, and we have received our gift of abundant new mercies. As I continue to think about peace and why there is a shortage of peace among believers, the Holy Spirit provided an answer: we are not thinking or preparing for Eternal life. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

As I searched for sermons on Eternal life, there were no up-to-date, 2020 sermons. From 2013-2019, there were a few brief sermons on Heaven and Eternal life. How is this possible? Are we so distracted or content with our present lives that we have lost our desire to live forever with God?

One of the posts even included a message entitled, “The Crippling Fear of Everlasting Life,” known as apeirophobia. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12. Remember that Satan boldly spreads false information, which is why we must boldly witness to others regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The most precious promise for a believer is if we are faithful, obedient, and strive to live righteously, then the ultimate reward is immortality in the New Heaven and New Earth. “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12-13

Yes, our lives are like boats on the ocean that fluctuate between fearful storms that bring strong tumultuous waves and the soothing calm of tiny ripples. But we must always remember that we have the Captain and His Crew. God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and countless angels are always available who will never leave us, nor will our boats capsize and sink to the bottom of the ocean. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I share the answer to my prayer on how to have perfect peace every day. Despite our circumstances, we must always believe in the power of God and acknowledge that He gave Jesus, His Son, for the redemption of my sins. Make the decision not to let your circumstances prevent you from grasping the peace that flows from God. Ask yourself, “How often do I think about the promise of life in the New Heaven and New Earth?” 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. God always fulfills His promises! All He asks of us is to have faith. From today forward, believe that all things are possible with God, and obey His command, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

There is great joy that comes from knowing the vacation you planned will happen soon. Begin to look forward to the promise of eternal life. We know how the story of this earthly journey ends. For the faithful, God has promised to change our bodies from mortal to immortal, from trials and sorrows to forever possessing joy. We will be able to laugh, never to shed tears for any reason, and be surrounded by the glory of God. Yes, we must look forward to speaking with Jesus, the one who died for us, and now serves as our Heavenly Intercessor. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5

The Apostle John describes his vision:

18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.
22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 22:18-27. Amen!

God, we thank you for the great sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. We ask for forgiveness of not claiming your promises of peace and eternal life. It is our desire to live forever with you in the perfect New Heaven and New Earth. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus who is coming soon. Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.