The God Who Knows

God is Omniscient–all knowing. Nothing that happens in our lives comes as a surprise to Him. Did you know that God is aware of every trial and sorrow that we will face [present and future]? He also knows how we will react to each challenge. It is by faith that we can grasp His promise to never leave or forsake us. And it by faith, that we can have the reassurance that He will bring us through as victorious overcomers.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Prayer: God, we thank you for loving us. We are overwhelmed by the hardships that we are going through and ask you to give us peace while we endure suffering. God, our confidence is in you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson

The Prayer of Faith

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” 1 Kings 17:1

When I read the story of the prophet Elijah praying for rain to stop for three years, I asked myself, “Who was this man of exceeding faith, and how can I become faithful like he was?”

Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain, and the earth began to yield its crops. James 5:17-18

So let’s go to the scriptures to see what God has to say about us having the capability to have Elijah’s solid and unwavering faith.

    1. Our faith pleases God: And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6
    2. Stay in the will of God: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
    3. Ask and receive: “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” John 16:23
    4. Get rid of a disorganized lifestyle: Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
    5. Patiently wait for God’s answer: Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
    6. Obey His commands: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Luke 6:46

Having faith over fear remains a challenge for most believers. The disciples who were in constant physical contact with Jesus, the Son of God also struggled with their faith. We have our own agendas and plans which are contrary to God’s plans, which prevents total faith and trust in God.

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26

    1. Fear prevents us from having solid and unrelenting faith in God: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
    2. God is Omnipotent: Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
    3. Pray often, but do not fixate on yourself: Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
    4. God knows, and He cares: Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

Bible Study: 1 Kings 17 and James 5

Prayer: God, we are weary because our faith is weak. We are ready to have rock-solid faith like Elijah. Please teach us to take one day at a time in our spiritual growth. We desire to live faith-based lives by trusting you with all of our hearts. 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.

The Cry of Victory! Happy Sabbath!

Prayer: God, we pray that you open our spiritual eyes. Amen.

Jesus is here, walking in front of us. We are entering another storm, even so, keep your eyes focused on the Savior. Follow your Guide! The path is narrow. Don’t look to the right or to the left! And if the cloudy darkness of hardships and sorrows blind you, just call out, “Jesus, I can’t see you, Jesus, please help me.”

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

It is a conscious decision to awaken to a new day and invite Jesus into our life. “Behold, I stand at the door [our heart, which is our mind] and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20.

Struggles are necessary to develop the faith that keeps us totally dependent: “…Without Me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Yes, we are required to surrender our will, along with the way we think and the things we desire. And why not? For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Read Joshua chapter 6.

But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.” Joshua 6:2‭-‬3.

Faith: Have we placed ourselves in the position to receive God’s plans? “Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10. Prayer keeps us connected to God. Why is studying the Bible a necessity? Not only do the scriptures reveal the character of God, but they also teach and remind us that faith, trust, and obedience are required to stay in alignment with God. Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Alpha and Omega is the only way to receive salvation.

Obedience: “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” Joshua 6:10

Victory: When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. Joshua 6:20

Like the walls of Jericho that fell, if we put God first, He will lead and guide us through every heartache, tribulation, and challenge. Put your faith and trust in Him. It is only then, we can cry the shout of victory!

Prayer: God, thank you for loving us. Please forgive us for our sins. We desire to faithfully serve, obey, and wait for you to reveal your plans for our lives. We thank you for the gift of the Sabbath–a time dedicated to redirecting our focus on you. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

We Have Everything We Need

When I pursued my nursing degree at the age of forty, I felt insecure because my classmates were in their twenties. Realizing that the sharpness of my cognitive abilities had passed their peak performance, I doubted God’s directive for me to relocate from New Jersey to Upstate NY. But during the first day of class, our tough-as-nails Nursing 1 professor reassured us that if we dedicated our time and efforts to learn, they [the professors] possessed the knowledge and teaching skills for us to achieve our goals. On the final day, it was only seven of us who completed the rigorous program. But it was a high-time of celebration. We embraced each other and shouted, “We made it!”

The most challenging journey that we will ever endure is the one of following Jesus Christ. Many succumb to the rigors of striving to live holy and simply give up. Would God give us the impossible? We have a team, God, the Father, Jesus, our Savior, the Holy Spirit, and messenger angels to ensure that we will make it through this turbulent journey called life. 

  1. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26.
  2. The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10
  3. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
  4. And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we already possess what we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

Our responsibilities in the plan of salvation:

Mandatory: And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Faith knows that every day our lives bring uncertainties, but faith believes that God has the power to take care of our trials, sorrows, and hardships. Faith is not a feeling based on an emotional high or low. Faith requires total surrender to the Almighty God. 

Prayer and Study: It is from lack of knowledge [we must study the Bible] and inconsistent communication [always pray throughout the day and night] that our relationship with God lacks strength and depth. Just as the professor reassured us that they were well-qualified to provide everything we needed to become registered nurses if we did our part, God promises to bring us victory when we stay connected to Him. 

When sin struggles for the mastery in your soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, go to the Saviour. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin. He will pardon us, making us joyful in God. Let us no longer talk of our inefficiency and lack of power. Forgetting the things that are behind, let us press forward in the heavenward way. All heaven rejoices when weak, faulty human beings give themselves to Jesus to live His life. Ellen G. White

Redirect your focus: “We have everything we need.” Our spiritual team is always ready. Never give up! 

“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12-13

Bible Study: 1 John 5

Prayer: God, we ask you to forgive our doubt and unbelief. Thank you for loving and taking care of us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. 

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

Following Jesus Can Cost Your Life

Then Jesus said to his disciples, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Prayer: God, we are ready to recommit our hearts, souls, and minds to you. It is our desire to deny our desires and to faithfully serve you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Just Say Yes

When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5:6

Jesus is waiting for our faith-based answer of ” Yes.” Whatever is going on in your life, He was aware before it happened. It’s time for us to rely on God in every situation. “Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Trust God

God, we are saying, yes. We give you every burden, every situation, and every hardship to You. And we will faithfully wait until you bring victory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Kristene DiMarco–It is Well (Live)

Our Determination

Throughout Jesus’ life, He stayed close to God by constantly praying for strength. Jesus lived a life having devout love for God and others. The compassion to heal, speak words of hope, and provide for basic needs was evident by the many miracles He performed. Yes, Jesus is our role model for living righteously.

Casting all your care on him, for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7. It takes strong determination to have faith in God. We cannot accomplish this daily task without the strength given by the Holy Spirit. To receive the power to overcome temptation and hardships, we must stay connected to God through constant prayer.

Of the many activities we do in life, prayer is the most important. Our willingness to trust and obey God is reflected by the amount of time we spend with him. Prayer is for our benefit. Through prayer, we experience change. We live a faith-based life having the confidence that God will always provide deliverance. Prayer allows us to redirect our focus from earthly trials and look forward to eternal life. “Do not grieve, because the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

God, we come to you on this Sabbath day acknowledging that you love and care for us. We have the desire to stay connected to you. Please restore the joy and peace that we have lost. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

The Desire to Have a Higher Quality of Life

Here’s to our Health!

We can agree that each day brings its challenges. As we struggle to resolve yesterday’s problems, tomorrow arrives, bringing with it additional hardships. Will it ever end? Not really, but we do have an option. What changes can we make to improve our quality of life?

First, we must take a deep look at our priorities and goals. Our lifestyle and pursuits indicate the hierarchy of what we consider to be important. Every individual has unique interests, and that’s okay. If fashion is our first love, then our focus will be on the latest trends. We will have a strong desire to pursue a glam lifestyle with a room-size closet full of clothing and accessories.

Our choices are always indicators of our priorities.

How did we react to purchasing during the pandemic? “In the U.S., consumers spent $211.5 billion during the second quarter on e-commerce, up 31.8% quarter-over-quarter, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.” https://www.jpmorgan.com/solutions/cib/research/covid-spending-habits

Without discipline and self-control, our desires escalate, and we never reach the point of saturation–we are unable to stop ourselves from the spending frenzy, nor do we embrace the concept of “enough is enough.” It is the pursuit of our “wants” that drives innovative ideas and the war between businesses to fight for a competitive edge. Supply and demand is a powerful force, meet the consumer’s demands or face declining sales with the possibility of bankruptcy.

And voicing our demands works quite well. Consumers spent more than 900 billion dollars online during the pandemic in 2020. And our expenditures were well beyond purchasing essential items. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/06/consumers-spent-900-billion-more-online-in-2020-mastercard-report-says.html

How did we end up compromising our quality of life?

We are stressed because our pursuit of happiness depends on the acquisition of tangible items—the habit of seeking self-satisfaction is driven by the opinions of others. Convincing the consumer that we cannot live without upgrades is the foundation for successful marketing and advertising. We are spending billions on personal desires. The price is costly. Our mental and emotional health has plummeted. Depression, anxiety, and constant worries prevent any chance of possessing the beauty of having peace and inner joy.

Even so, we have a growing number of people who are concerned about their frazzled lifestyle and poor quality of life. They have developed a plan of escape. The decision to opt out of the stress and emptiness from pursuing things is on the rise. Yes, we have a diverse population of individuals who have opted-in to live the country life, van life, and tiny-home life. While some may see this as unrealistic or an easy way out, it takes inner strength and hard work to make a plan, sell your material/tangible items, and distance yourself from mainstream society.

When I experienced a significant life event last year, I begin to reflect on the quality of my life. “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. Yes, I had to start life over, but something did not feel right. I begin to pray for a change in my environment. Six months later, God answered my prayer. The change that I prayed for was in my immediate future. The landlord notified me that he was selling the property.

Alone, I drove a 20-foot U-haul truck 1500 miles, which resulted in living on the road for four days. The further south, I traveled the hotter the temperatures and the more frequent the rainstorms. Although my overnight stays were at hotels, the move from Texas to Florida required creative solutions. For 12 hours a day, I lived out of a truck. During the daytime hours, I had to GPS local supermarkets to replenish my food and ice to keep my essential food items cool.

The days were long. I looked forward to the rest stops to walk and take short naps. Replenished, I pushed toward my goal. Still, it was the most incredible experience to enjoy the scenic ride, complete with witnessing the beauty that still exists on the planet Earth. It was a tough, and tiring journey, but I did it! The decision to have a higher quality of life forced me to rethink my priorities, and I took active steps to pursue my dream.

In Genesis chapter 1, God provides us with a complete description of Creation. God made a perfect, beautiful home for the first married couple with all types of animals to care for and an abundance of flowers and trees. Does that prove that God desires for us to have a peaceful and joyful existence?

We are promised a reward to live in the New Heaven and New Earth when we are faithful to God. Until Jesus comes again, we can have a higher quality of life. It was not God’s original plan for us to live in the noise and busyness of the concrete jungle where trees and flowers are nonexistent. We have a greater appreciation of our Creator when we can contemplate on His goodness in a peaceful and beautiful environment with sunshine and fresh air where you can hear the birds sing and commune with Him in nature.

Pray for change and the strength to improve the quality of your life. But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Bible Study: Genesis 1

God, we need your help to change. Our desires have prevented us from having peace and joy. We admit that our lives are out of control. Please reveal to us how to live a peaceful and productive life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.