As the Seasons Change

As for me, I will see your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. Psalm 17:15.

The Apostle Paul placed great emphasis on the transformation of our character. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14. We are preparing now to live forever in a perfect and sinless New Heaven and New Earth. We cannot justify holding onto ungodly character traits and unrighteous habits, which will prevent us from receiving our reward of eternal life. Knowing what God expects from us will give us the motivation to please Him. You must be holy because I, the Lord, am Holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. Leviticus 20:26. Amen.

Prayer: God, it is our desire to change and to strive for righteousness. We ask for forgiveness of our sins. God, we desperately need your help in our spiritual transformation. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Trading In the Old Me

Imagine that you received an even-trade offer to receive a new vehicle for turning in your current vehicle. The only condition is that you would not see the new vehicle prior to the trade. Some would hesitate and need time to think about it, while others would give a definite answer of no. Still, there is the enthusiastic group that would be elated, readily agreeing to participate in the blind trade.

When we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we agreed to surrender and to become His disciples. Changing us from our inherited tendencies, eliminating our self-reliance, taking away the desire for worldly habits, and giving us a character makeover is a lifetime spiritual process known as Sanctification. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ have become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” NLT. Yes, Sanctification is to become holy as Jesus is holy.

Where do you stand as far as trading off the old you in exchange for the new person in Christ Jesus? Which group of individuals represent your decision to become like Christ?

Prayer: God, we thank you for the opportunity to become holy and to live righteously. We have made the decision to be faithful disciples in preparation for eternal life. Thank you, for giving your life that we may be redeemed from our sins. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The Internal Battle

“All that glitters is not gold” is a message of awareness to the hidden deceptions that exist behind the beautiful and the glamorous. We receive the warning to be cautious of the people, places, and things that appeal to and delight our five senses. The Apostle Paul tells us, You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Remember to pray and ask for help from the Holy Spirit. We will always have conflict between the desire for carnal–worldly pleasures and the things of God, which are spiritual. Even so, God has a Spiritual Team to provide immediate help and assist us to be Overcomers!

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:12‭-‬13 NLT

Prayer: God, we ask you for strength to overcome the challenges of desiring and choosing the things that are ungodly. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The Price is Too High

Many years ago, I was the Nurse Administrator in a minimal correctional facility operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. Random searches for illegal paraphernalia were conducted on a routine basis. Thankfully, the facility director was very protective of the female staff and would inform me of the scheduled search the day before.

The protocol involved total lockdown, which required that our entry-proof door of the clinic be double-bolted from the inside. Except for the Director, all staff was sequestered in their offices for an unlimited time until “All-clear” was announced. Although, in-house searches were part of the environment, this one was different. The Dept. of Corrections had escalated the search by bringing in an outside task force.

On this particular day, my coworker and I decided to peek at the officers and dogs entering the corridor. We were younger, and our curiosity had gotten the best of us. The ferocious barking that we heard from the team of dogs made our hearts race and accelerated our breathing. But in our desire to see, we were not prepared to witness armed officers with massive-sized German Shepherd dogs. Nor did we realize how a man would appear shackled with chains around his chest, back, wrists, and ankles to our curious eyes. When his eyes met with our eyes, he dropped his head in shame.

After witnessing the dogs, armed officers, and the shackled offender, my coworker began to cry uncontrollably. Since the sick call was canceled for the day [exceptions for emergencies], we stayed in our clinic with the door closed to process what we had witnessed. It was overwhelming, to say the least, sixteen years have passed, and I still remember every detail.

Sin shackles our minds and bodies. If only we would reflect on the devastation that we suffer when we choose to live outside God. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23‭-‬24

King David realized the devastating impact that sin has on our hearts: Sin shackles us in the chains of wickedness and separates us from God. Yes, we can always pray for forgiveness. But, sin leaves residual effects by desensitizing our desire to live holy and acceptable lives before God. The pleasures of this world are deadly. We can never pay the price that sin requires of us. Our morals and values deteriorate along with our desire to live faithful and obedient lives to God, our Creator.

Jesus went above and beyond, giving His life so we can have salvation, a permanent solution to our inherent sinful desires. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Matthew 6:24. We must make the decision to either serve God and live according to His plans, or we must continue to enjoy the people, places, and things that make us feel good. Serving God means total surrender to His will and His way. If God required Jesus, His only Son, to suffer, bleed and die for us, then He requires us to choose this day who we will serve. Free yourself from the shackles of your desires.

Bible Study: Psalm 139

God, we pray for forgiveness of our sins. We need your strength to release us from the habits, and people that are feeding our desire to sin. Thank you, Jesus for your great sacrifice. We pray 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.