Spiritual Self-Evaluation

Last night, I prayed a prayer that left me feeling uncertain about my relationship with God. I asked God to reveal “all of my character flaws.” I desire to change and to live my life clothed with Christ’s righteousness. The reward of eternal life that Jesus has promised those who faithfully serve Him;  yes, I desperately want the reward of living with God in a perfect world.

Presently there is the curse of sin upon this world. Even so, God is preparing a New Heaven and New Earth for the righteous to live in forever with Him. 

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. Revelation 22:3.

The reward for the faithful: 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

Now is the time for us to self-evaluate. I promise you that God will readily answer the prayer of anyone who desires to get rid of ungodly character traits. Never lose hope. We are nearing home!

Bible Readings: Galatians 5:22-23, Hebrews 12:14

God, please reveal the flaws of our characters and our sins that we may confess and repent. We pray to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Our Talents and Abilities

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Most of us have received gifts chosen out of love but forced us to smile and secretly wonder, “What will I do with it?” There is only one Giver of perfect gifts. God always provides us with excellent gifts. Unfortunately, many of us do not recognize that we have received our spiritual gifts [some individuals receive multiple gifts] or we lack understanding of using the gift.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17.

Gifts are usually tangible items of value that we can see, touch, and use for our purpose. But God’s priority is giving us intangible gifts. The writer, artist, mathematician, musician, motivational speaker, or athlete demonstrate their talents and abilities given by God. Do you easily provide comfort and encouragement? John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” John 3:27. Spiritual gifts enable us to achieve spiritual growth by honoring God and serving others.

Many years ago, I worked with a nurse who was an artist. She would often ask me to explain God’s love but refused to attend church or interact with believers. One evening at work, she shared that as a child, she grew up in an orphanage where she was physically beaten every day because of her outward beauty. Then she asked if she could show me some pictures. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect. When I looked at the beautiful images that reflected artistic genius, I realized that God is merciful. From her pain, God had gifted her with the ability to express “perfect beauty” on canvas.

God placed on my heart to invite her to my church’s health fair, where she brought her paintings for display and taught a class where we learned to paint even if our previous experience was only drawing stick figures. During our next shift, she thanked me for inviting her to church and asked if I had disclosed her background. I answered no and explained that would be a grevious sin against God, and a breach of trust and confidentiality. She then expressed that she felt God’s love from everyone, and finally believed that God does love us. All praise and glory to God.

God has a variety of spiritual gifts. Your gift will probably be different from my gift. Yet, God never leaves anyone empty. If you are not aware of your gift or doubt the reason for your abilities, Peter, Jesus’ disciple, explains:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Living for God requires daily worship through knowledge of the scriptures, constantly praying, having complete faith and trust in God’s plans, and being a servant–helping others. We should never bring attention to ourselves. We use our spiritual gifts [talents, abilities] to bring attention to God. With humility and obedience, our thoughts, words, and actions will reflect the character of Jesus Christ.

How did Jesus use his gifts? The Lamb of God born into poverty used His gifts to offer love, compassion, and healing to those who suffered from mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses. “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” John 8:29.
If you are struggling in your relationship with Christ, pray and ask God to reveal your spiritual gifts and His plan and purpose for your life.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Bible Study: 1 Peter 4

God, we desire spiritual growth and to do Your will. Please reveal our spiritual gifts and your plan and purpose for our lives. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

We Have Crossed the Line

When a couple decides to have children, and the pregnancy test results are positive, they are filled with happiness and joy. From the decision to create humanity, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 to the creation of Adam and Eve’s home, the Garden of Eden, I am confident that God was overjoyed to create us.

Just as parents prepare to take care of their baby, God committed to taking care of us even before we were conceived. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. And the promise to care for us extends throughout our lifetime: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4.

What happened that made us cross the line into an area of worry and anxiety? 

We were excited when we found out that Jesus died and was resurrected to redeem us from our sins. And then we read that our heavenly Father promised to take care of us:

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:31-33

Because Jesus’ life on earth included unexpected hardships, He forewarned us to expect suffering: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. We should possess joy, peace, and happiness because Jesus made the commitment to take care of all of our trials and sorrows.

When a baby is in need, it simply cries. Prayer, connects us to the source! Through prayer, our cries for help reach the ears of God, who already knows what we need. Still, God requires the human effort of humility and faith. We cannot let our hardships overshadow our faith in God. Pray and look forward to watching how God will solve your challenges. God intentionally limited our strength and power because He desires that we totally rely on him.  

Get back on the other side of the line by believing in God’s love, promises, grace, and mercies. We can rid ourselves of feeling down and out and full of anxieties and worries. From this moment forward, memorize God’s promises and live according to the guarantee that God will take care of you. Whisper a prayer each new day and place your life in the loving arms of God, our Father.

Bible Reading: Psalm 23 and 27

God, we often fail to remember your promises and power. 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.

Is there anything to hard for me?

In Jeremiah 32:27, God reminds us that He is the Creator of humanity, and His power supersedes every hardship or challenge that we face. It is up to us to demonstrate faith by connecting to God through prayer. So, go ahead, pray, believe, and wait. Victory is guaranteed.

Prayer: God, we ask you for restoration. Our fear is great and our faith is small. We renew our commitment to love and trust you with all of our heart, soul, and mind. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

First Impressions

It is human nature to look our best. After all, the first impression is the lasting impression. For human eyes, this may be true. Thankfully, when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, it is not our first impression that others see that counts. The Lord has appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3. 

God looks at the sincere heart of the one who is seeking repentance and forgiveness. He accepts us exactly where we are in our lives. God showers us with His unconditional love, grace, and mercy that only a Heavenly Father can give to us. Embrace the opportunity for God to change you into the best that you can be.

Bible Verse: But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Prayer: God, we thank you for seeing us from the inside. We give you our heart and ask you to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 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.