Please, Don’t Say That!

There are some quips and quotes that produce a downward spiral of our inner joy and happiness. Although the reality is that the words may summarize the situation, they still leave a bitter impact on the mental and emotional well-being of the person who embraces these counterproductive statements. Let’s explore a couple of examples:

    1. “Good karma versus Bad karma.” If you are kind and do good, then good things will happen to you. But if you do bad things, then you will get back worse than you’ve given out.
    2. “Bad things happen to good people.” Because our perception of what constitutes “bad” differs from our life experience, I will only give one example of a tragic event. We can certainly agree that the premature death of a baby or child ranks as one of the highest on the list of bad things.

The reality is that both of these statements can easily be disproven. “Good karma versus Bad karma.” We have been given an innate drive to provide for our basic needs. So if a child never had enough to eat and learned that stealing was a method to diminish hunger, then certainly their perception of stealing is that it is a vital part of life. These children mature into adults with a skewed value system. As we differ, so do our definitions of “bad and good.” But the reality is that suffering impacts all of us.

“Bad things happen to good people.” Tragic events happen to everyone and are not dependent upon our good or bad character traits, personality, ethnicity, social, or financial status. Death is one of the cruelest events that humanity faces every day, and death is no respecter of persons.

How Negative Thoughts Are Ruining Your Life

“Whilst we know that a person’s genetics and life circumstances contribute to mental health problems, the results from this study showed that traumatic life events are the main reason people suffer from anxiety and depression. However, the way a person thinks about, and deals with, stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel,” said lead researcher Peter Kinderman, Head of the Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society. psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201408/how-negative-thoughts-are-ruining-your-life

“Don’t say things like that!” “Why would you say that?” “That was really a terrible thing to say.” Have you ever been told that something you said was inappropriate? It was not a slip of the tongue, nor was it based on an emotional response. Your innermost thoughts that were hidden in the deepest recesses of your mind finally erupted like a volcano. The vicissitudes (a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant) of life will make us better or bitter. Focusing on our circumstances produces anxiety and worry, which cancels our Faith in God.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:1-2 NLT

For those who are following my blog, you are aware that I place a lot of emphasis on studying the Bible and maintaining constant communication with God through prayer. The Bible provides the way and the means for us to live a faith-based life. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. And prayer is so vital that we are admonished to always pray, whether in times of peace and prosperity or turbulence and poverty. 

Believers in the Most-High God, this is the expectation that God has for us:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There is something that I love about the Bible; there are no secrets. No, we do not know the date that Jesus is coming again or the cause of the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Nor has the physical appearance been described when the righteous receive immortality at the Second Coming of Christ. Still, the Bible is a complete guide to living a victorious life as Overcomers!

The scriptures reveal the tribulations that we must face in our earthly journey: 

“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.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 3:3-5

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

The trials that I have suffered have been harsh, and if it were not for my faith in God, I probably would be institutionalized from a severe psychiatric disorder. But I am not! God delivered me and gave me complete mental and emotional healing, and I am sure that in those tribulations, my faith was only the size of a mustard seed.

The book of Job tells us of the extreme, harsh sufferings that Job, a righteous man, endured because Satan challenged God that Job only served Him because of his wealth. 

9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” 12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence. Job 1:9-12

The “wall of protection” is a gift from God that we have, or Satan would cause a continuous flow of tragic events, including death, to destroy the Believers in God. While we are blinded by our circumstances, the army of angels are protecting us, For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; Psalm 91:11.

In studying the Bible, I have never found a command for self-help in the “good or bad” times. We are admonished to have love, faith, trust, and obedience in God. Yes, we will cry many tears because of the hardships in our lives. Even so, I have learned to cry and pray at the same time. While the tears are flowing, I begin to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and my prayer of distress becomes a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. 

Human effort is required to remain joyful! Trust in God’s process because our times of struggle will produce necessary spiritual growth and development. After all, what is the purpose of faithfully serving God? We are eagerly awaiting our reward of Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Make it a rule never to utter one word of doubt or discouragement. You can do much to brighten the life of others and strengthen their efforts, by words of hope and holy cheer. Steps to Christ 119, 120. Ellen G. White

God’s promise to His Believers:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

Bible Reading: Psalm 91

God, we thank you for providing for us and for guiding us through the vicissitudes of life. We ask forgiveness for our lack of faith, focusing on our circumstances and thinking and saying negative words. We desire to live with a spirit of gratitude. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

God’s Love for Humanity: The Bond of Family

Long before the pandemic, I have traveled throughout the world, even to the most remote places. And all of my travels were possible because of technology. Yes, I am an enthusiastic virtual traveler. The authentic and pure beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me. But there is something else that places me in awe of God, our Creator: the uniqueness and diversity of human beings.

Because we only have a close estimate of the world’s population, I would venture to say we are closer to 8 billion people. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…Genesis 1:26 BSB.¬†The thought of almost 8 billion people with a unique set of fingerprints and outward appearances that differ as the flowers speak of the phenomenal love of God. Have you considered that every human being possesses DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid: a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code, which is God-created and God-designed? And it is DNA, the cord that connects all human beings as one family.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we immediately become part of the family of God, which is all-inclusive. There are character traits that Believers must possess:

    1. And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:10-12 BSB
    2. Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
    3. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
    4. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5: 22-23
    5. If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

We are required to embrace the concept of all humanity as one family: “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37, Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “Matthew 22:36-39.

Deal-Breaker

Have you ever been excited about buying something, and then you found out there was a catch to it? Cable companies are notorious for using the hook of an offered price, maybe $99 a month, but with the list of taxes, and fees the monthly rate actually turns out to be $129 a month. Gimmicks are certainly one of the easiest ways to convince a potential customer to spend more money than planned or if you immediately recognize what is going on, you can say no thank you. Still, the deceit is a deal-breaker!

Spiritual Deal-Breaker

Anger, holding grudges, and disliking others for any reason excludes us from being a Believer and part of the Family of God. When we embrace and practice unforgiveness, prejudices, biases, racism, and the principle of exclusion based on cultural and family traditions, social and economic status, religious differences, negative experiences, or personal choice, we are not obeying the commandments of God. Sadly, many who say they love God will miss out on the reward of Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth because of their “dislike” for others.

Hate is a strong word that most do not embrace. We use the phrase, “I just dislike her, him, or them” to minimize and support our bitter fruit of hate. What does God say about love and hate for others?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

God has no-compromise guidelines for our relationship with Him and with others. The first four, 1-4, commandments of the Ten Commandments describe what our relationship with God looks like, and the second set of commandments, 5-10, describe the way to live right with other people. Accepting that God created all human beings, regardless of the human-made labels of race, ethnicity, and nationality, requires that we abide by all of His commandments, which are based on unconditional love for God and one other.

Spiritual Deal-Breaker

In many homes, unconditional love and forgiveness are not present, which provides the foundation for disunity, friction, and unhealthy relationships among biological family members. The causes may be unstable marriages, parental favoritism, privileges given to male children over female children, sibling rivalry, and physical, mental, and emotional abuse, along with many other reasons.

Even so, we do not have to end up where we started. When we decide to become a Believer, the Holy Spirit helps us discard our previous ungodly behaviors.¬†And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 2 Corinthians 5:17.¬†To become a part of God’s family requires for us to possess the qualities that are pleasing to God. Our life-long journey is to strive toward spiritual perfection, which means that we live holy and acceptable lives.

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

If you are in a dysfunctional family relationship, then pray and take action. First, pray and ask God if you are the problem. It takes more than one person to argue and to be involved in verbal sparring. A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22. Do you smile, laugh, and say positive words? Believers should not have negative thoughts, verbalize harsh words, or be constant complainers. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. God has exceptionally high expectations of our character, Galatians 5:22-23, and how we treat others. Unconditional love empowers us to always treat each other with kindness and gentleness. We are to possess and represent the Character of Christ, so the world can see that being part of the family of God includes having a loving disposition, even under the most severe circumstances.

If you refer to the introductory paragraph, you will recall that I spoke about being a virtual traveler. However, it is my nursing career that provided the opportunity to interact and befriend individuals from diverse backgrounds. Yes, I am fully aware that cultural restrictions exist, and many individuals do not enjoy the freedom of making decisions to place themselves into the best situation. And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14. Even so, this is when we exercise our faith and watch for the powerful Divine Intervention of our Heavenly Father.

There are always benefits to serving God. He is forever faithful!¬†Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26.¬†Never feel that you do not have the option to leave an unhealthy relationship. God loves you. He is your Jehovah-Jireh, always providing.¬†‚ÄúI am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

When we accept Jesus Christ, we willingly place ourselves in the care of God, our Heavenly Father. First, affirm that you are part of the family of believers in the Most-High God. If you are in an unhealthy family environment, then take action. Pray as never before! God does not require us to stay in abusive situations. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24

Think about this concept; there are close to 8 billion people in this world. Not only are there countless believers present in every continent and country, but God also has legions of messenger angels that can represent themselves in human form. Pray, believe, and wait for God to demonstrate His mighty power to deliver you. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Daniel was delivered from the lion’s den: Daniel Saved from the Lions

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no musicians were brought before him. Also, his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now, the king was exceedingly glad for him and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury was found on him because he believed in his God.

Do not look at your circumstances!

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. 

Human Effort:¬†Submission to God requires humility and obedience, which are absolute requirements to be a part of God’s Family. We must take an active role in eliminating all unrighteousness from our lives.¬†Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Human Effort: Serving God always means that we have to relinquish the things that prevent us from having an up-close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. Giving up the obstacles of people, places, and things allows us to enjoy God’s perfect peace. Living righteously, and loving others with unconditional love, prepares us for the perfect life in the New Heaven and the New Earth where only perfect love will abide.

Divine Intervention: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

“Oh, how He loves you and me. He gave His life on Calvary, oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me. Oh, how He loves you and me.”

God, we thank you for creating the institution of family. We also thank you for the privilege of being your children and part of the family of Believers. We ask you to forgive us of the sins of hatred and all prejudice. Please help us realize that we share a common bond regardless of the world’s labels based on race, religion, creed, or color. We ask you to teach us how to love unconditionally and to get rid of bitterness, strife, and malice. It is our desire to have eternal life. Thank you for the Sabbath and the opportunity to deepen our relationship with you by putting all secular activities aside for 24 hours. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. 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.  

Love God, Love Others, and Love yourself!

Living a Peaceful and Contented Life

I can remember when Believers in God always displayed the inner joy that comes from serving God. There were never any negative words of defeat spoken from their mouths, and the smiles on their faces indicated their rock-solid faith in God. Even in severe trials and sorrows, the Saints of God still praised God.

The gospel singer CeCe Winans recently shared her father’s reaction when their oldest brother passed away in 2005. Pop Winans immediately lifted his hands and began praising God for the life of his son, Ronald, and thanked God for the time that He granted them to enjoy his presence.

I must admit that this is one of the most powerful testimonies that I have ever heard. After watching his son take his final breath, Pop Winans’s faith was so strong that he expressed gratitude to God. I pray every day to have this level of faith in God.

Our lives have evolved into a complicated web of misinformation, the pursuit of wealth, and overwhelming anxiety and worries. We are entangled in life’s complexities because we seek to blend in by accepting and practicing the world’s standards.

Had the coronavirus pandemic hit 20 years ago, ordering groceries and toilet paper from the comfort of your sofa wouldn’t have been nearly as easy. But in May alone, Americans spent over $77 billion through online retailers, and the industry saw sales growth typically reserved for the holiday rush. https://theeagle.com/business/investment/personal-finance/online-shopping-already-hit-holiday-level-peaks-this-year/article_d3aecca3-6a6e-5d84-b3be-8086025bb02c.html

When the Coronavirus developed into a pandemic, it was then that I started to read¬†Matthew 6:19-34 over and over again. My mindset and my spending habits changed to reflect necessities over desires. I reviewed my tangible long-term goals and eliminated them as I begin to focus on spiritual growth. I intentionally changed the way I prayed. “God, I want to thank you for… ,” was the beginning of my morning and evening prayers.

Throughout the day, I uttered prayers and lifted up songs of praise to God. And then I begin to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.¬†It was then that I begin to notice a change in my temperament. I felt an overwhelming peace that I had never experienced before. The inner joy began to display itself through laughter and smiles on my face. My conversation included gratitude for God’s love, grace, and mercy. I received the blessing of God’s peace by intentionally possessing the mindset of appreciation, accepting that I have everything that I need, and continually praising God with thanksgiving for His provisions.

King David says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Jesus, our Wonderful Lord, and Savior reminds us:¬†“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Finally, the Apostle Paul shares his spiritual wisdom: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12 NIV

And how is this possible? For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

God, we want to thank you for your love, grace, and mercy. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, that we are forgiven of our sins and have the opportunity to live with you forever in the New Heaven and New Earth. Most of all, thank you for the gifts of food, shelter, and clothing. We pray that we will never forget to keep a song in our hearts and a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. Please give us the strength to endure and always embrace and receive your unconditional love as our Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. 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.

 

 

Letting Go

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourself from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17

Growing up in a home with a Mother who was an Ordained Minister included strict guidelines and mandated obedience. We were not allowed to watch many television programs or cartoons, wear seductive clothing, or have friends who were unbelievers. It was not her intent for our family to blend in by adapting to the world’s ungodly standards. Although my father was not as strict as my Mother, he respected that she was a “Woman of God.”

Once I became “grown” and desired to explore the world, the first thing that I did was to pierce my ears, four piercings in each ear. In today’s standards, that wouldn’t even cause a reaction. But then the domino effect started. The love for expensive jewelry caused me to stop giving tithes and offerings.¬†“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8.¬†The transition to becoming a worldling was easy because I stopped studying the Bible and no longer attended church.

I never stopped believing in God. But serving God and living righteously were not my priorities any longer. Satan allowed me to meet a good man who was faithful, did not party, drink, smoke, or use profanity. But remember that there is always a gimmick when the gift is from Satan. Yes, my “good man” did not believe in marriage and was a self-proclaimed agnostic.¬†

There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred, and their life made a weariness. In order to gratify ambition and worldly desires, they wound the conscience and bring upon themselves an additional burden of remorse.

The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. . . . He bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 330.

Long ago, the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 31:3

Although I had given up on God by being enticed by the things of the world, God did not give up on me. One day, I was driving and saw a store, “One Dollar or More,” that caused me to stop. As I was browsing, an older woman approached me and started a conversation about the unique items that were in the store. Then she said, “God misses you.” I can tell you that was a “Jesus is LORD!” experience. She invited me to her church. I turned to resume shopping but then realized that I did not thank her. From where I was standing, I could easily see throughout the store. She was not in the store, so I went outside, but she was not there. Since this store was in New Jersey, the only parking available was metered parking. I do know this, that as old as the woman was, there is no way she could have disappeared in a moment.

I started attending church and was rebaptized. It was then the “Satan vs God” battle started. I ended the relationship with the good man before my rebaptism, but he wanted to remain just friends. Soon, I realized that he was a distraction. I had to make a choice, and that choice was painfully difficult. Even so, when God says that He always makes a way out from temptation and that he will never leave you or forsake you, He stands by His promises. As a newly baptized member, the church assigned a spiritual mentor who was a prayer warrior. God made sure that I did not have to fight alone.

As for the older woman, when I described her to the church members, I was told that no one fitting that description had ever attended their church. I believe that God sent one of His messenger angels to approach me as a kind, and soft-spoken godly woman to let me know that He still loved me, and He wanted me to return to Him.

For most of my life, I have traveled on a path of suffering. Nevertheless, God has always placed His loving arms around me. I encourage each of you to give up all worldly desires by following the will of God which places us in harmony with God. Yes, we will continue to struggle in our walk with God. Even so, when we live by faith and obedience, we will reap the benefits of having complete peace in our stormy trials and sorrows. And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. Amen!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 ESV¬†

God, we thank you for never giving up on us. We ask for forgiveness of our sins. We need your strength to overcome all worldly temptations. Thank you for being our Heavenly Father and loving us unconditionally. We pray this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. 

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

The Seed of Faith-Sabbath Devotional

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!… Isaiah 65:24

We can rejoice that God is Omnipotent, and His power has no limits. By God’s Word, we know this to be true. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Although we may possess rock-solid faith in God, many believers are feeling desperate because of their circumstances. I am aware of this growing issue because I blog on several Christian sites and read the heart-wrenching pleas for help. Many are asking, “I am trying so hard. How can I have faith in God? or “How can I get off of the roller-coaster ride of anxiety and worries?” Spiritual maturity comes with the responsibility of helping others learn who God is and identifying the stumbling blocks that prevent the peace and joy that comes from having a personal relationship with God.

Our perception of God either propels us forward to believe and live a faith-based life, or we live a life full of fear and uncertainty based on our abilities. Fear and doubt escalate when we become fixated on the challenges. And that fixation paves the way for a more significant problem; fear cancels out faith. Without faith, we lose sight of who God is, and we become players in the Game of Chance. The mindset of “whatever happens, happens, this is impossible” causes us to take risks to find solutions.

Let’s take a look at doing things God’s way.

Consider a golf ball, tennis ball, and basketball. Which ball would you select to represent God? Which ball would you choose to represent your faith in God? Because we know that God is our Creator, we may view Him as the basketball. If our Faith in God only measures the size of the golf or tennis balls then we have identified the reason for our emotional ups and downs. God requires that our faith and trust in Him are also the size of the basketball.

First, let’s define Faith: Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1. Remember asking for a toy, gaming console, cell-phone, or computer, and you were told not now, but maybe on your birthday or Christmas if you met certain conditions. You wholeheartedly completed all of the assigned tasks because if you did your part, you believed and trusted your parents 100% to keep their promise. 

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6. God is saying that we must possess that same child-like faith (belief) and trust that He always keeps His promises. Let’s use another example: When we accept a job, we take for granted that the employer will fulfill all of their contractual commitments, including paying the agreed-upon salary. We have complete faith and trust that we will receive a paycheck weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

For those who think that an employer has a legal responsibility to pay their employees, I will share this story: I worked for a healthcare facility with financial problems, and it was rumored they did not have the money for payroll. We laughed as we verbalized our confidence that not getting paid would never happen. On the Thursday before payday Friday, we were notified that a mandatory staff meeting was held at 9 am on Friday. I can still remember the butterflies in my stomach. Times were rough. Were the rumors true?

On that Friday, all of the Administrative staff was present, and as we received our checks (this was before direct deposit), we smiled as we breathed a sigh of relief. The announcement was then made, “Unfortunately, the checks that we have given you cannot be cashed. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to meet payroll. However, we have applied for a bank loan which should be disbursed in a few days.” We waited until the following Friday before our checks could be cashed. The facility was being investigated for fraudulent billing practices, and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement was being withheld until the completion of the investigation. Regardless of that incident, I never lost faith and trust in the employer that they would pay me as agreed on future jobs.

Let’s identify a few of the thoughts and actions that block our faith and trust in the power of God.

    1.  Holding onto negative past experiences.
    2. Using previous techniques to resolve the present issue.
    3. Seeking advice from multiple friends.
    4. Attempting to help God by using our strategies.
    5. Impatience within hours or days of asking for God’s Divine intervention.
    6. Half-hearted faith (belief) in the power and promises of God.

Self-reliance is a sour fruit from the tree of pride. We must make the life-changing decision to trust in God, or we will continue to use our limited abilities. The requirements for having an in-depth knowledge of who God is to possess the characteristics of love, faith, trust, obedience, and patience. Only then will our anxieties and worries be replaced by God’s soothing peace and wonderful joy, which are not affected by our challenges.

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

God has given each of us a seed of faith. God is already aware that your circumstances are distressing and that you are feeling hopeless. He knows that you need His help.

Pray, Believe, Trust, and Wait. 

Yes, the problem is impossible for you to solve. Even so, the next step is crucial! Now is not the time to panic. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:14. Please know that God has heard your plea for help. We do not have to beg God or perform acts of contrition. Pray for His intervention and Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14.

While we wait, we should develop the habits for living a faith-based lifestyle. Maintain a spirit of calmness by studying the Bible, praying prayers of thanksgiving, and singing songs that glorify God through joyful praise and worship. “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10. God deserves our worship. He freely extends His love, grace, and mercies every day.

Search your heart to make sure that your motives are to build a relationship with God for who He is, not because of what He can do. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8. Our thoughts and behaviors must be in alignment with God for us to know God. Daily praise and worship not only glorifies God, but we also experience a transformation, and our faith grows more in-depth as we begin to see God through spiritual eyes and realize that He is our all and all. Remember that placing ourselves in God’s hands guarantees a victorious outcome.

“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

Bible Readings: Psalm 27

God, we desire to have basketball size faith. We place our lives and situations in your hands, and ask for your Divine intervention. It is our desire to have an up-close and personal relationship with you. Please forgive us for our doubt and unbelief. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. 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.