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.

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

Still Have Concerns and Worries?

Accepting Jesus as our personal Savior brings responsibilities to maintain the relationship between God and ourselves. Our covenant with God requires us to believe that He is Omniscient–All Knowing and Omnipotent–All Powerful. God told Moses, “Tell them, ‘I AM’ sent you.”

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27. God is a keeper of His promises. God does not require us to carry the burdens of life without His divine intervention. We dishonor God with our doubts and unbelief. God expects us to keep our part of the covenant by faithfully trusting and waiting on Him in good or challenging times.

We are to live a life by faith and purpose-driven with the intent to serve God and others.

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.

In His mercy, God made a covenant with Noah to cleanse the earth of humanity’s wickedness. “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.” Genesis 7:6. Although Noah was mid-life, he was faithful and demonstrated complete obedience by building the ark according to God’s instructions.

In comparison to biblical times, we have an easy life. We perceive our lives as unbearable because we do not want to experience the suffering of trials and sorrows. God will allow what is needed for us to experience complete dependence on Him. Our covenant with God is a vow for us to “believe in Him, and to patiently wait until He brings us victoriously through our challenges.”

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

Bible study: Genesis chapters 5-9

Prayer: God, we ask for forgiveness for responding to our suffering by worrying. It is our desire to completely trust you with our lives. Thank you for the Sabbath and your daily gifts of grace and mercy. We ask for the strength and courage today to faithfully serve you. 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.

Tired of Having Hard Times?

Not only that, but 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 5:3-5

I have to confess that I haven’t reached the stage in my spiritual journey where I rejoice during hard times. So, I imagined yesterday; God said, “Enough crying and feeling down.” While searching for a specific scripture in Luke 4, I decided to study the entire chapter. As I read the events that led to Jesus’ Rejection in Nazareth, I couldn’t get past verses 28, 29, and 30.

When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way. Luke 4:28-30

I read these three Scriptures repeatedly, attempting to process and visualize an angry mob planning to push Jesus over a cliff. Why? Because He told the truth!

Yes, I understood the lesson that God was teaching to me, but I still have been wrapped up in my emotions during this challenging trial that I am going through. I can honestly say that “God is love, and full of grace and mercy.” Today, every hour, I have been praying. Immediately after I finished my 5 pm prayer, the words, “If you suffer, you will reign with him,” came into my mind. Since I had no prior knowledge of these words, I did an internet search out of curiosity. 

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us…” 2 Timothy 2:12

The Apostle Paul wrote the First and Second letters of Timothy to encourage the young believer to endure and persevere all trials because he would receive a great reward.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. So I am willing to endure anything if it brings salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. 2 Timothy 2:3, 10-13

 Enduring hardships is part of the believer’s journey. If we desire eternal life, then we must embrace hard times. Jesus suffered, bled, died, and was resurrected for the redemption of our sins. Let us prepare to reign with him forever and ever. Amen.

Bible Study: 2 Timothy 2

God, we thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to teach us the purpose for suffering. We pray for strength and a change in attitude while we endure the hardships of life. 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. 

GOD will take care of you

Happy Sabbath!

What are the chances of a bee flying into the one flower that you chose to take a picture of? But much to our surprise, the unbelievable happened. 

We read biblical stories of the many miracles performed by God. Yet, we doubt that He is still performing miracles. “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6. We have become so distracted that we miss seeing our daily blessings and miracles of God’s grace and mercies. Remember, when we have complete faith and trust in God, then our blessings are guaranteed.

The bee in the flower reminds me of the promise found in Matthew chapter 6.

“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. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:31-34

The bee did his part by flying around to find the flower. God promises if we pray, study the Bible, and have faith and trust in Him, then He will give us “everything we need, including His perfect peace.” Perfect peace means no worries whether we are in the valley lows or the darkest storms of trials and sorrows. Seek God first! God’s promises include emotional healing, financial stability (not wealth), and most importantly spiritual growth. 

Seek God first!

Bible Study: Isaiah 26

Prayer: God, we admit that we are not feeling our best. Please provide us with comfort from the Holy Spirit and give us the strength to endure our trials and sorrows. We thank you for the Sabbath and your never-ending grace and mercies. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Loving God and the Sabbath

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Happy Sabbath!

With heartfelt gratitude for a loving God that anticipated humanity’s every need, I invite you to say a simple prayer, “Thank you God for the Sabbath.”

For 24 hours,  we can say goodbye to the routine concerns of everyday life.  Remember the Sabbath day, the day God rested on, and our precious gift to receive spiritual renewal and mental, emotional, and physical rest.

I have been a Sabbath keeper since the age of 15. You may think that my parents enforced Sabbath-keeping, so the choice was not mine. Not so. They were religious, but did not keep the Sabbath. At 15, I became an emancipated teenager who loved God and made the commitment to give my whole heart to our Heavenly Father by doing what my friends did not understand, honoring the fourth commandment.

When I studied the story of the Creation, I knew that I had to keep the Sabbath. Yes, I had to pray and do research to understand Genesis 1:5, And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day., to fully understand the Sabbath begins at sunset Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. Even so, I felt the need for commitment and obedience to God, which outweighed the need for complete understanding. Deep down, I knew that I was pleasing God by keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.

Many human-made theories attempt to disprove the seventh-day Sabbath. But when I look at how humanity has disregarded and messed up God’s plan for us, I choose God and His plan for my life. There are many worries that I don’t suffer from; burnout, depression, or the accelerated aging process. My gifts for total obedience to God are inner joy and peace. Times that I begin to concentrate on the circumstances instead of praying for divine intervention, God reminds me that He is waiting for me to come to Him through prayer.

The Sabbath provides a weekly spiritual boost and the reinforcement that we need to stay connected to God. Spending 24 hours focused on the Creator and His blessings have great rewards, such as praying for strength (and receiving strength immediately) when faced with temptation, trials, and tribulations. Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24. I readily admit my dependence on God. Desiring the love and nurturing that only God can give builds my faith and trust, and deepens my relationship with my Father.

I have been asked what are the secular things that I put on hold on the Sabbath.

My Sabbath don’ts: No social media or unnecessary phone conversations. There is nothing that I discuss or resolve that I should have taken care of the other six days of the week: no cooking or any housework. Cleaning, and laundry are completed during the week. And, meals for the Sabbath are cooked on preparation day, Friday before sunset. There are no financial transactions for buying or selling, nor do I purchase restaurant food. All of my favorite online design games or pleasure-seeking activities are placed on hold.

My agenda is geared for spiritual growth and development. For me, the Sabbath is not a ritual or a list of things I cannot do. With love in my heart, it is a day that I dedicate all of my time to God. I love to sing to God. My praise and worship also includes a prayer for the Holy Spirit to anoint me like those on the Day of Pentecost, found in Acts chapter 2. Enjoying nature is a must on the Sabbath! We can witness the mighty power and creativity of our Heavenly Father when we seek out the beauty of His wonderful world.

There is no disagreement that “Life is tough!” After six days of sensory overload, reading, and hearing the worsening conditions that plague our earth, social injustice, and civil unrest, I eagerly await sunset every Friday. I have already tried living as a stubborn, self-seeking, and disobedient person, but I quickly learned that suffering from negative consequences is not for me.

Jesus already told us, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. here on Earth you will have many trials in sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Because we make a covenant that is a total commitment to God, we trust that His way is perfect. Another reason for devout Sabbath-keeping to stay in sync with God.

Jesus replied, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Matthew 22:37. There were times that I have gotten off track by loving the people, places, and things that only provided temporary relief from the hardships that I faced. Thankfully, I no longer make frivilous decisions. Since I have decided to go all the way with God, my perspective has changed, but the struggle to do the right thing remains.

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15

It takes our everything to serve the Lord. The battle to die daily to our sinful desires will always be our greatest challenge. Still, Jesus promised, And be sure of this I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20, last part. God’s promises are never-failing!

Trust God with your heart, don’t think about the “why” of His commandments. Just obey and do what God requires. “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.” Revelation 22:12. Never forget!  Jesus is coming soon, and so is our forever life in a perfect New Heaven and New Earth where all will keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

Bible Study: Exodus 20

God, thank you for giving us 24 hours of relief from the cares of this world. Please help us to realize that your plans supersede any plans that we can make for ourselves. We commit to obedience and living a faith-based life. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask 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 Source of Peace

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2 NIV

Trusting God with your life is the only way to have peace. Do you have a worry-free life? I encourage you to increase your communication with our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit is available to comfort us when we reach out to God in prayer. There is never a time that any of our prayers remain unanswered. God loves when we remember Him through our prayers, praise, and worship.

Happy Sabbath!

Bible Study: Exodus 20:8-11, Psalm 91

God, we thank you for loving us and for the privilege of Prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021

Sunset today, Palm Bay, Florida

Happy Sabbath! Bountiful Blessings

You cannot spend day after day in the world without its affecting your mind and will and heart. It doesn’t take long to become disoriented to the ways of God. The world has a dulling effect on your spiritual sensibilities. God established the Sabbath, so His people could take an entire day to refocus on Him and His will for them after spending six days in the world. Today’s Devotional-Experiencing God Day-by-Day

Have we reached this conclusion? God desires that humanity receive the fruits of His love: grace, mercy, provisions, and protection. Have we allowed ourselves to become so distracted this week that we failed to praise and worship God? It is with intent and purpose that we continuously thank God because; Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Bountiful blessings gifted without merit! Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1

We receive above and beyond what we rightfully deserve. What about the sacrifice that Jesus, our Precious Savior, gave? He laid down His life for us! The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in all its fullness. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. John 10:10-11

What will it take for us to improve our memory? We should keep a daily log of the blessings that we receive? Every day, morning, and evening offer prayers of thanksgiving to gain a greater appreciation for our Father, who loves us unconditionally. This Sabbath, make a new commitment: Increasing our time in prayer, praises, and thankfulness to God: I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1. Amen.

Bible Study: 1 John 3:1

God, we want to say thank you for the Sabbath, your love, and your bountiful blessings. 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.

Happy Sabbath! The God of Peace–Jehovah Shalom

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Isaiah 32:17-18 ESV

Because of our sinful nature, we easily gravitate toward and exist in chaos and confusion. Our lives are full of anxieties and worries, which leave us stressed out and overwhelmed. The peace that God promises to all believers escapes us because we tolerate the source of disorder–we are the reason for the chaos in our lives.

Disorder and dissension among believers have always existed. Hence, one of the reasons that the Apostle Paul addressed his letter to the Christian Church in Philippi.

2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. Philippians 4:2-3 NLT.

Chaos defeats God’s purpose for our lives, which is to enjoy His peace. Without peace, we are unable to witness and spread the message of salvation to others. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Serving God guarantees us that we will have peace. The challenge: If you lack peace, then you must acknowledge that you are the root of the problem. You may say, “No way, am I the problem. It’s my circumstances, my job, family members, etc.” Even so, God says that you are the reason that you do not have peace.  

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

Now we will explore the reason that we are the source of not having God’s peace. The third person of the Trinity Godhead, the Holy Spirit, is not a part of our existence. Because many do not understand the purpose and power of the Holy Spirit, they never pray and ask to be filled, guided, or comforted by the Holy Spirit. There are some concepts that God expects us to accept and believe without further explanation. We believe because He says so. After all, He is God.

Again the apostle Paul tells us that we receive the Fruit of the Spirit when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV

Long-suffering: having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.

If we, pray daily for the Holy Spirit to be an active part of our lives, then we will possess the Fruit of the Spirit, which includes the fruit of long-suffering. Let’s recall our denial: You may say, “No way, am I the problem. It’s my circumstances, my job, family members, etc.” 

So when we become annoyed, upset, unsettled, disturbed, troubled, anxious, and angry, God tells us: No Holy Spirit=No Fruit of the Spirit! Now we must humble ourselves, acknowledge, confess, and repent to God that we are the root of the problem.

God, we confess, repent, and ask forgiveness for the strife that we have caused in our lives. We ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can truly enjoy the peace that comes from serving you, the Lord of Peace. Please provide us with the strength to overcome all distractions and challenge chaos and confusion with prayer, praise, and long-suffering. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen!

Happy Sabbath! Live as victorious overcomers every day through the power of the Holy Spirit!

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