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. 

The Uncertainty of Life

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

Answer the questions with yes or no:

1. Do you feel secure with the status of your life?

2. Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause you to feel even more insecure about your future?

3. Are you hoping that 2021 will bring new opportunities to your present circumstances?

4. Are your doubts and fears preventing God from bringing blessings and deliverance to your life?

God is fully aware of our abilities and limitations. The Bible is filled with unlimited promises and testimonies of God’s grace and mercies to humanity. We can be thankful that God will never tell us to figure out how to resolve our problems. There are no setbacks that God cannot make as a stepping stone to victory. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Confess your doubts and fears to God in prayer. Present your circumstances and faithfully wait for His victorious answer. And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Commit in 2021 to: Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

God, we admit that we are not feeling courageous about our present circumstances. But we do know that we need you in our lives. We pray for your Divine Intervention to calm our fears and to give us peace. Holy Spirit, please provide comfort and the reassurance that we are loved. 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.

Living by the Spirit’s Power– Sabbath Devotional, 1/8/2021

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…. 1 Corinthians 6:19

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16

To believe in God, we must also believe in the Trinity Godhead-God, the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. It appears that the least understood is the third person of the Godhead, who is the Holy Spirit.

We will not take an analytical approach or attempt to dissect the purpose of the Holy Spirit. Our approach to the Holy Spirit is one through total faith, which is a requisite to believe the biblically based definition. Faith facilitates wholehearted acceptance and understanding of the power and purpose of the Holy Spirit. 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. There are mysteries in the scriptures that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend, yet, because we love God and believe in Him, we acknowledge and embrace the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If God said it, then it is the truth! 

The Holy Spirit existed before Jesus came to this earth and before the day of Pentecost. In fact, we were promised the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekial 36:26-27

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit to His Disciples

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:15-17

Attributes of the Holy Spirit

  1. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Isaiah 11:2
  2. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 ESV
  3. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

The Day of Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.

4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. 5 At that time, there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!” Acts 2:1-7

From reading Acts chapter 2, verses 1-7, we receive God’s explanation of precisely what “speaking in tongues” is and what it is not, an unknown language. 

Serving God requires total faith, or it truly is impossible to please Him. The Plan of Salvation requires that we accept and believe in all of the Bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Now that we are aware of who the Holy Spirit is and His purpose, we can tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. By praying to be filled, to be guided, and to be comforted by the Holy Spirit we step forward in our faith-based journey. If you have made this commitment: Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 BSB, then you are ready to take your relationship with God to a deeper level.

Accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior requires faith. There are many things that we can imagine are a certain way. However, with faith, either you have it, or you do not. Faith requires constant and consistent human effort, faith is action. We make decisions every day regarding what we will wear, eat, drink, whether to pray or study the Bible. Faith is a choice, and it will take a concerted effort every time we are faced with a challenge to pray and believe that God will bring resolution and victory over all trials and sorrows that we face. “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

Initially, when we begin an exercise program, such as walking every day. We may start with 1-2 blocks or half of the walking course. Even so, as we continue to walk, our body builds strength, stamina, and endurance—our mindset changes as we begin to feel and see the changes in our mind and body. With perseverance, our blocks become miles, and we begin to smile and laugh more because we are proud of our accomplishment.

Spiritually, having faith in God takes us to a higher level in our relationship than we could ever imagine. Human Effort: If we pray and believe that God will always work it out for every challenge we face, then we are exercising our faith. Eventually, when troubles come our way, we have the confidence and reassurance to obey by patiently waiting on God. Divine Intervention: It takes the power of the Trinity Godhead for us to attain spiritual growth.

The inner joy, and peace of mind that we are missing can easily belong to us, if we put forth the effort to build and strengthen our faith!

The Holy Spirit is available to propel us into having a strong, faith-based foundation in our relationship with God. Through prayer, we extend our invitation to the third person of the Trinity to give us the power to be overcomers through Jesus Christ. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

God, we desire to live a faith-based life and with divine purpose. Please forgive us for our sins. We now understand that we cannot exist without the Holy Spirit. God, we pray to be filled, be led, be comforted, and receive knowledge and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. As we worship you on this Sabbath, we know that you can give us a Day of Pentecost experience, and we ask you to do this for your children. Thank you for providing all that we need to live victoriously as overcomers. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Link for additional scriptures on the Holy Spirit: https://www.openbible.info/topics/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. 

Happy Sabbath, January 2, 2021

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over…Genesis 1:26 NASB

The majority of individuals are aware of the genetic material in the 46 chromosomes that determine the traits passed down from their parents. But did you know that the characteristics of “Love and Faith” cannot be inherited from those same parents? The ability to love and believe in God was given to each of us by God, our Heavenly Father.

How do we know this? We were not spoken into existence. The first human, Adam, was lovingly handcrafted by the hands of our Heavenly Father.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7.

Read this verse until you understand the love, tenderness, and compassion that God has for humanity. If you can love your baby, who you cannot see until he or she is born, then how much love should we have for God, our Heavenly Father? The only label that we should care about is “Handcrafted with love by God.”

Our Creator, the originator of love, made us in his image, and with the free will of choice. How can we not love and faithfully serve God? God has given us a spiritual component that inherently has a natural desire to seek Him. It is the seed of faith that causes us to believe in a higher power outside of ourselves. We are naturally drawn to our Heavenly Father because that is part of our inherited spiritual traits.

I encourage you to mentally visualize God bending down and picking up ordinary dirt. The result is a complex human being with intricate body systems and emotions that no scientist can ever reproduce or clone. The breath of life which sustains us day-after-day can only come from God.

When our greatest desire is to see Jesus face-to-face, we will never dwell on the trials and tribulations that comprise the believer’s journey. We will live with the blessed hope that Jesus is coming again and faithfully prepare for Eternal life.

“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.” 20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12-13, 20

God, we thank you for creating us in your image. And we pray for the strength to endure as we await the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. 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.

Sabbath Devotional: Bridging the Gap to Emotional Healing

There is a pandemic three times greater than the existing Coronavirus pandemic touting numbers of over 79 million victims worldwide:

According to the WHO-World Health Organization: Depression is a common illness worldwide. Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from Depression. Know that this number only reflects the individuals who are diagnosed or seek therapeutic intervention. What is Clinical Depression? Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

Life is tough! Either the trials of life will produce resilience and strength or break you down until you throw in the towel, leaving you hopeless.

When I worked as a therapeutic psychiatric nurse, 99% of the patients admitted to the inpatient unit had a secondary diagnosis of Depression. They reported that the situations in their lives became so unbearable that they stopped trying. They gave up because the dark tunnel appeared not to have a way of escape.

The other statistic was that 99% also had a history of unhealthy, short-lived relationships. And because their relationships ended, the disappointment of being alone overpowered the ability to move forward. Relationships that cease to exist are a significant factor in catapulting individuals into emotional instability, and hopelessness. Although some people choose to be isolated and alone, isolation is an overly used defense mechanism to protect oneself from further emotional injury. Still, it facilitates an unhealthy response to the challenges of life. 

Do we necessarily need a support system?

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Family, both biological and the family of believers, and friends can also fulfill the healthy social interaction that God created us to enjoy. But be careful who you include as a support person. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17. Can a unbeliever talk to you about increasing your faith in God or offer to pray with you?

The focus of this Devotional is to provide the answers to eliminating emotional instability. It is through our spiritual relationships that we gain strength. The necessity of having an up-close, personal connection with God the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit makes the difference between living a peaceful, faith-based life, and one that is full of anxiety, worry, and depressed moods.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 NLT

In Genesis chapter 1, we are told that our physical bodies’ anatomy and physiology were created in the image of God. And since God created us to rule over every species of life that was made lower than us, we know that humanity has the highest level of intelligence of living things on this earth. Know who you are, and who you belong to. On the hierarchy of created beings, King David says: What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? 5 You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:4-5. We were made lower than the angels.

Isn’t believing in God enough? We are admonished to worship God through prayer, praise, and studying the Word. Staying close to God builds our faith and reinforces our dependence on our Heavenly Father.

Yes, we were made lower than the angels, but think on this: You crowned him with glory and honor. Maintain a spiritual connection with God, and He will empower, and enable us to be overcomers! Embrace your glory and honor by establishing your identity as a servant of the Most-High God. 

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! Psalm 95:6

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9

And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” 14 Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:6, 14

Crowned with glory, and honor; created to worship God, and we have angels who are sent to care for us. Why are we feeling depressed and downcast? Still, we must do our part in staying connected to God, because our adversary is seeking to cause turmoil in our lives.

Although Lucifer is a fallen angel, and His name is now Satan, we must never forget that Satan did not lose his angelic powers. This is why it takes Divine Intervention to give us the strength and victory over the temptations and the disappointments that we face every day. The Omniscient God knew the adversities that each of us would face. He is already aware of what we require from the Trinity to help us gain victory and be Overcomers. 

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation (trials and sorrows). But take courage; I have overcome the world! John 16:33

Jesus forewarns us that our life will be full of challenges, problems, and adversities. Even so, Jesus also tells us that He has victory over the lifelong struggles that humanity will suffer. Have courage! What is courage? Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/courage

How is it that we can serve the Most-High God and not receive healing?

The answer to bridging the gap to receive the miraculous healing power of God for all of our emotional illnesses is to worship God continuously. The Human Effort of love, faith, trust, obedience, diligent study of the Bible, and praying without ceasing imparts spiritual strength and healing.

“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.” Matthew 22:36-37

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Divine Intervention

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = The Victorious Outcome of Emotional Healing

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14. We are inhabitants of the land. When we do our part, God will step in and unleash His mighty power in a way that you will know it was God!

God’s Promises:

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“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

Seek God, and you will find the answer to your challenges. The Bible tells us everything that we need to know about God’s character and His power. We can talk to God at any time of the day or night through our prayers. We are unable to love a stranger with all of our heart, soul, and mind. It is impossible to believe in God and His promises without having unconditional love for God and unwavering faith in God. Are our prayers competing with the doubt in our minds?

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

I encourage you to try the Creator, the only one who can give you the perfect spiritual prescription to cure your emotional instability. 

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31

God, we admit that we have doubt, disbelief, and depression because we do not have a relationship with you, nor do we really believe in your power or your promises. And for this, we ask forgiveness. We desire to love you with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Please heal our emotional issues. We want to be made whole, and we believe that you will heal us. We thank you for the Sabbath, and we thank you for being our Jehovah Rapha-the God who heals. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Name. 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. 

Happy Sabbath! We are Not Forsaken!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Today, I read in Matthew chapter 27, the words spoken by Jesus just before His death on the cross:

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:45-46 NLT

If you are in a time of darkness, please know that God has not forsaken you. God has promised: He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3. I know that God keeps His promises. In October, I experienced loss, which left me as a family of one. Through my tears, many times, all I could do is pray, “God help me.” And just as God promises, the gaping wound in my heart has healed. It is said that time heals all wounds, which is not true. There is only one, our Heavenly Father, Jehovah Shalom-the God of Peace who brings us peace, comfort, and above all, healing.

Yes, I am grieving my loss. Still, I did not stop reading the Bible at Matthew 27. I continued to read Matthew chapter 28, which tells us of Jesus’ resurrection. God did not forsake Jesus, nor will He ever abandon those who He created in His image. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11.

Never give up the hope that we will have a better life. God gave us His best, His Son, Jesus Christ. No, human beings did not kill the Son of God. Jesus willingly gave His life to redeem humanity. Our greatest need was a Savior who would save us from our sins through forgiveness. 

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is coming soon:

12 “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.”

Do not let any situation leave you hopeless! 

20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. Revelation 22:20-21

Hold on! Continue, even in the midst of your tears, grief, and suffering, praise and worship God.

O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Psalm 95:6

God, thank you for loving us and giving your Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Please help us remember that you have glorious plans, promising us eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. We love you, and 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 author’s written permission.

Changing your Life by Witnessing-Happy Sabbath

At least once a week, I participate in online surveys. Two questions appear in every survey: Are you influenced by your family and friend’s experiences with a particular product or company? If you were offered a job equal to your current job, would you be proud to work for this company? All companies that expect to thrive in the current economic decline environment are very concerned about their reputation and the consumers’ perception of their business culture.

We can also perform a self-survey. Do other individuals influence your commitment to serve God? What opportunities do you seek out to share your faith by telling of the goodness of God?

God has given us a commission-a work that He considers our duty in serving Him. We must witness to others! Not only does sharing our testimony of spiritual transformation strengthen our relationship with God, witnessing is a faith-building activity that encourages others to include God in their lives.

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Read verse 17. Although the disciples were with Jesus and eyewitnesses of His ministry, which included the healing power of physical ailments, casting out demons, and providing food for a multitude, some of the disciples still had doubted the divinity of Christ. What is the road-block that kept them from having 100% faith and trust in Jesus? In verse 18, take notice that Jesus had to remind them that He was the Son of God, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

Even though we live in times of economic instability, we have total faith in our employers that we will receive our salary, or the supermarket we shop at will always have food for purchase. And certainly, we believe in our abilities. Who doesn’t enjoy completing goals in which we entirely relied on ourselves to accomplish? How many of us think about the gift of God’s grace for a new day of life and the ability to function with mental and physical strength? We receive many blessings that God lovingly provides, yet, our doubt is targeted at Jesus, the Son of God who sacrificed his life for our salvation.

1. Taking the Giant Leap of Faith-serving God is a spiritual decision and requires an unwavering faith-wholehearted belief that God will do exactly as He says he will do. But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

2. Self-forgiveness and God’s forgiveness-Forgiveness is often an area of intense struggle. Perhaps we have hurt others who will never accept forgiveness because they refuse to interact with us. Even so, we can always pray and ask God to forgive us, and then we must forgive ourselves and move forward in the power of Jesus’ name. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

3. Human Effort-Serving God always requires action on our part. We must put forth the determination to fulfill our role in the Plan of Salvation. …and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open, and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.…2 Chronicles 7:14-15

4. Remaining Motivated-Accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior brings many low in the valley experiences. 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. Trusting in Jesus provides us with the confidence to enjoy the sweet peace and comfort from knowing that God will bring us through victoriously. 

5. Perseverance-Never become weary in serving God. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The plans that our Heavenly Father has for His faithful children end with living in a perfect New Heaven and New Earth.

Many are fearful of sharing their testimonies with others. How has your life changed since accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? As unique as our fingerprints, so are our testimonies of the transforming power of Jesus that has touched our lives.

Sharing our testimony is essential for spiritual growth. When the Apostle Paul was before King Agrippa, he testified of his conversion from Saul to Paul.

“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. Acts 9:5-6

The Apostle Paul always shared the powerful story of his spiritual transformation with unbelievers. When we can tell our personal experience of how God has transformed our lives by accepting us, usually at our lowest point, then our testimony proves that God is real. And that He is waiting for each and everyone to come to him.

Our spiritual eyes must be fully open before we can tell others about Jesus Christ. We must possess a firm foundation of belief, trust, and faith in God. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance when testifying of your deliverance from sin. For example, if you have a history of child molestation, most individuals do not need the intimate details of the suffering you experienced. Your focus is to bring glory to God and how He provided deliverance by giving you complete mental and emotional healing. 

From my experience, I have been told many deep, dark secrets while witnessing. Because there are many atrocities that I have never suffered, I often share the story of the Apostle Paul’s transformation. Read Acts chapter 9. Saul had a thirst to seek and kill Christians who believed in the saving power of Jesus Christ. And the worst part is that Saul thought he was doing this under the cloak of religion. Because of his level of wickedness, God physically blinded him, and for three days and nights, he did not eat or drink. But, our God always brings a victorious end. God not only took away Saul’s desire to kill, to complete his spiritual transformation, but God also changed his name from Saul to Paul. Hallelujah!

Do not be discouraged if the person you are sharing God’s love with does not accept God. If they have taken the time to listen to your testimony, then their heart is open to change. The Holy Spirit will minister to them as they reflect on the words of truth they have heard. It is not only spoken words that convey our relationship with God. We may never know the burdens that lift from the persons to whom we said a joyful “Good Morning,” or performing a kind deed when it was least expected. Our smiles and cheerful disposition are an outward reflection that we have the inner joy that comes only from serving God.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use social media for witnessing. It has been a rough and turbulent ride in 2020. Pray and ask God to reveal the opportunities to share your faith with or without words. Your relationship will continue to grow deeper with God, and your faith will strengthen. In a world filled with hopelessness, we must proclaim that we serve a mighty and loving God who delivers us. God is always faithful! Despite our trials and sorrows, like Job, we can proclaim, But I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end, He will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

God, we thank you for the Sabbath. We ask in your name to grant us the holy boldness to tell of your great love and plan of salvation to others. Please fill our hearts with compassion and the desire to serve you with all of our heart, soul, and mind. 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. 

Hawaiian Sunset” no_foreign_lands, B. Domino-Reyes photography

God’s Promises

Hopefully, you have committed to accept the gift of the Sabbath. God was aware that we would need 24-hours a week to cease the necessary day-to-day activities that place excessive strain on our minds and bodies–mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Life with God ensures that we are not alone and left to struggle even under harsh trials and sorrows.

Receiving God’s promises requires that we have a relationship with Him. God’s promises are for “His people.” We agree that we will fulfill the terms of our covenant with God.

Diligently seeking God in prayer, studying the Bible, exercising faith, trust, obedience, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ are conditions of participation in the Plan of Salvation.

Serving God is not passive, nor is it based on doing nothing. We actively strive toward spiritual perfection, which we achieve through Christ.

Set your spiritual standards high, and Satan will never have the opportunity to take you low. Knowing that God loves us and will never abandon us erases all doubt, discouragement, and stress.

Validate your status by verbalizing, ” I belong to God!” You will begin to notice that peace will replace a discontented spirit. Serving God has definite advantages, and now is the time for us to discover the perks that come from having a Heavenly Father. No worries, ever!

Claim God’s promises through faith. It pays to serve the Lord.

God, we thank you for the ability to serve you. Please help us realize when we are feeling alone, we have failed to connect with you. Thank you for always being consistent with your love and blessings of grace and mercy. We love you. 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.

The Creator of Humanity-Happy Sabbath

Within the past two years, a trend developed to find out where your ancestors were from. It is a lucrative hype with 26 million individuals paying at least $99 for an in-home ancestry test that reported conclusions outside of our human capacity. Even though one person says that she took nine tests using aliases, and three different companies reported three errors and six different results, the falsehood behind finding a person’s ancestry is ignored. These deceptive companies continue to thrive off of individuals who require validation from a DNA test and accept manmade fabricated results.

I found the following ad in a google search for Ancestry DNA testing:

Dear Reader, Where are you from? For many of us, that question can be hard to answer. Ancestry records can certainly help part of the way.

Would you like to know where you are from? Then we will explore the Bible to find out what God, the Creator of humanity, tells us about our origin.

    1. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
    2. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
    3. And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2: 18, 21-22
    4.  And Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20

From the hands of God, Adam, a human man, was created. And from Adam’s rib, God created the first human woman, and Adam named her Eve because she was the mother of all human beings. There is one aspect that we can agree on: “Only humans can reproduce humans.” Although scientists are attempting to graft or propagate humanity, God has not given us the intellectual or scientific knowledge, wisdom, or ability to create human beings without the union of egg and sperm.

Studying the Bible is the key to our existence. Knowing the story of the Creation of humanity provides all of the validation that we need to live peaceful and anxiety-free lives. God has provided a Book, the Holy Bible, with 66 books that relay the beginning of the world, our origin, what led to us losing immortality, the story of redemption, how this present earth will end, and the reward for the faithful. 

We will receive complete restoration, which includes Eternal life along with living in a sinless and perfect New Heaven and New Earth in the presence of God, forever and ever. Amen.

Still, human beings have a serious problem. We have attempted to bring God down to our level of existence and thinking. How can the creation be greater than the Creator? We are not the first generation who has been bold enough to think that they know more than God and have the wisdom to determine life’s origin. 

21 These things you have done, and I kept silent;
You thought that I was altogether like you;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.

22 “Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:

23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

Making the decision not to belong to your parents does not change the fact that they are your parents. God reiterates that all of humanity belongs to Him: 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

We are God’s property! Do not let others measure your worth or attempt to determine your origin.

Whether or not your parents decided to reproduce you intentionally or your birth was from an unplanned conception, know who you belong to. We are children of God who is our Heavenly Father. In fact, we hold a special place in God’s heart. God gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us that we can be forgiven of our sins and live as the holy and righteous sons and daughters of God. What manmade information can compare to Jesus sacrificing His life for you?

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us–none can compare to You–if I would proclaim and declare of them, they are more than could be numbered. Psalm 40:5

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 NKJV

El Shaddai–the Almighty God took the dirt off the ground with His hands and lovingly and skillfully made the first human being. Claim your birthright! Take your rightful place and allow God to love you and uphold you with His righteous right hand.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

God, we thank you for creating us in your image. Please give us the strength to accept your unconditional love and the future planned for us that we may live with you forever in the New Heaven and New Earth. We 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.

Reaching Out-Sabbath Devotional

We are in difficult times, yet many continue to live lavish lifestyles while others are homeless and hungry. The great divide between “those who have and those who have not” continues to grow.

Black Friday (2020) hit a new record with consumers spending $9.0 billion, an increase of 21.6% year over year (online sales hit $7.4 billion on Black Friday in 2019), according to Adobe Analytics data. It was the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, coming in behind Cyber Monday 2019. abcnews.go.com

The spending will continue throughout the holiday season while many families wonder how long they will have housing and live off minimal food.

As believers, we have a responsibility to take care of those in need.

    1. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
    2. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17
    3. If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that? James 2:16

To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). If you have heard that line of wisdom, you know it means we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others. https://law.utk.edu/

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16, Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. Matthew 14: 13-17

It is difficult to grasp the concept that Jesus’ disciples were selfish and faithless. Although Jesus was the perfect role model who consistently helped others, they still maintained the “looking out for number one” mindset. Remember, the disciples possessed the power to perform miracles, yet their true character was revealed when they told Jesus to send the people away to fend for themselves. Their response to Jesus’ command to feed the multitude, “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. Matthew 14:17.

The root of the problem is simple: We do not love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, so it is impossible to love others. Nor can we build our faith in God through self-reliance. We may give the 10% that God requires, Malachi 3:8-15, but God requires more from those He has blessed with wealth. Our definition of wealth is not God’s definition of wealth. When we have all of our necessities, our abundance of money is to provide for others.

Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:9-11 NLT

Make a change this holiday season. All believers have a divine purpose to bless others. Our unselfish giving to those in need results in an increase of love for God and others. The innate selfish spirit and hardened heart begins to melt away as we become full of compassion and the desire to minister to those who are unable to provide for themselves. Decide to be content with what you have and commit to sharing your financial resources.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25: 34-40

God, we confess that we have hardened hearts and clenched fists concerning our money. We ask forgiveness for the selfish spirit that has controlled us for a long time. We desire to change and fulfill our purpose in life to alleviate the burdens of those in need. We pray for your blessings as we continue to do your will. 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.