Non-Compete Agreement

It was the disobedience of the Israelite nation that caused their captivity in Babylon for 70 years. Our surrender to serve God is a Covenant–an unbroken promise between God and us. We do not chase our desires. Love and faithfulness are demonstrated by our obedience and trust in God. Praying for His will to be done in our lives is reverence and respect that God is our Heavenly Father. There are no mistakes or consequences that will happen in our lives when we obey God. Pray for God to reveal your purpose and His will for your life. God always brings a Victorious Outcome! © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

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. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14a.

Surround Yourself With Love

Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:22

I recently read that we should ask God to reveal the people who really love us and remove those who do not have a genuine love for God. If they love God, then their words, behaviors, and actions reflect their love for us. God reminds us that He has no tolerance for the human mix of love and hate. Either we have a heart full of love or hate. “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

Because I have struggled with separating myself from toxic friends and family, God reached out by allowing me to read a devotional about letting people go. Please know that the “believers” are family members and long-term friendships. Still, I took a leap of faith and prayed this prayer, “Dear God, please reveal to me the family and friends who love you and have love for me. And give me the courage and strength to remove the remaining people from my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

1 Corinthians 13 gives us God’s standards for love. When we study the love chapter, please note that love does not include mistreatment nor the lack of compassion. Imagine asking for help and receiving the response of “I will pray for you, but right now I have things to do,” or they give this reason for not answering your phone calls and text messages: “Don’t take it personally, I just haven’t felt like talking [to you].”

Love for God is the determining factor that identifies who we should include in our lives. It is usually easy to eliminate friends that do not have our best interests in mind. But how do you handle the situation when being unequally yoked extends to a spouse or family members? Unhealthy relationships destroy our ability to focus on God. Please know that we have invited a significant problem into our faith-based life when we tolerate toxic people that make life even harder for us.

Having unconditional love in our hearts does not mean that we become victims of emotional abuse.

Our only decision is to Put God first! I am the LORD; that is My name! I will not yield My glory to another or My praise to idols. Isaiah 46:8. People, places, and things can easily become our idols if they interfere with our relationship with God.

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers, for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together or what does light have in common with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB

Run from individuals that are confused as to who they are serving. They have compromised and blended worldly habits into their “sanctified” lifestyle. Also, please stay away from mean people! Spouses, family members, and the people in our social circles always impact our relationship with God in a positive or negative aspect. If you are seeking peace and victory, make certain that the people surrounding you are not stumbling blocks. We cannot have a covenant relationship with God or enjoy peace and inner joy when we allow: lack of support, toxic communication, jealousy, controlling behaviors, resentment, dishonesty, disrespect, and negative financial behaviors.

You Are in the Right Relationship When It Is Helping Your Walk With God, Not Hurting It. God is love! And He desires that we surround ourselves with caring and compassionate people who love God and love us.

Love God, Love Others, and Love Yourself

Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 13

Prayer: God, we desire to have a relationship with you based on love, faith, trust, and obedience. Thank you for loving us first. We ask that you rescue and protect us from the people who would harm us emotionally. Please bring people into our lives who love you and love others. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson

Delight yourself in the Lord

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Delight–to please someone greatly. For us to please God greatly, our love must run deep. So, how do you know that your love for God runs deep? You present yourself as a living sacrifice daily through prayer, “God not my will but your will be done in my life. Amen.”

It takes total surrender to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. It took most of my life to figure out that I was trying to compete with God by constantly making plans that were not His plans. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11. After many failures, I finally gave in by making a total commitment to trust and obey God.

In January, when I was facing homelessness, God proved His Omnipotence. He performed supernatural financial miracles. The picture you see is of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. I did not ask God to move me to the Florida coast, but He remembered the joy of my childhood. As a young girl, I learned to swim in the Atlantic ocean in New Jersey. Although I had forgotten my love for the ocean, God never fails. And now, as my hair turns gray, I can reflect on His amazing watery creation in person.

My love runs deeply for God. Not because of the things that He gives, God always keeps His promises. Our Heavenly Father has committed to take care of us. I desire to serve Him wholeheartedly because He loves me unconditionally. Still, I am growing in His grace. I decided to stop reacting emotionally to my trials and sorrows by immediately praying for divine intervention. God always extends His grace and mercies, which requires me to do my part.

We can change our perception of God by striving to delight in the Lord. God loves us! He desires that we have peace and inner joy, which is only possible when we put Him first. Have a beautiful and happy Sabbath.

Bible Study: Psalm 37

Prayer: God, we love you. Thank you for the Sabbath and for your love, grace, and mercies. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Indiatlantic, Florida

Don’t Look Back

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the LORD, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah  29:11

When we commit to serve God, He allows us time to get rid of the things that interfere with serving Him. God says that His name is “Jealous.” He requires loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. If we fail to remove the obstacles, He intervenes to remove the people, places, and things that prevent us from putting Him first. God removes the toxic relationships, the job that consumes our thoughts and time, and the worldly friends or habits that bring temptation into our life. Everything we love or give our time and attention to will either honor God or conflict with His plans for us.

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

God’s ultimate plan is to reward us with eternal life. We can accept or reject His plans, but we cannot waver between our desires and His plans. Serving God requires total surrender, humility, obedience, and above all, faith.

Our daily prayer of “Not my will, but your will be done” keeps us in sync with God. Do not be surprised. The outcome of this prayer is the removal of people, places, and things from our lives. Remember to thank Him, and don’t look back.

Bible study: Isaiah 43

God, we thank you for removing the obstacles that interfere with having a relationship with you. Please give us the strength to move forward. 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.

The Loss of Spoken Words

We live in a time where the busyness of this world has produced a loss. We have lost our desire for spoken words. Sadly, we think nothing of texting someone who is grieving or in a struggle, “I am praying for you.” But the reason we have lost the desire for spoken words that are full of heartfelt compassion is much deeper, “we have wandered away from Jesus, our first love.”

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of the body of believers maintaining contact with each other: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. But more importantly, he knew that maintaining our relationship with Christ is vital for spiritual growth. Jesus is coming soon to give everyone their reward. It is time for us to renew our covenant vow by returning to our first love. Only then will we desire to build each other up with spoken words of compassion and hope.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:21.

God, we have lost the desire to encourage one another because we have lost our first love for you. Please forgive us and give us the strength to return to you. 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.

It’s a One-way Street

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

God is loving, full of compassion, grace, and mercy. But God is also a God of “No Compromise.” “For I am the LORD, I change not…” Malachi 3:1.

God does not make adjustments in His laws, precepts, commandments, or requirements to live holy and acceptable lives. Righteousness by faith only comes through Jesus Christ. And yes, sanctification is a life-long process, which involves daily spiritual growth. The path that we must travel is narrow, winding, and upward. Because we are born with sinful natures, serving God requires human effort plus divine intervention. 

We must make a covenant with God that requires becoming a servant. Obedience is not an option. Our daily prayer, “God not my will, but your will be done” is trusting God completely with your life despite the circumstances. Still, without knowledge of the scriptures and fervent prayer, we cannot obey God, nor can we understand confession, repentance, and forgiveness, or overcome temptation.

The Bible is our spiritual mirror and our road map to maintain our journey on the one-way street leading to eternal life. How far would we travel without prayer to connect to the Power source to refresh and energize us for continuous travel?

Our spiritual journey is comparable to traveling down a one-way street. The expectation is that everyone is going in the same direction. There is no chance of becoming lost unless you turn to the right or the left.

There will be many distractions [the temptations of worldly pleasures] during the journey. Maintain your focus! To receive our reward of eternal life, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He will navigate us safely over the bumps, potholes, and debris caused by our trials, tribulations, and temptations. Trust Jesus with your life. He is our Spiritual GPS that provides error-free and no alternate route directions.

Bible Study: Exodus 8

God, we thank you for the guidance that we can receive any time of the day or night. Thank you for loving us. 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.

Why Anger is Deadly

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. Psalm 37:8

Anger is a God-given emotion. Without anger, we would tolerate social injustice and heinous crimes such as molestation, abuse, neglect, human trafficking, etc. The big mistake is that we use anger to hurt and retaliate against people instead of the issue. Because of our pride and sinful nature, we cannot control our anger without godly discipline and self-control. God has uncompromising guidelines on our emotions: Uncontrolled anger is a deal-breaker to receiving eternal life. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15

Unfortunately, bitterness and unforgiveness tag teams with anger, and we lose the fight to push forward with an emotional healthy mindset. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:20. But most importantly, anger prevents us from sanctification, the daily struggle of becoming righteous, holy, and acceptable to God. I have heard many believers boast, “I have righteous anger.” Well, that is not possible because God says, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6.

Many times we are at fault when an emotionally charged situation arises. The trending psychological answer of, “I am sorry you feel that way” is not appropriate if you have caused the inflammatory situation. If you know the individual and their problem of controlling their anger, say a short prayer aloud. At that point, you are asking God for divine intervention. Next, offer a heartfelt apology, and walk away.

We have a perfect role model, Jesus Christ, who dealt with the angry demands of many individuals who rejected his deity as the Son of God. But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:63. Most of us do not possess the godly discipline of maintaining silence. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted over the earth.” Psalm 46:10. Not only does God resolve the unrighteous situation, but He also does it in a manner that brings glory and honor to His Name.

Luke, chapter 4 tells us of the angry opposition that Jesus faced for telling the truth: 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.

Satan knows that his time is short on this earth. So, he uses distractions to deceive us into speaking and behaving in an unholy manner. Disobedience is enmity against God. Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20

We have come too far in our spiritual journey to let anger, a deadly and uncontrollable emotion overpower us, and cause the loss of eternal life. Pray for deliverance if you love to become angry. He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. Revelation 22:20-21

Bible Study: James 1

God, we ask forgiveness for inappropriate anger, hostility, and retaliation. We desire to maintain peace, be obedient, and serve you wholeheartedly. 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. 

Yes, We Need Love

Are you familiar with the cliche, “Looking for love in all the wrong places?” Many of us are looking for love in all the wrong people. We have different definitions of love based on our total life experience from childhood to the present. Because of sin, we willingly compromise by placing ourselves in the lives of those who do not love God wholeheartedly.

We were created from love and redeemed from sin by unconditional love. Yet, we fail to commit our love and life to the very One who suffered, bled, and died for us, Jesus Christ. Have you discarded your prior beliefs or knowledge of love to embrace God’s, unconditional love?

God definition of love: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

But then God says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9

Sounds like a dilemma? Not for God. We do not understand that it takes God’s supernatural power to give us the wisdom to understand unconditional love.

God’s concept of love: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God’s expectation for all believers: “Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.… Matthew 22:37-38

Jesus gave us the foundation to resolving all of our challenges of feeling lonely, empty, and broken. We must love God with our “all.” Are we doing our part in the love relationship with God?

After the creation of Adam, God was aware of the misery that being alone would cause: 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.” Genesis 2:18. Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God. Adam and Eve were the first married couple. God designed the family: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28.

Sin entered and messed up God’s perfect plan. But the plan of salvation and redemption was already in place before the creation of the human race. Our Omnipotent God was fully aware that Adam, Eve, and the entire human race were lost without His perfect, divine Son dying for us.

We should never doubt God and Jesus Christ’s love for humanity. It is only human beings who are created in His image. We have the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of our Heavenly Father. Still, we do not comprehend God’s love.

The breakdown: We fail to do our part in the love relationship with God. The daily prayer, “Let your will be done,” demonstrates the level of commitment that we have to God. 

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it.… Psalm 37:3-5

God is always aware of our mental, emotional, physical, and most importantly, spiritual needs. Why would He withhold the blessing of us being loved by another individual? If we cannot love, obey, have faith, and trust in God, then we are not ready to enter the life-long (until death do us part) holy union of marriage.

We will always remain in the struggle between good and evil. Without divine intervention, our human effort would be meaningless. The decision to follow Jesus involves a challenging 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.

Trust God’s plan by praying daily, “God, let your will be done in my life. Please show me the way to love and serve you with all of my heart, soul, and mind. Amen.”

God is the giver of gifts! We receive His love, grace, and mercies every day. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,” 1 Chronicles 16:11-12.

God does not promise us that He will give us a husband or wife. But we are guaranteed eternal life if we: Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart. And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways, know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Proverbs 3:5-6, Amplified Version

Are you looking for love? Allow God to show you the joy of being in a love relationship with Him, and He will bless you beyond your expectations.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13

God, we confess that we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, and mind. And for this, we pray for forgiveness. Please show us how to love you by teaching us how to love you through faith, trust, and obedience. 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.