Sabbath Blessings

As we approach the last Sabbath in October of 2021, pray and thank God for all of the blessings that He has given to you including life, health, strength, and the ability to praise him. Jesus gave the priceless gift of His life to redeem us from a debt of sin that placed us into Spiritual Bankruptcy. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy. Psalm 107:2. Happy Sabbath!

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.