The Perfect Healthy Relationship

During my employment with a major health insurance company, a severe issue arose not covered by a company policy. In a clinical environment, a Registered Nurse is the licensed professional that the paraprofessional staff must report to as regulated by the Board of Nursing. Our team consisted of one lead RN and several LPNs responsible for monthly physician statistical reports indicating the level of care met for patients with chronic diseases. The lead RN of one of the teams discovered a deficit in the data submission of one of the nurses and addressed it in a 1:1 meeting with the LPN. Emotions escalated, not because of the error, but focus on the statement, “You are not in charge of me.” It led to a significant conflict and fiasco that eventually was reported to Human Resources.

The outcome From HR’s intervention required the development of a new [immediate] policy: Because we were in a non-clinical environment, the lead RN was not responsible for the deficiencies of the members on the team. All concerns would require a description in writing from the Lead RN or the LPN to the Departmental Manager. Although the policy addressed the hierarchy of command, an unhealthy relationship developed in the majority of the teams, which affected the cohesiveness of the department.

The Apostle Paul Addressing the Conflict in the Early Churches

God designated the Apostle Paul to witness to the Gentiles. From reading the books that he wrote–letters to the churches and to Timothy, we become aware of the confusion in the churches. The dissension was due to the rivalry between the new converts who were former unbelievers with pagan practices–the worship of gods and goddesses. Many were high-ranking priestesses and individuals with significant wealth and influence who assumed they would keep their worldly status in the church. And yes, they were highly offended by Paul’s teachings: All believers are of the body of Christ and equal, regardless of social or financial status. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 1 Timothy 5:21

2021–The multitude of believers with an Unhealthy Relationship with God

Many modern churches have protocols that give recognition to the wealthiest congregants. The front rows are assigned based on social status, and they are readily elected to the most prominent positions in the church. Recently, I listened to a sermon by Dr. Sonnie Badu, which addressed a most heart-wrenching situation, “members that esteem their Pastors above Jesus Christ.”

At first, one would think that this is a cultural belief. However, worshipping one’s pastor has permeated Christianity on a global level. I was sent a question by a young woman who asked, “Why do certain Christian women dress modestly?” She rejected the scriptural answers by proudly affirming that her pastor stated, “It doesn’t matter how we dress because we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness.” I said a silent prayer for the Holy Spirit to reveal her error. No, I did not send a reply. When individuals desire to disobey God’s truth and follow their desires, it is a matter between them and God.

Sadly, many who know the biblical truth do not possess the desire to obey God. One of the defining characteristics is the refusal to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. For I am the Lord, I change not…Malachi 3:6. This scripture is all-inclusive, not limited to the subject of tithe and offerings. With a sound mind, we can reason that if nine of the ten commandments remain unchanged, and only the fourth commandment has changed, it is false teaching and definitely not of God. [Research Emperor Constantine and his change of Saturday- Sabbath.] “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” James 2:10

God is not a religion or denomination, nor has He changed any of His laws except for Ceremonial laws. When Jesus [the Lamb of God] was crucified and died, the veil ripped from top to bottom. See Matthew 27:51. There was no longer a need for the sacrifice of animals to cover humanity’s sins.

Jesus defines the relationship that he requires of His disciples:

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.… Matthew 10:37-38

It is not easy to follow Jesus. We will be excluded from family, friends, society, and government. Even so, we must have the courage to obey the scriptures.

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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:16-17

Daily Prayer, the study of the Scriptures, Obedience, Faith, and Trust in God are the foundation of a healthy relationship with God. Indeed, our lives must be in alignment with God’s requirements. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who is our Teacher. God never withholds the truth from those who diligently seek Him.

We will hear “Well-done” from Jesus Christ if we have given 100% to faithfully following Him. Nothing else is above having a healthy, thriving spiritual relationship with Jesus based on love and obedience.

Prayer: God, I pray for those in a dilemma between letting go of beliefs not scripturally based. Give them the courage to accept the truth. Please send the Holy Spirit to teach and comfort them to make the transition to commandment-keeping disciples. I ask this prayer in Jesus’ Worthy name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Did you Call?

Even with careful planning, we will face many unexpected adversities in our lives. Throughout the Bible, God has shown His magnificent power and brought deliverance to humanity. Created in His image, God’s heart is loving, readily extending saving grace and mercies, all-day long. Express your love and gratitude to our Heavenly Father by calling Him not only during troublesome times, but also in the peaceful times. Doesn’t God deserve our highest praise? Great is your faithfulness, Father God! Thank you, God for it all. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The New Rich

“The New Rich” is a term coined by Tim Ferris in his book “The 4-Hour Work Week,” written in 2014. His concept received much opposition. Yes, escaping the job that you detested by starting a position that the world will love sounds ideal. Even so, the behaviors of a target audience for your business are unpredictable. Why? Nothing lasts forever! People are fickle. What they desire today will quickly be forgotten sooner than later. Consumers have made Amazon a super-power because of convenience, not due to loyalty.

2021 Update: Now enter a group of wealthy young men with sound minds who have repurposed this phrase. They are proud of their accomplishment: Living a simple lifestyle has given them the status of being “Debt-free.” Yes, they live without worries because their money is exclusively used for necessities and to travel the world. Sounds enticing. Who doesn’t desire to live this lifestyle?

Let’s analyze this “New Rich” concept of minimalistic living. Romans 13, verse 8 tells us, “Owe nothing to anyone…” So, their idea of living debt-free is excellent. But the remainder of verse 8 reads, “–except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” The “New Rich” issue is that they possess the mindset of self-reliance and selfishness that define the prosperous [prosperity] worldview.

And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:16-18

Compared to our standards of financial comfortability, Jesus and His disciples lived in poverty. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. Thankfully, God does not require us to live without our necessities–Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

The life of a believer is to serve Jesus Christ as a disciple–to serve God and our brothers and sisters in need, whether it be spiritually and financially. When Jesus called the twelve disciples they gave up everything to follow Him. Enter the disciples of 2021, and our mindset is comparable to the New Rich, except that most of us are in debt, well beyond the costs of our necessities. Yes, the prosperity messages draw people into mega-churches, but the emptiness that accompanies the pursuit of happiness has left us with a generation of anxious, worried, and depressed Christians.

We desire material possessions and wealth because our priorities are unequally yoked with godly stewardship principles. 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. Everything that we have belongs to God. Our overabundance is not given to show-off our social or financial status or to build massive bank accounts and investments. He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

What does Jesus require of his Kingdom of God disciples?

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!'” 45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'” Matthew 25:37-40, 45

Prayer: God, we ask for forgiveness because we have become selfish, not caring for those in need as we should. Please reveal your plan for our lives as your disciples. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ Worthy name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The Change in the Atmosphere, part 2, The Apostle Paul

For the past week, I have been studying the life of the Apostle Paul. The conversion of Saul, a murderer of Christians, to a devout and faithful disciple is evident throughout the 14 books in the New Testament. In his Second Letter to Timothy, Paul was fully aware that the end of his life was near. Paul’s imprisonment was unjust, but the Roman leaders believed that Christianity would phase out with Paul, the agitator incarcerated. The message of a Savior, Jesus Christ, opposed the ancient Roman pagan belief system. Still, their main concern was the impact on the possibility of decreased financial gifts.

The Roman Empire was a primarily polytheistic civilization, which meant that people recognized and worshiped multiple gods and goddesses. Despite monotheistic religions within the empire, such as Judaism and early Christianity, Romans honored the presence of numerous deities. Jul 6, 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/gods-and-goddesses-ancient-rome/#:~:text=The%20Roman%20Empire%20was%20a,Christianity%2C%20Romans%20honored%20multiple%20deities.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 2 Timothy 4:5 NLT

Paul’s only offense: God designated Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles who believed in gods and goddesses. Financial offerings were given by the people, which sustained the greed of the governing leaders. Even so, Christianity grew in leaps and bounds due to the continual witnessing by the Apostle in heavy chains. While imprisoned, he endured extreme suffering for many years. Yet, Paul’s abounding faith was an example of Jesus’ suffering, leading to many Roman guards’ acceptance of Jesus Christ. Bible scholars estimate his age to be between 60-68 at the time of death. The wicked Emperor Nero was responsible for the execution by the beheading of God’s faithful Apostle.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

The Apostle Paul clearly reveals that immortality is not received at the time of a person’s death. Yet, many believers hold on to the false concept that the person is either in heaven or burning in hell at death. Jesus answered, “You are mistaken because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29.

Jesus’ body was in Joseph’s tomb when He was resurrected. Angels were sent from heaven to roll back the heavy stone. Although the Jewish leaders spread the false news that the disciples had stolen His body, the guards witnessed the event.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had spoken these things to her. John 20:16-18

The Holy Spirit is truth. The Human Effort of praying for the discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit is vital to our belief in the scriptures, spiritual growth, perseverance, and endurance. We must decide to believe the biblical truth or to embrace the twisted concepts of our greatest Deceiver. It is a conscious decision to faithfully obey God by asking that His will be done in our lives. Turning our eyes upon Jesus requires wholehearted commitment. We have a Spiritual Team ready 24/7 to assist us in our journey on the Path of Righteousness. Through Christ, we can live holy and righteous lives, witnessing to others with confidence that we have fought the good fight, just as the Apostle Paul.

Prayer: God, we thank you for salvation. Please reveal the method of how we can witness the Good News of Jesus Christ to others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

The Change in the Atmosphere, part 1

Audio Link: https://anchor.fm/sonya-johnson-ruiz/episodes/The-Change-in-the-Atmosphere–part-1-e19k5oi

Surrender to God requires faith and obedience along with diligent study and correct knowledge of the scriptures. Without a firm grasp of biblically-based sound doctrine, we become desensitized to the increasing corrupt changes in these perilous times. Still, we cannot ignore the laws that are in full opposition to God’s law. The level of compromise has risen and impacts every system from government to many churches. The decline is evident in our societies on a global level. The swift collapse of the moral fiber and value systems is a result of rebellion. Many individuals proudly proclaim, “My truth is what I believe in.” We are coerced into acceptance of the lies from gender neutrality to the belief that good people always go to heaven. Yet, the most blasphemous trend is now boldly proclaimed on social media: Believers have been given the authority to call upon and command the Holy Spirit to activate as if He is a magical genie–a figment of demonic imaginings.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1‭-‬5 NKJV

God has fully disclosed the events that show rapid progression toward Jesus’ Second Coming. Reflect on this, centuries ago the Apostle Paul gives us the exact condition of the last days. The people in Noah’s time had 120 years to get it together. Our lifespan is not even close. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:‬13 NKJV. We do not fear the prophecies that are being fulfilled. God is still in control of His world.

The Human Effort of praying for the discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit is vital to our spiritual growth, perseverance, and endurance. It is a conscious decision to faithfully obey God by asking that His will be done in our lives. Turning our eyes upon Jesus requires wholehearted commitment. Through Christ, we can live holy and righteous lives. We have a Spirtual Team that is ready 24/7 to assist us in our journey on the Path of Righteousness.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:21-22

Prayer: God, we thank you for giving us the Holy scriptures that we may study and learn who you are and the righteousness that you require of us. We ask for forgiveness of our sins and to anointed with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Trading In the Old Me

Imagine that you received an even-trade offer to receive a new vehicle for turning in your current vehicle. The only condition is that you would not see the new vehicle prior to the trade. Some would hesitate and need time to think about it, while others would give a definite answer of no. Still, there is the enthusiastic group that would be elated, readily agreeing to participate in the blind trade.

When we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we agreed to surrender and to become His disciples. Changing us from our inherited tendencies, eliminating our self-reliance, taking away the desire for worldly habits, and giving us a character makeover is a lifetime spiritual process known as Sanctification. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ have become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” NLT. Yes, Sanctification is to become holy as Jesus is holy.

Where do you stand as far as trading off the old you in exchange for the new person in Christ Jesus? Which group of individuals represent your decision to become like Christ?

Prayer: God, we thank you for the opportunity to become holy and to live righteously. We have made the decision to be faithful disciples in preparation for eternal life. Thank you, for giving your life that we may be redeemed from our sins. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry