Failure to Thrive

What does it mean to be failure to thrive? Failure to thrive (FTT) is a term used to describe inadequate growth or the inability to maintain growth, usually in early childhood. It is a sign of undernutrition.

As believers, we can easily develop Spiritual Failure to Thrive. What does Spiritual Failure to Thrive mean? How do we end up with this fatal, but reversible condition?

Spiritual Failure to Thrive is the inadequate growth of love, faith, and trust in God. It is the inability to successfully bring about or reach a deeper relationship with God due to the lack of faith, the neglect of continuous prayer, and sporadic study of the Bible. The desire to seek the self-gratifying pleasures of life constantly distract, causing disobedience to God’s commands. Spiritual Failure to Thrive is a life-threatening condition from the cessation of human effort to sustain growth in one’s relationship with God. 

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…Hosea 4:6 NIV, first part

Pray without ceasing. (Never stop praying.) 1 Thessalonians 5:17

We are living in critical times. For our relationship with God to be dynamic-ever-changing, the continuous activity of prayer, praise, and worship is required every day. Feeling distant from God is a situation that we have complete control over. God never leaves or forsakes us. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12. Serving God requires strict obedience. We cannot deviate from or interpret the commands of God according to our understanding. Without the burning desire to obey, we can never “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. 

As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30.

External and internal factors contribute to an infant’s or child’s Failure to Thrive condition. However, Spiritual Failure to Thrive can only occur from one internal factor. Our hearts are not filled with a genuine love for God. Thankfully, we can quickly correct this condition by making a covenant to serve God with unconditional love. Faith, trust, obedience, prayer, and Bible study are the nutrients that restore, and the undernutrition that produces Spiritual Failure to Thrive is thoroughly eliminated.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NLT

God, we pray for the desire to do what is right, and to serve you with our whole hearts. We want to be healed from this Failure to Thrive condition, and pray for the strength to be faithful, and obedient. 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.

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.

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.

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. 

Changing your Life with Love Series

Retraining our Mindset, part 1

Who is Jesus? Without having an up-close and personal relationship, our initial answer would probably be, “He is the Son of God.” But for those who have a testimony of deliverance, Jesus Christ is much more than the Son of God. Prayerfully, today we will learn who Jesus is and how we can grow closer to Him.

To establish, build, and maintain any relationship, we must possess unconditional love, utilize healthy, ongoing communication, and be willing to serve. Yes, there are many other characteristics, but these three traits form the foundation for the building blocks, such as mutual respect, trust, forgiveness, etc.

Before we move forward, study and memorize 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter that identifies the traits that grow from the tree of unconditional love:

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

Who does Jesus say that we have to love?

“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.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 BSB

Self-evaluate: If you can verbalize these words: “I don’t like him, her or them,” then God has a message for you:

19 We love because He first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God, but hates his brother and sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother and sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother and sister as well. 1 John 4:19-21

Loving others is not based on ethnicity, physical likeness, socioeconomic status, or religious preferences. Nor do the participation in peaceful protests, rallies, or giving financial support indicate that we possess the love that God requires of us. Loving others unconditionally (without stipulations) is a core character trait that we must possess, or we do not have a love for God, nor can we have a relationship with God. In fact, God says we are “liars” Ouch!

Finally, we must believe that God is Unconditional love, and He is Omniscient-all knowing. Let’s use our creative abilities to script a probable conversation between God, the Father, and Jesus His Son before the Creation:

Son, you know if I create human beings, they will disobey and fall into sin by pursuing self-seeking pleasures. The relationship they need to have with us will be a constant struggle because the “Seed of Faith” that we give them will remain the same size because of their doubt and unbelief in our power. They will be distracted by the things that Satan will present to them, and their greatest love will be for money. You know that they will not love us and they will hate each other. Jesus, are you sure that you want me to create human beings? Yes, Father, I will give my life for their redemption from sin. But, Son, you will be born as a human into poverty, have a life of suffering, you will be rejected, despised, hated, and falsely accused of blasphemy against me. And the most terrible thing is that you will die on a cross with large spikes driven through your hands and feet. Yes, Father, I understand. Still, I am willing to die for all of humanity.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

God, we want to say thank you, and we love you. Please forgive us for our sins against you and each other. Help us never forget the gift of your Son, Jesus that died and was resurrected so we may have eternal life. 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.