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

For the Love of Money

Strong, self-reliant, in-control, achiever, talented, and powerhouse are just a few adjectives we use to describe the people we respect. Striving to achieve wealth is a core value among most individuals who live in Capitalistic nations. 

Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society. … It is this rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity.

The issue with Capitalism lies within the goal, “chasing economic prosperity”. Money produces divisions in social classes. But the love of money is more addicting than every illicit drug. The emotional roller-coaster that most ride on is caused by the love of or the lack of money. It is nearly impossible not to fall in love with the prosperity that money brings to our lives.

Most are powerless to their desire for wealth. Money embraces us with her comforting arms while blinding our spiritual eyes. We easily become the victim to its demand for servitude–“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

Our assets promote confidence and place us in a cozy comfort zone. We have no worries when our liabilities are under control. Living with plenty makes us kick our shoes off and throw our clothes on the floor, as we relax listening to some great music. Yes, we congratulate ourselves on our achievements. Life is good! Isn’t it?

Before we become annoyed by asking, “What’s wrong with enjoying the fruits of my labor and possessing savvy financial management?” That is a separate issue from, “It is this rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity.” Because I am a believer in the Most-High God, my life is patterned after Jesus Christ. So my blogs are from a believer’s perspective based on the Word of God–the Bible.

By no means do I consider myself a Bible scholar. But throughout my years of studying, I cannot find any scriptures that support Capitalism. In fact, the Four Gospels [written by four different men with varied personalities] vividly relays Jesus’ perspective on accumulating wealth. throughout their writings, King Solomon and the Apostle Paul addressed the complicated consequences that loving money brings. Read Ecclesiastes 5:10, Hebrews 13:5, and 1 Timothy 6:10.

Why was Jesus adamant about the destructive consequences of “riches?”

And He said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against every form of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 BSB. The Pharisees were hypocrites who lived by double standards. Their responsibility was to teach others about God’s laws, but they thought too highly of themselves to obey said rules for the ordinary people.

Luke 8:4-15, The Parable of the Sower, is a powerful revelation of the different types of people who hear the gospel of truth and how they react. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life and bring no fruit to maturity. Luke 8:14. When serving God, we must produce fruit while living a faithful, obedient life. We die daily to our sinful nature by striving for righteousness.

The pursuit of wealth chips away at your inner resolve–chasing wealth and comforting yourself with a “no worries ever” mindset weakens your God-given mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. Your perspective is fixated on your accomplishments and the good life. Where does dependency on God fit in?

I recall Joyce Meyer sharing a story of a red dress she purchased. One day while cleaning out her closet [to give to a woman in need], she saw the red dress, and pushed it to the keeper’s side of the closet. “I heard the voice, ‘Take out the red dress and lay it on the bed.” As she bypassed the dress and pulled out more clothing, the command repeated itself only louder. “God, is that you? I know that you are not telling me to give away my favorite red dress that I have never worn.” The shortened version of her testimony is that she took the dress out of the closet and gave it away. From her encounter with God, Joyce Meyer was taught humility and the purpose of her ministry, to provide for those in need, spiritually and physically. 

Every day we see the earth’s rich covering of beautiful and colorful plant life, the varied species of animals, and the diversity of humanity, which reflect God. The Master Artist loves “Perfect Beauty.” It was never God’s purpose for us to live in poverty or be plagued with social issues and rampant diseases. Sinful desires have escalated beyond our control. The love of money has prevented our nations from eradicating the misery of poverty and the rapid growth of diseases. Yes, we have gone too far. What human being is worth $208 million for a few games?

For the love of money, many believers have traded in their desire to live in the New Heaven and New Earth. We have thrown in the towel on preparing ourselves for Jesus’ Second Coming. Grasping the here and now has empowered us to create a “heaven on earth,” as reflected in the Lifestyles of the Rich Believer.

But Luke 12 relays Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool:

Then I will say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be required of you. Then who will own what you have accumulated?’ This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”…Luke 12:19-21 BSB

Prayer: God, please have mercy on us. We are distracted by the pursuit of happiness. We have lost our desire for eternal life. Living in the New Heaven and New Earth is a vague memory because of our love for money and earthly possessions. Forgive us, Heavenly Father. Create a clean heart and renew a spirit of humility within us. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

No Greater Love–Sabbath Blessings of Peace

The tumultuous times for this week are over. And we made it to the Sabbath. Yes, I also feel weary. And that is one of the reasons, I exclude all secular activities and busyness for the next 24 hours. This time belongs to God. I have bundled all of my problems and worries and sent them to God by Prayer Express. Here I am to worship and bow down before the King of Kings. Happy Sabbath!

Obedience Provides Peace

SHOUT the Cry of Victory 30 days of Prayer Day 22

If I am driving 70 mph in a 70mph speed zone and the GPS announces a speed trap, I have no worries. I am obeying the law, so I continue my journey in peace. We serve a loving and powerful God, yet, many believers live with anxiety, and worries. The reason: We are not fulfilling the purpose that God has for our lives. Maybe you are unaware that God has given every believer spiritual gifts, which indicate His plans and our purpose.

Study 1 Corinthians 12. Pray for God to reveal your gifts and purpose. Once you know what God has appointed you to do, exercise faith by moving forward. Remain confident. Never forget that you are not alone, God is directing your steps. The human effort of obedience to God gives us perfect peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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

Prayer: God, we pray and ask you to reveal the plans that you have for our lives. We desire to serve you with obedience. Not our will, but your will be done. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. ©2021 Sonya Johnson

Search My Heart

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalms 139:23-24

I must admit that I was not ready for God’s answer to the prayer to search my heart.  Even so, it is our Heavenly Father’s desire that none of us perish. Because God has plans of hope and a future for each of us, He will expose the character traits and sins that prevent us from living holy, and receiving our reward of eternal life. 

God is love! We are never left alone, nor do we have to figure out which path to take. God lovingly extends his grace and mercies, and the Holy Spirit leads and guides us during our spiritual transformation.

Sanctification is a daily and life-long journey. Every day we pray for forgiveness and the strength to do our Father’s will. Studying the Bible reveals our sins along with God’s answer for us to be victorious overcomers. Prayer keeps us connected to our Spiritual team. Jesus serves as our Heavenly Intercessor, presenting us as forgiven to God.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. 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. We may not understand the Holy Spirit, still, faithfully believe that He is the third person of the Trinity who has the unlimited power to help, teach, guide, and comfort all who ask to be anointed in Jesus’ name.

Bible study: Psalm 139

Prayer: God, we ask you to search our hearts. Please forgive our sins, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and fill us with the Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021