There is Only One Answer

When I was in nursing school, the consensus was that our Nursing 1 professor was blunt, tactless, and overbearing. The exams had a standardized format with the paragraph question and four multiple-choice questions. Two of the answers were distractors, and the remaining two were closely related. Following an exam, Kathy would review the correct rationale and answer. You would think that students in the first semester of nursing school would not possess the arrogance to challenge an experienced nurse with an advanced degree, but that was not the case. But Kathy aconsistenly used one quote, “If you implemented that action your patient would probably die or suffer serious injury. There is only one correct answer.”

While my classmates were sparring with Kathy, I took notes, writing down the correct answer and rationale. My goal was to become an RN. After our second class, our professor established a zero tolerance policy. The challengers were reminded that they chose to become nurses, and to complete their goal, they would respect the nursing profession and their professor. Clarification of her role followed, and that was to teach the nursing process, which had only one road to travel on. The students were given an ultimatum to accept the theoretical information as presented or withdraw from the program. 

It would have been impossible for me to achieve my goal as a nurse if I did not study countless hours to learn the structure and function of the body along with various disease processes. To achieve my goal also required respect for my professors, their experience, and teaching the accuracy of nursing care for patients.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12.

We are living in a time where many are selecting the wrong answer. Individuals who claim to love and serve God readily challenge the Bible, which God gave to men who were faithful, humble, obedient, and striving for the mark to be holy and live righteous lives. God gave us creativity, which is evidenced by our talents and the ability to learn, which explains why the writing styles of the books of the Bible may vary. But God did not give us the option to interpret His words according to our level of understanding.

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. The question is, “Do we desire eternal life?” Studying the Bible is a requisite to receive eternal life. The Bible is our spiritual mirror, it points out character flaws, and teaches us the correct answers given to us by God. We have a Heavenly Father who anticipated our every need. God did not leave us alone to interpret the scriptures. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. As servants, we do not have to understand how the Holy Spirit teaches nor should we have a list of “why” questions. Our role is to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and wisdom before we study God’s Holy Word. God has prepared a perfect life for those who humble themselves and accept the only correct answer. Read Revelation chapters 21 and 22 daily to remind yourself that the reward of obedience and perseverance is eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14

Bible Study: Philippians 3, and Revelation chapters 21-22

Prayer: God, we desire to learn the only answers that will guide us through our journey and prepare us to receive the reward of eternal life. Please fill us with the Holy Spirit that we may understand truth from error. Lord, give us wisdom as we seek knowledge of your Word. 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 an Urgent Matter: Please Talk to God

The quest for simpler lifestyles to achieve peace and tranquility in the busyness of our lives is at an all-time high. Most of us routinely practice precautions to safeguard our physical safety. Businesses are paying attention to the increase of consumers making healthy choices regarding nutritional foods and purchasing clothing and equipment for physical exercise. And Psychologists continue to recommend guarding our mental and emotional health by using stress-reducing techniques and staying clear of toxic relationships.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

We are moving in the right direction, except for improving our spiritual health. When hardships, significant life events, or seasons of darkness overwhelm us, we still do not invite God to be our First-Responder. Prayer must be our immediate “911” call. We carry too many burdens when we fail to cast our cares on Jesus. Without consistent prayer, our faith depletes, and anxiety and worries consume our thoughts. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:27

Prayer is our connection to God, the source of our strength. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Jesus warns us that we can do nothing without him.

The only way to stay connected to the vine is through continuous prayer. We can pray anytime of the day and night to optimize our spiritual health by growing closer to God. Remember, prayer is our lifeline. Make the commitment to have a strong bond with God. Prayer is the only way we can receive life-giving nourishment from the Vine–Jesus Christ.

“Just have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about your troubles. He will hear the faintest cry, He will answer by and by.”

Happy Sabbath!

Bible Study: 1 Thessalonians 5

God, we desire to build our relationship with you and to improve our spiritual health. We thank you for the Sabbath, your gift to humanity. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

©2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Sabbath Blessings

As we watch the condition of our world rapidly decline, we can refer to the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy.

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Our relationship with God determines our destiny. Either we will choose eternal life by total surrender and submission to God, or we will choose the final death by seeking after worldly pleasures.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

We Need to Pray More

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Every day we are faced with various forms of chaos and confusion. Many believers are being affected emotionally [discouraged] and spiritually [disconnected from God, the source of our strength] by the increase in the godlessness of these last days. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] John 16:33 Amplified version. No prayer, No peace!

There are many ways to fracture a bone in our bodies. But there is only one way for us to fracture our relationship with God. We fail to maintain our connection to God by not praying as we should. The advantage of serving God is that we can live content, worry-free lives because we know who our Heavenly Father is and we have the faith and trust that He will always take care of us. 

Little prayer also means that we place limits on God. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Isaiah 40:25. God is reminding us that He is Omnipotent–all-powerful. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Pray as if your life depends on it because it does. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

We can never pray too much! As we approach the Sabbath, commit to communicating to God in prayer every hour while awake throughout this weekend. Prayers of thankfulness, prayers to be filled with the Holy Spirit, prayers for healing, prayers for necessities, prayers for your family, and prayers for an increase in faith, trust, and obedience in God are just a few of the many things that we can pray for. Invite a friend or family member to make the weekend commitment to pray hourly.

It is time for us to redirect our focus from the current events and establish a stronger relationship with God. We need God. Prayer allows us to tap into the power of our Almighty God.

Bible study: Isaiah 40

God, we desperately need you. Our lives are in chaos, and we have no peace or direction. Please show us what to do. Renew our faith as we commit to love and trust you with all of our hearts, soul, and mind. We ask this prayer in the 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.

Sabbath Devotional: Living with Faith, Hope, and Gratitude

Life in the 1970s in a small Texas town was tough. There was a significant disparity between the financially wealthy and the rest of us. Poverty transcended all barriers; there were only two classes of people, the rich and the poor.

But, we also belonged to a church family who looked out for each other. Most of us had very little, yet, we were happy. Our faith in God was strong. We prayed continuously and were confident that God would answer. Our joy was evident because we always knew that God would give us our essential needs (Matthew 6). In addition, every Sabbath after lunch, we passed out literature in our assigned areas. Yes, those times are precious memories.

We had great faith as we prayed, prepared, and looked forward to Jesus coming again. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, and many believers are feeling anxious, worried, overwhelmed, depressed, and hopeless. What brought about the change?

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Luke 17:12-13. The men with leprosy heard of the great Messiah who healed those with many illnesses and raised the dead. When they saw Jesus, all ten men used their loud voices to ask Him for mercy.

Jesus commanded them to go and show themselves to the priest, which took unwavering faith. Remember that lepers were outcasts and not allowed to mix with other people. All ten obeyed Jesus’ command to, “Go.” Because of their faith and obedience, they received healing from the dreadful disease that excluded them from society. 

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God he fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16. Jesus healed ten lepers, yet only one returned to say, “Thank you.”

In this story, the desire to receive healing was reflected by their desperation. But even more importantly, they recognized Jesus and ten men loudly asked Him for mercy. When Jesus told them to go to the priests, they didn’t say, “Jesus, we are not allowed to go into the city, nor can we go into the synagogue.” The lepers faithfully obeyed Jesus’ command, and received healing. But only one of the ten had a grateful heart. And it is gratitude that caused him to turn around to thank Jesus.

Why was the man’s ethnicity of being a Samaritan emphasized? Because the Jews had no interactions with the unbelieving and unrighteous Samaritans. Even so, he did not care about society’s restrictions. The healed man took another giant leap of faith and went back to Jesus to say, “Thank you.”

Most believers of today acknowledge the deity of God, our Creator. Yet, we are so distracted by our circumstances that our faith is almost nonexistent. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27. 

Our outlook is bleak when we enter the season of darkness [hardships, trials, and sorrows], nor do we focus on the fact that God always keeps His promises. 

What happens when we accumulate wealth? Due to financial prosperity, we begin to forget where the prosperity comes from. We take our eyes off Him and start looking at our wealth. We begin to worship the tangible things instead of the Creator. Alexis, contributor

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

We have adapted and conformed to the “self-help” mindset of the world. As we try to figure out the solutions, we are desperate, but our desperation is not for Jesus.

The busyness of our lifestyles has prevented us from having an up-close and personal relationship with God. Simply put, we do not have time to put God first.

Although our faults are many, we can change our current way of thinking, acting, and living. Jesus paid a high price for us. He kept his promise to die for our sins. And now Jesus is still serving us by being our Heavenly Intercessor, presenting us as faultless before God when we confess and repent of our sins.

Always put God first! When we possess a spirit of gratitude, we recognize every blessing, great or small, and we readily thank God for His never-ending grace and mercies.

This is our blessed hope: Jesus promises us that He is coming again!

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12-13, 20

Bible Study: Matthew 6, and Revelation 22

God, we are so caught up in life’s circumstances that we have lost our faith, hope, and total belief in you. We ask forgiveness for focusing on ourselves. We acknowledge that without your love, grace, and mercy, we would be hopeless. Please give us the strength to change and to put you first. We ask for a renewal of our commitment as we faithfully serve you and prepare for the Second Coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. 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.  

Happy Sabbath!

Remembering Jesus’ great sacrifice should produce prayers of forgiveness and thankfulness every day. Our Savior suffered, bled and died for you and me. Jesus gave His life to prevent the destruction of the human race.

Oh, how He loves you and me. He gave his life on Calvary, what more could He do?

Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13

Prayer: God, we thank you for giving your only Son, Jesus Christ who died for the redemption of our sins, but rose again. And Jesus, we thank you for your unconditional love and willingness to sacrifice your life for humanity. Thank you, for being our Heavenly Intercessor. As we prepare for your soon coming, we pray for perseverance, and the desire, and obedience to live holy and righteous lives. We ask this prayer in your Worthy Name. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz. No part of this publication can be used or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

Happy Sabbath God’s Spiritual Spa

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy. Exodus 8:11

It was reported that our former first lady, Melania Trump visits the spa on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day. There is a common thread among humanity, we require love and attention. Life is harsh! Whether one is wealthy or impoverished, hungry or full, no one is spared from the vicissitudes–a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant–of life.

“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

What makes the difference to having and living everyday with peace and inner joy is our response to the never-ending struggles. If we are seeking solace or answers from nature, spas, yoga, meditation, sleep apps or deep-breathing exercises then we are relying on alternative therapies instead of God, our Creator.

Throughout the Bible, God instructs us to remember. Why? We look at our reflection once or twice a day and quickly forget what we visualized. In fact, we can look in the mirror in the morning and by the evening when we look again, we may not even recognize the image we see. It is the fleeting moments that affect us but we don’t have the ability to grasp or control them.

So, we embrace the hardships and the rigors in our lives as if they were newborn babies. And then the bitter fruits of doubt, discouragement, anxiety, worries, and depression take root, and begin to flourish.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. Isaiah 40:28

Omniscience–all knowing is a quality that only God possesses. The Creator of humanity was fully aware that we would have a poor memory of who He is when our trials hit. Yes, God knows how easily we become overwhelmed. Hence the reason, He created us with the desire to seek Him for love and attention. But God does not force us, contrary to what Satan wants us to believe, we are not enslaved. We have the freewill of choice to serve God or not to serve Him.

If we say, yes to God then He provides us with the knowledge to be overcomers.

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, and he watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

God expects us to acknowledge, remember, and obey His commandments everyday. For 24 hours from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, our Creator gives us the solution to overcoming the ruggedness of life by spending one-to-one time with Him. We receive a much-needed break by observing the Sabbath. 24 hours of God-time erases the stress from the vicissitudes that burden us from the other six days of the week.

We have our Creator who says, “Remember the [seventh day Sabbath] to keep it holy,” and I will commune with you and re-energize, refresh, and strengthen your soul. We have God’s Spiritual Spa available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where He sends our Comforter, the Holy Spirit to dwell with us. But the Sabbath is Holy! It is our prime time to devote one complete day to our Creator. All we have to do is obey and shut out the issues that trouble us the other six days of the week.

Membership in God’s Spa gives us free access to the Spiritual Team of God, the Father, Jesus, His Son, the Holy Spirit and the countless army of angels who never sleep or grow weary. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components must have daily communion with God to function properly. We should worship God everyday, but He set aside and designated the Sabbath, 24 hours as Holy.

Our perception of God along with our definition of holiness impacts our desire to obey the fourth commandment. Serving God is up close and personal. I decided that I would stop following humanity’s strategies to obtain peace, contentment, and inner joy a very long time ago.

We cannot compete with God! If we believe that we were created in the image of God then we should bow down and worship Him with faith, trust, and obedience. It is when we fail to obey by immediately communicating with God in prayer that our emotions escalate, and we worry as the unbelievers do.

God has given us a membership with unlimited access to His Spiritual Spa. Our membership was paid by the precious blood of Jesus who sacrificed His life that we may have redemption. He is alive and serves as our Heavenly Intercessor soon to come again for the faithful. So go ahead, take your daily visits and enjoy your weekly sabbaticals in the only spa that provides communion with the Trinity Godhead.

Jesus told us exactly what He would provide for us, “…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Prayer: Even so, come Lord Jesus is our prayer. God, our Father we love you. It is our desire to embrace the membership to your Spiritual Spa paid by the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the Sabbath and for loving us. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© 2021 Sonya Johnson Ruiz, Steps 2 your Spiritual Success