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What Happens When the Door Closes and you are in the Storm?

This is the post excerpt.

The brainchild of two Registered Nurses, ages 50 plus, who asked the question, “What happens when the door closes and you are in the storm?” After a lengthy discussion, we identified that maturing through the lifespan can be a difficult process for many women. Historically, we have overcome many obstacles; however, for reasons which are not easily identified, we are feeling quite overwhelmed with the present-unexpected life event.

When we perceive that we are overwhelmed; fear, worry, and anxiety escalate at disproportionate levels. As a result, we become spiritually disoriented, and gradually we become fixated on the closed-door. When we begin to communicate with God through prayer, we will realize that God has allowed the door or chapter in our lives to close. He is protecting us as only a Heavenly Father can do. As we draw closer to God, He will allow us to see his wonderful plan for our lives-many open doors.

He is Coming

“The one being unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still; and he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he who is righteous, let him practice righteousness still; and he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11 BSB

There are a select group of Christian individuals who actually believe in the Second Coming of Jesus.

You may disagree with this statement, by thinking there are many Christians who believe in the Second Coming, after all isn’t Jesus’ return one of our basic beliefs?

However I will clarify by addressing the current trend among Believers: Disunity.

There is Disunity in the Home, Disunity in the Workplace, Disunity in Society, and Disunity on a Global level; and we expect this type of dissension based on the Biblical prophecies in Daniel and Revelation.

However, many Christian Believers of the Most High God are also actively involved in Conflict (in some aspect of their life) on a daily basis. Because ongoing conflict is their normal standard, they have brought in and have escalated the level of Disunity in God’s House-His Churches, by initiating “rousing debates.”

Recently I read an article on “How to Argue without Arguing”, written by a Christian husband and wife who are Family counselors. The article reflected therapeutic interventions that I also utilized when working as a nurse in psychiatric settings with my patients. At the end of the article, there was a Bible verse that addressed the importance of harmony and unity.

God has specific guidelines for avoiding all strife among His Believers. If we choose to obey, there are wonderful benefits: Character alignment with Galatians 5:22-23, and we are able to represent Christ’s standards for peace, love, and unity.

Historically dissension has existed since the beginning–Cain against God and Abel. Even the Apostle Paul wrote letters to the Seven Churches regarding Disunity…but He also focused on the amicable and loving relationships that God requires among Believers.

There is an issue with the God relationship when a Believer possesses a Spirit of Strife…Salvation is personal.

There are a select group of Christian individuals who actually believe in and are preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, emnity, Strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

“There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this place and I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord. Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove, Stay right here with us, filling us with your love. And for these blessings, we lift our voice in praise, without a doubt we know that we have been revived when we shall leave this place.”

Challenge for today: Pray for change!

Prayer for today: Dear God, Many of us who say we are your followers possess an unholy spirit of strife. We ask you to forgive us of our sins, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and fill us with your Holy Spirit. We desire a complete transformation of our characters, our minds, and our hearts. We look forward to the Second Coming, and Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Verse for today: Strive for peace with everyone, and for the Holiness without, which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Personal Growth and Development

I can do All things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Since childhood, I have always loved to learn. Whatever piques my interests sets me off on another adventure to increasing my personal growth and development.

At the age of 10, I learned to crochet and knit, and by the age of 13, with a Singer sewing machine, fabric, pins, scissors, and McCalls and Simplicity patterns, I became a skilled seamstress, making most of my clothing during the teenage-twenties stages in my life. Last year, I designed and handmade most of my Christmas decorations which took my creativity to the moon and back.

Of course, I must confess that I was born with advantages; my ancestry includes a maternal grandmother and mother whose creative skills were so advanced that their handmade items provided a source of income.

Even so, I am so thankful for my Mother and Trinity Temple Church School in Newark, NJ that provided the emotional support and relayed to me: “Yes, you can!” and “Go for your dreams!”

There are many individuals that did not have a positive support system as children. Because of the lack of resources or opportunities, they were unable to identify or develop their talents, in order to see their dreams come into fruition.

Although my childhood was uneventful, at the age of 15, I ended up alone to face life as though I were a mature woman ready to care for myself, picked myself up after a devastating divorce at the age of 25, and traveled a path with many struggles for 25 years as a single provider.

At the age of 56, my nursing career came to an abrupt end. The profession that I had faithfully worked in for 38 years was no more. My body deteriorated to the point that I could no longer practice clinically or reach the productivity standards due to pain from my physical disability.

During the visit to the Orthopedic Doctor, I was given a list of activity restrictions and a diagnosis which required aquatic physical therapy and bilateral knee replacements. As I viewed my xrays, I can remember thinking, “What will I do with my life?”

My faith in God was strong enough to ask the same question to God in prayer. Our God is who is always faithful, provided me with an immediate answer: “Write, and I will provide the words.” Through humility and obedience, I have become a willing vessel to be used by God.

God was not finished with His plan for my life. He used my Physical Therapist to relay to me that weight loss was imperative to take the excess pressure off of my lower joints. I prayed for God to give me the strength to change terrible eating habits and to help me with a total lifestyle makeover. I am excited to share that with a Vegan diet my weight loss is 40+ lbs: I am pain-free, and still living with the knees that I was born with!

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and Earth. Psalm 124:8

Your Start does not have to be your Finish!

or

Your Start may spiral downward, even so, do not be Discouraged!

And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Do not be like the Frog who sat on the tree branch and told the other two frogs that he made the decision to jump, but never moved from the branch.

Make the decision to achieve personal growth and development; Explore your dreams, identify your talents, and start living. Surround yourself with the Movers and Shakers…we do exist!

Challenge for today: Yes, I Can!

Prayer for today: Dear God: I desire to have personal growth and development in all aspects of my life. Please provide me with a support system of individuals who are using their gifts and want to motivate others to do the same. I place my desires before you and ask you to show me how to accomplish positive changes in my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Chapter for today: Romans 8

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Givers and Takers

Bless those who persecute you…Live in harmony with each other. Romans 12:14-16 (first parts) NLT

Some people come into our lives to enrich us; therefore, we benefit from them.

Some people come into our lives to enrich themselves; they have little to give to us.

Regardless, it places us in the blessed position to be a Receiver and a Giver.

Realize your purpose: Never, ever place yourself in the position to deny either person.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Come Out of the Darkness

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 NLT

Many years ago, I worked the night shift in a hospital inpatient Psychiatric Unit under the direction of a “Doom and Gloom” physician. I dreaded the weekly staff meetings where the atmosphere was filled with cynicism. From his limited experience, he readily expressed that people do not change, and if you think that they have changed, then wait for the right situation to occur and they will relapse into their previous behaviors.

Change involves stepping out of the darkness into the light.

Because I worked the night shift, it was necessary to use room darkening shades and curtains in my bedroom to mimic night time during daylight hours. Eventually I changed all of the curtains in my home to block out the light, because I began to feel more comfortable in my “Cocoon of Darkness.” On my days off, I rarely left my home during daylight hours. All of my appointments were scheduled for later in the day, and I waited until evening to run errands.

Over time, I noticed a change in my body: lethargy, mood swings, loss of the desire to be around other individuals, and weight gain. I was evaluated by my physician, who ordered labwork that revealed a severe vitamin D3 and Calcium deficiency, along with the scale reflecting a 20 lb weight gain. His recommendation was for me to open the curtains, get outside for a daily dose of sunshine, take a walk, spend time with my friends and take my new medications as prescribed.

After following my physician’s advice to step out of the darkness, I decided to eliminate the Doom and Gloom from my life, by looking for a daytime job with a positive environment.

For one year, I was exposed to the dark side of life (no pun intended). The negative work atmosphere along with literally isolating myself to function only during evening and night hours led to critical changes in my physical body and emotional state of mind.

From a spiritual perspective, we also place ourselves in darkness when we fail to have a personal relationship with God. We place ourselves in darkness when we are not interested in studying the Word of God on a daily basis, when we have an inconsistent prayer life, and when we forsake the assembling of ourselves with fellow believers by not attending church and having social interactions with one another.

As our greatest Physician recommends: We can only stay in the light by staying in the Word of God. We are to walk with the Lamp–the Word of God–toward God who is the Light.

The Lord is my light and my salvation (first part) Psalm 27:1; God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. (last part) 1 John 1:5; therefore, we are “to walk in the light of the LORD.” Isaiah 2:5

When God commanded, “Let there be light”; that light extended beyond the cosmic atmosphere; God desires for us to view Him as the Light that is always present and ever-shining.

If by faith, we carry the lamp and keep our focus on God, the darkness of life subsides, and we continue our journey–to walk toward God the Light–one step at a time.

Challenge for day: Increase your time with God, and enjoy a face-to-face visit with friends.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please help us to step out of the darkness by having a personal relationship with you. We realize the only way to know that you are the Light is to pray and carry the lamp. As we prepare to change our lives, we ask for your strength to continue our journey toward eternal life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Chapter for today: Psalm 27

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Unlimited Food Available

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path… your Word is my source of Hope. Psalm 119:105,114 (last part) NLT

Recently, my husband had extensive oral surgery which impacted the food choices that he is able to make during his post-operative recovery.

Food is one of the most gratifying pleasures of life, especially when we make choices based on our preferences. The downside to giving in to our tastebuds is that a growing number of us are unhealthy! Obesity, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Hypertension, Heart Disease, and Gout has increased to epidemic proportions in our society.

Diabetes and High Cholesterol are also on the rise at a phenomenal rate in children. Most Pediatricians have included HgA1c (Diabetes) and Lipid testing in the annual physicals for their young patients. Food-based childhood diseases lead to an adult life full of ongoing health issues.

Most Baby Boomers have multiple disease processes related to poor nutritional choices. Our physical bodies require certain nutrients to sustain an optimal level of health. When we consistently make unhealthy food choices, we are faced with the severe consequences of having Poor Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health.

Even so, we do have a choice to love ourselves by praying for and practicing Self-Control. The body responds well to healthy food: Weight loss, the stabilization of your medical diagnoses, and an overall change in your outlook and disposition.

It is quite interesting that we are so willing to feed our physical bodies, yet we starve ourselves spiritually, by not studying the Word of God. The promises, precepts, and commands in God’s Word are food for our souls.

Perform a self-evaluation: Is your spiritual diet a healthy diet? What are you feeding your mind with? How much time do you spend studying the Bible? Are you applying the Word to your lifestyle? If so, what changes or goals have you presented to God for His blessing and approval?

The Bible provides the highest level of nutrients for our spiritual lives. We can never sustain any negative consequences from eating (studying) God’s Word. Begin to feast on the Book that contains, “…every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (last part) NLT

The Bible is the only book that feeds our mind, changes our heart, pricks our conscience, defines God’s will, and ultimately leads to a complete makeover for our lives.

Challenge for today: Purchase a hardcopy of the Bible and begin your intake of unlimited spiritual food.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We are spiritually malnourished because we simply do not study your Word. We are ready for a makeover in our lives. Please help us to take the time to know you for ourselves by studying and applying your Word to our daily lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Chapter for today: Psalm 119

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Still Pretending?

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them…Romans 12:9

An active imagination, pretending, and imaginary friends which really do not exist are essential to a child’s growth and development. In fact, pretense leads to a child having a broader perspective on life’s possibilities and a higher level of creativity.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

However, the act of pretending is very detrimental beyond the stage of childhood. Pretense in adults is a precursor to dishonest and deceitful thought processes. Leading others to believe that you are fully in agreement with the individual(s) or the situation provides a breeding ground for feelings of bitterness and hatred to grow within. As time passes, the pretender gets fed up and much to everyone’s surprise he or she overreacts to something that is usually insignificant or unrelated to the present situation.

For Believers it is that same pretense that causes us to stray from God. We cannot serve God and love the things of the world. We become weary from losing the battle of pretending to be a Saint when we love the pleasures of being a Sinner. Eventually the worldly pleasures cause us to throw in the towel, and we are exposed for who we truly are.

… but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Romans 12:2,17 NLT

When (by faith) we really love God, we experience a transformation from the inside; our hearts, our minds, and our lives become renewed. As all pretense fades away, we become transparent and we begin to reflect the character of Christ. God desires for us to come to Him through prayer and honestly express our faulty character traits.

“Then Christ will make his home in your heart as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:17-18 NLT

Challenge for today: Pray a “Prayer of Confession” and expose your hidden sins to God.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask you to forgive us for pretentious sins; the sins of being double-minded and for acting one way in front of others, but harboring the sinful thoughts that reveal our true character. We are ready to change and grow spiritually. We ask you to empower us with inner strength by filling us with your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Bible Reading: Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Strength–Ephesians 3:14-21

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

It’s Only Temporary

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed
day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Many of us are dealing with illness, loss of family members, financial challenges, marital issues, loneliness, wayward children, the government shutdown, etc.

The circumstances of life can weigh heavily on our minds and as a result we feel that our lives are in a constant turmoil. We perceive the future as uncertain when we focus on the problem instead of believing that God will deliver us, as He has promised in His Holy Word.

I would like to encourage you to start praying the moment you begin to feel anxious or worried. God loves us and in the time of our personal turbulence, He is Steadfast and Immovable.

Always keep your FOCUS on Jesus by Living a Faith-based life.

So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of Unbelievers. But your heavenly FATHER already knows all your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

Challenge for today: Upgrade your level of faith…start believing in God regardless of the circumstances!

Prayer for today: Dear God, I know that you have always been in Control and always will be in Control of all things. Please forgive me for my doubt and unbelief in your Power. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz