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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.

A Tender Heart

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

When we stand in front of a mirror we have the expectation that it will reflect our image; it is the image that we have formulated in our minds, the image that is always perfect. Think about a shopping experience when the clothing that you selected from the rack did not meet your expectations, and the disappointment was overwhelming as you began to search for secondary options. The mirror failed to reflect the image of the way you thought you would look in the clothing.

The Bible is our spiritual mirror, we may perform good deeds; even so, our character may not reflect the qualities that God desires of us. Do you possess unconditional love? Is God’s love evident as shown to others by your tender-heart?

All of the characteristics that we are to possess originate from and require unconditional love. What is unconditional love? It is the pure love that comes from God; it is the never-ending River of Love that God has within His heart for us and from that river are streams that branch off into the rivers of God’s forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy. It is only when we study the Word of God that we become aware of who God really is; the Bible speaks of and reflects God’s loving character.

Even God possesses a tender-heart. Based on the Fall of Adam and Eve, we become fully aware of God’s tender heart; because of sin, the first animal death occurred in order to provide protective skins of clothing for living outside of the Garden of Eden. The fallen ones were not destroyed because of their disobedience; in fact, God provided for and prepared them for the change in environment by giving them specific instructions for the lifestyle that was required to live productively.

If there is still confusion regarding God’s tender-heart then reflect on the Plan of Salvation and the death of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who was the “One and Only One” who could redeem us from sin. Redemption was God’s permission and acceptance of Jesus’ willing sacrifice for humanity; the human race continued because of God’s tender heart overflowing with grace and mercy.

We receive never-ending forgiveness because of God’s tender-heart; does any parent wish for the destruction of their children?

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

We must do our part to intentionally rid ourselves of “all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and all other types of evil behavior.” Eternal life requires the cultivation of a tender-heart! Love God, Love Others, and Love yourself.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your unconditional love and your tender-heart. We ask forgiveness for every thought or action of malice toward others, and we ask your help in the transformation of our character. We pray for a clean, loving and tender-heart that we may serve thee and treat others with intentional kindness, and never-ending forgiveness. Thank you for the plan of Redemption and the gift of your Son, Jesus, and we ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of our Savior Lord, and Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Unique Christmas Centerpieces 17 - Let's DIY Home

 

 

 

 

 

The One and Only God

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18 NIV

There are many parents who have struggled with at least one child who has always been mischievous and disobedient; the child that rebelled and fought to have his or her own way, in spite of disciplinary efforts, the child who always caused chaos and disrupted the peaceful existence of the family home. It is especially disheartening when the background reveals an upbringing in a healthy environment where love, nurturing, structure and discipline were provided, yet the child failed to respond or to change their wayward behaviors. Unfortunately, the tug-of-war that existed not only disrupted the family dynamics but also left its mark on the other siblings and the parents.

When we study the Word of God, we become acquainted with the Nation of Israel who God loved, protected, delivered, and extended His mercy and compassion by forgiving them of their ongoing rebellion against him. The one and only God, our Heavenly Father endured the willful disobedience of subsequent generations; yet He still extended forgiveness based on grace and mercy. In spite of Israel’s desires to indulge in the worldly pleasures of idol worship and other pagan practices, God still made promises reflecting His grace: “As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them my wonders.” Micah 7:15

Even when we strive to give our best to God, we struggle with the battle of fulfilling our own desires which are enmity against God. We have been forewarned of our limitations: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT. When does our rebellion against our Father end? What more can God give to us or do for us that He has not already done?

Rebellion on a spiritual level is quite different from the child’s rebellion which impacts and disrupts the entire family. The sin of disobedience against God destroys the sinner who gradually becomes desensitized to the truth; in fact, that disobedience leads to the same behaviors that were displayed by Pharaoh when Moses and Aaron approached him with God’s command to free Israel from enslavement. “Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.’ ” Exodus 5:2 NIV.

The sin that the sinner loves results in a self-destructive mission that separates them from God; fortunately no one else but the sinner has to suffer from the wages of sin, which is death. Spiritually, we experience the death of our relationship with God when we choose to sin against Him.

Our situation is not hopeless! God has the solution to our rebelliousness:

Repentance is feeling godly remorse and sorrow with the intent to never commit the sin again; repentance is based on humility, and the understanding of God’s grace and mercy, it is acknowledging that it is God and God alone that you have sinned against.

Only God does not place a limit on how many times we can repent and ask Him for forgiveness.

We may ask others for forgiveness when we have committed wrongdoing against them; however, it is God our Heavenly Father that we should confess and repent our sins to, for no other human being has the power to forgive our sins and to cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea, never to be remembered again.

Yes, the choice to sin places us in a miserable situation in our lives; even so, God in his infinite mercy still waits for us to cease our rebellion against him. And He continues to show forth Unconditional Love in spite of our disobedience by promising to forgive us from all unrighteousness.

“For I will forgive their iniquities and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12

I, yes I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

Bible Reading: Micah 7

Prayer for today: Dear God, We come to you with humble hearts as we confess and repent of our sins which are against you. We ask forgiveness for our rebelliousness and our behaviors which indicate we do not know you nor do we have a relationship with you. We pray for the strength to turn from our wicked ways and to serve you with love, and the desire to commit ourselves wholly to you. God, we thank you for your love, your compassion, your grace and mercy, and your promises to cast our sins into the sea of forgiveness. We love you, and we praise your Holy Name. We humbly ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus who died and rose again that we may have Eternal life if we so choose. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Tis the Season to Change our Mindset

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Psalm 34:19-20 NLT

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 NLT

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

The holiday season is a very interesting season; with all of the gift-giving, many of us begin to increase our prayer requests to God. We begin to think of the many necessities which are really our personal desires or we may see others receiving blessings, and we begin to pray for that new job, a new vehicle, or maybe healing from an ongoing health condition.

Recently, I listened to a very interesting sermon, entitled “When God says No!” It seems inconceivable that God would not answer our prayers in the affirmative when we have earnestly prayed for deliverance or a much-needed blessing. But God proves to us that we cannot make demands when we pray; historically the Bible substantiates a time when God did not answer the prayer of even a righteous man who was suffering from a physical malady: Although the Apostle Paul prayed for God to remove his physical affliction which he referred to as a thorn in the flesh; God said no!

This was God’s answer to Paul: Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

The real issue lies from within: How do we react when our prayers are not answered in the way that we feel they should be answered? Are we upset, frustrated, depressed, or do we feel forsaken by God?

God cannot go back on His Word nor can He contradict himself! And yes, God answered the Apostle’s prayer; however, it was not in the affirmative to receive healing from his physical condition. The reality is that Paul required a reminder of God’s grace; grace that is given freely to the unworthy; grace is the unmerited favor that keeps our heart beating, grace keeps the perfect levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide flowing in and out of our respiratory system; grace gives our brains the ability to learn, to pursue and achieve our goals; grace allows humanity to make advancements appropriate to the era in which we live, and without asking for grace, God does all of this and much more for humanity.

Spiritually, God’s grace is extended to us in that we may approach him boldly in prayer; God’s grace allows us to communicate with him at any time of the day or night; His grace protects us from being beaten down mentally, emotionally and physically from the evil powers of Satan; God’s grace allows us to get to know him through the study of His Holy Word; God’s grace extends lovingly and unconditionally, and when humanity took the plunge and willingly fell into Sin, God’s grace allowed His, Son, Jesus Christ to relinquish His Divinity, to stoop low and become human in order to die for our sins that we may be redeemed and have the opportunity to have Eternal life. Yet, we cannot live one day without committing sin against God.

Now that we have an increased awareness of God’s grace, our perspective must change! We do not have a reason to be depressed, annoyed or to feel a sense of hopelessness.

Yes, it is the Season to Change our Mindset! Instead of asking, and asking, Let us give God the gifts of our praise, our worship, and our thankfulness for the endless supply of His Grace.

God does answer every prayer and through His Grace, we are blessed and highly favored…We are alive and that is so much better than receiving any material gifts or having a jolly time and a very Merry Christmas.

Bible Reading: Psalm 34

Prayer for today: Dear God, We come to you with praise and thanksgiving for your grace; we thank you for your unmerited favor upon our lives. We acknowledge that your grace has brought us safely through to this point. We ask forgiveness for asking above and beyond what you have blessed us with. You have promised to answer our prayers even before we call on your name. Thank you for loving us, thank you for providing for us, and thank you for the privilege to come to you in prayer. As we strive for spiritual perfection, we ask to be filled with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the gift of your Son who fulfilled the Plan of Redemption by His death, and now serves as our great Intercessor in Heaven. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

evergreens in the snow

Much Needed Makeover

Do you need a Character makeover?

Christ has given us no assurance that to attain the perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace and Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected…. O.F.C.P308 Ellen G. White

Change is necessary if we are striving for Eternal Life. We have to take a hard look from within and evaluate how far our character is from the character that God requires.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. there is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22,23 NLT

We must let go of bad attitudes, anger, hostility, unforgiveness, impatience, and all other characteristics that do not reflect that we are Saints of God. It is not enough for us to wear the label as a Christian–appearing as a beautifully gift-wrapped package and hold onto ungodly traits that we have cultivated due to heredity or environment.

It is our sinful nature that we can secretly hide from others; even so, God is fully aware of who we truly are from the inside out. Remember to always pray, study the Word of God, to resist temptation by walking away from conflict, and to form the habit of Silence.

It is when we choose to remain silent that God can demonstrate His mighty power; our Spiritual team will intervene on our behalf when we acquiesce to the Holy Spirit. We can listen with spiritual ears and hear the instructions and see the manner in which God will manifest his power.

Yes, it will be one of the greatest challenges to begin the work of modifying our character. However, if we are obedient to God, then we will overcome, and begin to reflect that we are clean from the inside out. God is willing and able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to fill us with His precious Holy Spirit.

Do your part today…you will love the new and improved you!

Bible Reading: Galatians 5

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for the sinful traits that we have proudly cultivated and held on to. From this day forward, we desire a complete spiritual makeover of our character that is enmity against you. We desire to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and to be filled with your Holy Spirit. We believe and we receive the blessings that come from being Christ-like from the inside out. We love you, and we praise your Holy Name, and we humbly ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Like a Cool Breeze

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 NLT

Living in Orlando provided lucrative employment opportunities; however, there was a price to pay for living near major attractions, i.e, SeaWorld and Disney; constant noise pollution, gridlock traffic, and living between two major streets with 6 lanes that compared to highways in other cities.

One Sabbath following the church service, we decided to visit one of our favorite places; a beautiful marina facing the St. Johns River located about one hour from where we lived. We had experienced some tough work-related challenges during the week and by the time Sabbath arrived, we were desperate for a peaceful place to relax for a couple of hours. The weather was pleasant in Orlando and we looked forward to sitting in our stadium chairs taking in the tranquility that peaceful waters and birds flying overhead provided. Yes, we craved for the much-needed solace from our day-to-day hustle of busy lives in the large metropolitan city of Orlando.

Once we entered the road in front of the river we began to smile and speak of the natural beauty of the earth that God created for humanity. We placed our chairs under a huge shade tree and started to chat about the spiritually uplifting church service while taking in the magnificent scenery of the sun’s rays hitting the water. As we watched the birds gracefully flying overhead the temperature suddenly rose and became unbearably hot; Central Florida is a very moody area regarding weather conditions that include unpredicted torrential downpours, lightning storms, extreme humidity, and very high temperatures. Our attention turned from the therapeutic natural scenery to our body’s reaction of profuse sweating, expressing disappointment, we agreed that the heat was unbearable and prepared to leave. At that moment, a cool breeze embraced our bodies without one leaf stirring on the tree, and it remained until our bodies felt relief. We immediately prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the divine intervention that we received, and many years later we still reminisce about our miraculous cool breeze.

There is no scientific explanation for what occurred that day, God intervened on our behalf; He always knows what we need in our lives. Even when we fail to recognize that His grace is given freely without us asking for it, God overlooks the limitations of our finite minds, and He shows us that He loves us unconditionally.

When our trials hit hard like the hot desert sun, God is always there to provide the cool breezes that save us from further distress. If we learn to recognize and acknowledge His love in peaceful times, then it will become a natural habit to call on Him when the sweltering heat of tribulations overwhelm us and we are desperate for relief.

Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

Bible Reading: Isaiah 55

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for providing the cool breezes in our lives even when we fail to call on your name. We ask you to forgive us for our lack of faith and our forgetfulness of your love and the victories that you have provided for us in the time of distress. We desire to have a deeper relationship with you. Thank you for your unmerited grace that you freely give without us even asking for it. Please have mercy on us as we do our part in seeking you in the good times and in the bad times. Thank you for the sacrifice of your Son, Christ Jesus. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

I'm standing here looking out over this stretch of…

 

Happy Sabbath!

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

For the next 24 hrs…from sunset to sunset…just focus on your Spiritual team and Forget about everything else.

What does it mean to have God the Father, Jesus his Son, the Holy Spirit and the heavenly angels in your life?

Perfect Peace is achievable…just call on the name of Jesus at anytime of the day or night…He is here.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Peace is Promised

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3 NLT

The headline reads “Thanksgiving storms dump snow on much of the US–and it isn’t over yet!”

For those who resent the beautiful snowy covering of the earth during its wintry season of rest, there are many beneficial purposes for the preservation of our natural environment. To name a few:

1. During the winter sleep, snow covers the earth like a blanket to refresh its exhausted energies, and it prepares for the fresh budding growth in the spring.

2. Snow protects dormant plant life and the animals who hibernate under it from the frosty chill of the outside air.

3. Freshly fallen snow insulates and reduces the transfer of heat, slowing the flow of heat from the warm ground to the cold air above.

4. Melting snow provides moisture to many plants. Consider the Evergreens which keep their foliage throughout the winter.

Snow protects plants, the earth’s water supply, and our wildlife; Conduct your own research for in-depth knowledge of snow and dismiss the media’s negative headlines and reports regarding one of our natural resources.

So now that we have a broader knowledge base for the reasons that God always has a perfect plan for the earth that He created, let’s discuss something that is almost extinct in humanity: Peace of mind!

There are books, religions, movements, communes, and individuals who have convinced others of their self-proclaimed deification that they are able to impart peace to others; and most individuals are so desperate that they are willing to spend their finances or give up everything and isolate themselves for a peaceful existence. Even therapeutic intervention has its limitations; how many individuals in active therapy have a history of suicide attempts?

An infant must have a nurturing caregiver; the caregiver must perform the requirements of the physical needs and also give love, and affection in order for growth and development to occur in a thriving, dynamic and emotionally healthy environment through the maturation cycle to adulthood.

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

All of humanity requires the love and nurturing care from our Creator! Develop the mindset of an infant who is totally dependent upon its caregiver. God is ready, willing, and able to show us that He is our Heavenly Father.

Forget about the tangible items; crystal fragments, crosses, prayer beads and shawls, blessed clothing items, oils, candles, worshipping nature, isolation, religious sects, cults, and seances; Peace comes only from God!

Begin a new lifestyle by incorporating God into your life, Study His Word, Pray without Ceasing, Put all of your Faith and Trust in God, and just Believe in His promises: He has promised us peace. It is time to let go of everything that has caused your fretful, anxious temperament. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Psalm 37:5

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Bible Readings: Philippians 4, Isaiah 9

Prayer for today: Dear God, We come to you with our burdens, our fears, our worries, and our anxieties, and we give them over to you. We confess that we have tried many ways to achieve peace, and we have failed. We are nothing without you, your mercy and your grace, along with your love have sustained us in spite of our willful disobedience. We need you and we desire the peace that only you can give. Please hear our prayer and impart your perfect peace into our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Reference: University of Delaware; A healthy snowfall offers variety of environmental benefits

Trees Heavy With Snow