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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 Able

When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Psalm 142:3

If you had a vegetable garden that was nourished only by your faith, would your garden thrive, or would it show signs of stunted growth and wither away? God has given each of us the seed of Faith that begins to grow the first time that we believe in Him. For additional growth, we have to add trust, obedience, and patience, and remove the weed of self-reliance. Prayer and Bible study are growth boosters: the living waters of prayer along with the plant food of the Holy Scriptures provide nutrients that result in unlimited growth of our faith in God.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

True faith proclaims that God is loving and able to fulfill all of His promises. When we make the decision to live by faith, we believe, obey, and wait patiently on God for His answer. Faith must be applied to every aspect of our lives. All decision-making and life changes, even in the matters that we consider trivial, should be brought before God in prayer. Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD! Psalm 27:14

Faith is not presumption. Although we may have previous experience with the same trials, never assume that God will resolve them in the same manner that He has used before. To live a faith-based life is to walk daily with God, we cannot rely on what happened yesterday, nor can we use our professional problem-solving skills, or impatiently develop Plan B because Plan A failed. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6. 

Faith stops the sin of self-reliance…The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. Psalm 145:13 (last part). Scriptures provide evidence of God’s faithful promises, it is our belief and trust in the unseen God that ensures the unlimited growth of unwavering faith.

Prayer: Dear God, We pray for the strength to remain faithful to you in spite of our circumstances. We ask forgiveness for our doubt and unbelief. Thank you for your perfect plans that we will wait for you to reveal. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

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Who Am I?

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. 

In the 1990s, I applied for a nursing position for the New York City Division of Parole. The formal procedures for applicant screening extended over four months and included the requirements for government level clearance along with psychological testing.

The three-hour psychological exam proved to be rigorous, causing mental fatigue from the complicated questions developed to expose moral and ethical deficits and behaviors that leaned toward compromise when a gray area was presented. Repetitive questions were skillfully manipulated using different qualifiers that would reveal the most covert character flaws. Later that evening, as I thought about the questions, I began to doubt myself and wonder if I was really the person that I felt myself to be.

When I received the call for the first of five interviews, I prayed for Divine Intervention to withstand the interrogative discussions with high-ranking State officials. During the final interview with the Executive Director of the program, he requested my permission to ask an “off the record” question. I can recall thinking, “Red Flag time.” He then revealed that I had achieved one of the highest scores for the psychological examination; therefore, he was seeking my opinion as to why I had made such an accomplishment.

Without hesitation, I answered, “I was raised to love God, and, this is how I approach life, I do not believe in gray areas.” At that point, he smiled and revealed that he was the First Elder in his church; even so, he reiterated that I was the last nurse to be considered for the position due to lack of criminal justice experience. After two months, by a 4 to 1 vote, I received the job offer to render healthcare to parolees in a minimum-security facility.

It is now that I realize that God was testing my faith. Yes, it is still illegal for questions or answers to contain religious beliefs while interviewing. Even so, God allowed the “off the record” situation to occur to reveal whether or not I truly loved Him. I took the leap of faith and answered according to my belief in the Omnipotent God.

Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for allowing the situations to occur that reveal who we really are. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

Encouragement for when You are Experiencing Job…

 

 

Our Advocate, Our Comforter, Our Guide

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8

In 2008, I wrote a manuscript of romantic poetry that proclaimed the love between my husband and myself. Following retirement in 2017, I began to research self-publishing options and commissioned a graphic artist to design a book cover. I became focused on my personal desires and prayed every day for guidance on the selection of the right publishing company. I was very excited that after years of dormancy, my poetry would finally be published. My prayer was answered in a way that I recognized that God was speaking, and He said, “Not now for your poetry.” With disappointment, I was at a loss, but through my tears, I asked God what did He want me to do, and my prayer was answered!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I was using my Facebook page to post short Devotionals/Motivationals for several years, and suddenly, I began to receive requests to share my writings. God does all things well, although my tech knowledge was severely limited, God proved that He was directing my life. He used my cousin to provide spiritual counseling on the importance of the diligent study of the Bible and increasing my prayer life for spiritual growth. She also shared her knowledge of developing a separate Facebook page for the Devotionals, https://www.facebook.com/steps2spiritualsuccess/ along with the suggestion of having a website.

As I attempted to write, there were many times that I struggled for words or clarity of my thoughts. The frustration started building, and I began to feel discouraged, wasn’t I doing what God asked me to do? I began to pray even more for God to give me the words, but something was still missing in my life. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24. My prayers were amiss, I was praying for my mind to be filled with the right words instead of praying to be filled with the one who provides the right words, the Holy Spirit.

When we possess a sincere heart, God lovingly reveals His plan for us. At a church service, I listened to a sermon from our Pastor on who the Holy Spirit is, its purpose, and the power we can have in our lives. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is just a prayer away; you will experience growth and transformation along with a desire to please God in all that you say and do.

My testimony is that since 2017, the Holy Spirit has allowed me to publish over 700 Devotionals, on my website, that bridge the gap of the application of God’s Word to our real-life situations. First, the Holy Spirit ministers to me with the messages that I receive to convey that I am an imperfect person who has struggles like every Believer. Although I witness the power of God daily, my Faith is not where God requires it to be, as evidenced by feelings of discouragement from the hardships of life.

Even so, there is one thing that I genuinely believe in, and that is an Omniscient and Omnipotent God who tells me: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19

Have you ever wondered why your spiritual growth has reached a plateau, although you are praying and studying the Bible? Pray daily to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to receive the gift of wisdom. You will begin to view life through spiritual eyes; the things that you placed value on will decrease, and you will desire to live a purpose-driven life — to faithfully serve God and to share His love by witnessing and telling others about the Plan of Salvation.

Prayer: Dear God, We just want to thank you for the Holy Spirit, who fulfills so many purposes in our lives. We ask forgiveness for our sins, to be cleansed from all unrighteousness, and to be filled with your Holy Spirit. We pray for wisdom and your blessings as we faithfully witness to others. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

Dove in The Air with Wings Wide Open in Front of…

 

 

 

 

All the Pieces Fit

“…Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30 (last part)

One of the still-popular children’s toys is the jigsaw puzzle, especially in the pre-school age group. An immediate response may cause you to think that puzzles are a children’s activity, but USA Today has a fascinating blog on the benefits for adults who solve jigsaw puzzles, https://classifieds.usatoday.com/uncategorized/the-surprising-benefits-of-puzzle-solving-for-adults/

Although the blog was educational, I was disappointed that socialization and bonding were not listed among the benefits. If you desire an increase in family interaction, hands-on teamwork, and to incorporate some laughter into your life, consider inviting friends and family for a weekly “Puzzle get together.” Forego the online version of jigsaws, buy boxed puzzles, add a card table, and limit your initial puzzle to 300 pieces, remember the object is to have fun. As your skills increase, there are many options for 1000+ piece puzzles that create unlimited challenges.

Thankfully, the Plan of Salvation is not a complicated jigsaw puzzle; God has created intricate pieces that fit together without any guesswork; Acknowledgement; Acceptance; Believing; Confession; Repentance; Receiving; Praying; Studying; Obedience; Trust; and Faith.

  1. Acknowledge that God is the Creator of all humanity. Revelation 4:11
  2. Accept that all humans are sinners, and the penalty is death. Romans 3:23
  3. Believe that Jesus is the one and only Redeemer for our sins. Acts 16:30-31
  4. Confess our sins to God. 1 John 1:9
  5. Repent of our sins and shortcomings. Acts 2:38
  6. Receive the loving gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16
  7. Pray continuously to establish ongoing communication with God. 2 Chronicles 7:14
  8. Study the Bible by dutifully searching the scriptures. Hebrews 4:12
  9. Obey God’s commandments, precepts, and His promises. Deuteronomy 11:1
  10. Trust in the Lord by claiming His promises. Proverbs 3:5-6
  11. Faithfully live a life of total dependence on God. Jeremiah 29:11
  12. Ask for the Holy Spirit. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

We are the missing piece in the Plan of Salvation; God has given each of us a free will of choice. The question is — are we ready to make a lifelong commitment to Christ by putting aside all of our selfish desires and following the One who suffered, bled, and died? Jesus continues to act on our behalf as our Heavenly Intercessor until He comes again to give Eternal life to those who have been faithful.

Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for the Plan of Salvation. We confess, repent, and accept you into our lives. We commit to follow you as we await your Second Coming. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

Wisdom seeking for the correct things my…

No Worries!

“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

For many years, I suffered from a sleep disorder, insomnia; no matter what methods I tried, my mind would not shut down. At the end of each workday, I was physically and mentally exhausted from the long commute and the ongoing patient-related issues along with the unmet goals of the nursing staff.

My downtime at home was utilized to perform a total recall of the department’s daily operations and to plan strategies to address the unresolved issues. And to make matters worse, I also reviewed and modified the official schedule of tasks I faced for the next day. The concept of having a work-life balance was impossible due to the responsibility of a once per month On-Call rotation for after-hours clinical issues.

Knowing that others are burning the candle on both ends, and feel that change is not possible, I will share the only viable solution: Turn your life over to God.

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us that each day has its own problems, So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Matthew 6:31-32.

Jesus forewarned us that we will face hardships and struggles; even so, He has promised to supply our every need, and to give us sweet peace. Pray for guidance and modify your lifestyle. God may direct you to pursue new employment, to let go of additional responsibilities that you felt compelled to accept, or to develop and adhere to a financial budget.

It is a privilege to know that we can always rely on God. If we do our part, then He promises to give us peace, joy, and a life free from worry.

Prayer: Dear God, We thank you for your provisions that you grant us daily. We ask forgiveness for excluding you from our lives. It is our desire to have a life free from all worries, and we know that is only possible with you. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

Peaceful Setting at Krabi, Thailand Hier ben ik…

 

We are His Children

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 NIV

When one hears the term, “orphan” it causes an intense feeling of sadness, because it defines a child who has lost its parents from death or permanent abandonment. In response to the overwhelming number of orphans, the first orphanage was opened in 1729 in the United States to provide the basic needs of children without caregivers. These children were often viewed as a financial burden to society, and regardless of their background, many were outsourced as indentured servants and forced into the labor market; most importantly, they were isolated from mainstream society.

Although we associate poor conditions and maltreatment of children who were placed in orphanages, this is not an accurate depiction of all institutions. Many caregivers believed that God is love, and they extended compassionate care to the children who were placed behind those doors. Other children had the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes that filled the emptiness of childless couples.

Recently, I heard a testimony from one of the members of our church who was in an orphanage and adopted five decades ago at the age of two by a family who lovingly cared for him. His adoption did not happen because of luck or chance, it came into fruition because he was chosen by God; the Omnipotent God intervened on behalf of one of his children to demonstrate His love in an extreme and distressing situation.

“The Earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it,” Psalm 24:1

When we study the Word of God and pray for the wisdom and guidance to apply the scriptures to our lives, we can view life from a spiritual perspective, which allows us to live with confidence! And why not? We belong to God. He is our Heavenly Father who watches over us and cares for us as little children. Proclaim that you belong to God!

Prayer: Dear God, I finally realize that I belong to you. Thank you for providing for me and for helping me to achieve total peace. I love you, and I place my life in your hands. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

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