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.

Fade Away Friends

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

“The Lord can be depended upon, and He desires for us to be just as reliable, determined, and stable. This is simply the meaning of faith.” Today’s Devotional–Streams in the Desert–by L. B. Cowman

There have been many advances in the technological and medical arenas in the United States. And yes, I welcome change, if the change results in positive outcomes. My career allowed exposure to many situations that have led me to the conclusion that society no longer places the value on human life that we once possessed.

When is the last time that you had a great conversation as opposed to sending and receiving text messages? Have you invited friends or family for dinner outside of holiday gatherings? Measure the time spent on your desires with that of helping others. I asked myself these questions and was not pleased with my answers. I tried to blame “time” as my enemy who prevented me from showing others that I care. Hmmm! The truth is that it is the easiest option to distance myself and only get involved by praying.

No, I am not discounting the power of Intercessory prayer. It’s just that Galatians 6:2 tells me that I have to do more than pray; I have to share the burdens of my brothers and Sisters. We listen to the testimonies by other individuals at the church that I attend on a weekly basis. There are many miracles that God has performed, and we readily offer praise and thanksgiving for His wonderful blessings. However, there are also individuals who share their struggles and ask for prayer. For those of you who prefer to take your burdens to the Lord in prayer, please be aware that it takes a lot of courage to share your personal burdens in a corporate/communal environment.

God knew that the human touch would be required in most situations. In fact, He strongly emphasizes our duty to one another as obedience to “the law of Christ.” Perform a self-evaluation: What have I done to alleviate the burdens of others? Did I go beyond offering a prayer? Did I call the individual and ask if I could do anything for them?

Life events can become very overwhelming; we are the tangible reflection of God’s love. He expects us to say, “Here I am, send me.” If we love God, then we must obey His law, and love and care for others. We must strive to be “reliable, determined, and stable.” It is time to change our status as “fade away friends,” who hear and do little to comfort others.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please forgive me for being a fade away friend. Direct me to those who need the human touch which reflects your love for humanity. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

“I love you, I love you, I love you, Lord, today because you cared for me in such a special way.”

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Japanese Maple Leaves

Wait for God!

I had to share this Devotional again; when we wait for God, the blessing of His approval is upon our lives.

Today’s Devotional–Experiencing GOD Day-by-Day–by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby

New Strength

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. ISAIAH 40:31

At times you may feel so worn out and stressed that you are not sure you can take another step. You may seem to spend all your time running from crisis to crisis and to be constantly giving your time and energy to others. Your Lord wants to renew your strength and enable you to enjoy the abundant life He intends for you. The key is to wait upon Him to do so.

Our generation dos not enjoy waiting. We are harried by all the commitments we have made and the many responsibilities we hold. We rush through our lives without stopping to evaluate our activities. Sometimes in our haste to get on with our work, we race ahead of God. Part of God’s restorative process is to slow us down and make us listen to Him. As we wait on Him, God will remind us of our utter dependence upon His strength. When we slow down and seek His will, He will reveal His plans.

Biblically, waiting on the Lord is never passive; it is always active. Waiting requires us to cease our own pursuits and give God our complete attention. We may have to give up some of the activities we have allowed to inundate our lives. We may need to take an entire day to sit quietly before the Lord. If we ask Him, God will show us the resources He has provided to help with the work we have been attempting on our own. God may address feelings of guilt that have motivated us to do things that He has not asked us to do.

Jesus carried more responsibility than you do. More people needed Him than will ever need you. Yet He was never overwhelmed or inadequate for the task. Now Christ offers to guide you so that you will fulfill your heavenly Father’s will and gain the strength necessary for each day (Matt. 11:28).

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please teach me to always wait for your guidance. I need your strength to be an overcomer and achieve victory in my daily life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Rustic Retreats

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Good Morning!

I have decided that my Sunday blogs will be dedicated to Rest & Relaxation. It will be my “Mental Health” day to have fun, and to focus on gratitude and thanksgiving.

Since we have experienced a 30 degree drop in temperature for the month of November, we can anticipate a bone-chilling Texas winter. I really wish for a log cabin, and the heat from a fireplace with the smell and sounds of crackling wood. Well at least I can fulfill my wish visually by online (as reflected in this pic) depictions while my cinnamon spice candles carry me away to log cabin dreams.

My plan for today is to relax and make my cinnamon dried flower arrangement.

Have a blessed day and enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for another day of life. Please guide my thoughts, my actions, and my behaviors. May I reflect your love and be a blessing to someone today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

The Beauty of Nature

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2

Most of us are experiencing the change in seasons to very cold temperatures. The holiday season is upon us, and it can be a time where feelings of depression can take hold and escalate. Nature provides a reflection of God’s love for humanity. I invite you to place pine cones, cinnamon sticks, dried flowers and orange essence-dried orange rinds-into a bowl for a journey into the wonderful aromas of nature.

God has blessed us with beauty which is evident in all four seasons. Enjoy a blessed and happy Sabbath!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

The Gift of Diversity

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” John 4:9

The Autumn season is filled with an array of breath-taking colors as the earth prepares itself for rest. The cycles of rest and rejuvenation through the wintry season enable the Spring to bring forth bursting buds of new growth. We could not imagine a world with a monochromatic color scheme of only green grass, green trees, green flowers, etc. God’s vision of diversity is as we view it every day: Unlimited varieties of flowers; fruit or flower bearing trees; animals, insects, fish, and the list goes on and on. Many of us belong to nature groups, select vacation spots, and have hobbies based on the “fruit of the earth.” We embrace and readily accept the beauty of God’s diverse creation with one exception; we do not accept the diversity of human life.

How is it that we disregard the beauty of the many ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities which are all created by God?

Jesus also faced hatred from the many biases in His society. In spite of the prevalence of prejudices based on religious beliefs, socioeconomic status or nationalities, the Bible records Jesus’ many interactions with individuals from various backgrounds.

Until the last decade, nursing exams consisted of questions that were only multiple choice; there was only one right answer. Presently, the upgraded formats also include: Select all that apply, fill in the missing information, graphs and pictures, choose the exception, and narratives. The variations in testing were necessary to determine if the graduate nurse possessed the knowledge and judgment to render care in diverse situations.

Change is successful when it produces personal growth and positive outcomes. We cannot follow the racial divide based on the decisions of others. The plan for Diversity was created and instituted by our Creator. The shades and hues of our culturally diverse world have the stamp of Divine approval. God’s expectations are that we embrace and enjoy His wonderful artistic blessings of our beautiful world!

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for lovingly creating each unique individual, flower, tree, and animal. Help us to embrace your definition of love by accepting others as you have accepted us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Building the Temple

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1:29

“I praise you, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your Works, my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

As a young girl, I can remember reading books every day for hours until my eyes threw in the towel and closed for sleep. Studying the Bible enabled me to be very selective in the secular materials that I chose to enhance my knowledge. The habit of seeking sound information by credible sources was reiterated when I did my first college research paper and my professor returned it with the comment, “Who are the people you used as references?” It was a lesson well learned by not utilizing the State of New Jersey’s Online Library for completing my paper.

Yesterday, I received a promotional copy of a Christian magazine. The article that piqued my interest spoke about food as one of the most wonderful blessings that God has given to us.

1. Food is diverse; think about the many cultures and how we are able to use the same ingredients and create dishes with variations of flavors and presentation.

2. Food is nutritious; it provides the correct nutrients for growth and development along with the responsibility of maintaining proper health.

3. Food tastes delicious; let’s face it, who does not love a good meal?

As I read the author’s vivid description of his favorite Indian dish, my body began to react and prepare itself to eat. As I realized what was occurring, I verbalized aloud, “Wait, you just ate dinner.” Based on prior experience, my brain converted a written description into the desire to eat food. As I thought about what I had in the kitchen to snack on, even though I was full, imagine my surprise when the next sentence proclaimed that we have taken God’s bountiful blessing and used it to destroy our bodies-the temple of the Holy Spirit. I immediately lost my appetite and desire to eat again.

When I met my husband and he told me that he cooked every day, I immediately started laughing and asked, “Why would you put yourself through all of that hard work?” As a child, we had the blessing of having a stay-at-home mother who provided nutritious home-cooked meals for us on a daily basis. Deviating from God’s original plan of choosing and cooking healthy foods resulted in my two diagnoses of Hypertension and Obesity. How did I manage to disregard God’s plan and my upbringing to purchase prepared foods with super-sized portions, high calories, and low in nutrients?

I cannot offer any scientific theories for my decision to select food driven by my senses of taste, sight, and smell. My struggle is real. The habit of overcoming poor food selection has improved and remains dormant until my acute sense of smell detects food that I enjoyed from my prior lifestyle.

I pray daily for God to strengthen my willpower against selecting unhealthy food. My testimony is that God always answers our prayers! He allowed me to read an article that I needed for spiritual growth, so now I can no longer offer any excuses for choosing food that will “Destroy my Temple.”

Last night, I was put to the test, as I carefully read the menu at the restaurant for our date night. I did not order appetizers, and I chose a low-calorie vegetable flatbread along with roasted vegetables, and a salad. My mindset has changed, there is no logical explanation for me to continue to destroy my body with altered versions of God’s blessings.

The good news is that my body is responding well to “building the temple” food choices. I will always be required to take medication for High Blood Pressure; however, it has stabilized due to a healthy diet and exercise. My body continues to slowly shrink toward a healthy weight. I thank God for sending a credible source through the mail to give me the needed answer on how to “Build His Temple.”

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Prayer for today: Dear God, I am ready to build my temple by receiving the blessing of food as you intended for its use. Please give me the strength to do what is right according to your standards. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz


No Jobs Available?

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

Do you have the qualifications to fulfill the role of judging other believers? It should provide for an exciting career, since the Bible clearly states what is right and wrong, and truth versus error. With such straight forward guidelines, any deviation from the Word of God would facilitate a quick trial and a speedy sentence for the guilty.

Yes, we have the Word of God as our blueprint for life; however, we are unable to utilize the scriptures to set the standards or compare anyone else’s life to the Word except for our own life. As human beings, we can never exalt ourselves spiritually to judge, because ALL are born sinful. Still not convinced that you are not qualified? In Isaiah 55:8, the New Living Translation emphasizes, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

No matter how tempting it is to judge others based on their sinful actions, none of us can fill the “Judge Needed Immediately” position, if such a position existed! God has already warned against the desire to take over His Heavenly position as our Judge. Each of us has a struggle as unique as our fingerprints. What I need to overcome will not be what you need to overcome. The most effectual solution is to “Pray without Ceasing” for each of our brothers and sisters.

Sanctification is a life-long process; we are unable to earn salvation. The price for sin was bought and paid-in- full by the death of Jesus Christ. If you must have a position involving the spiritual condition of others, then the position of “Prayer Warriors Needed Immediately” has vacancies that will never be filled to capacity.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life…1 John 5:16

And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please forgive me for the sin of judging others. I realize that you are the only Judge, and I am to pray without ceasing for my brothers and sisters. I ask you to accept my humble prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz