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

This is the post excerpt.

Reflection of our lives reveals that we have overcome many obstacles; however, for reasons which are not easily identified, we are feeling quite overwhelmed with the present and unexpected life event. When we perceive that we are overwhelmed, fear, worry, and anxiety escalate at disproportionate levels.

As a result, we become fixated on the closed door and become spiritually disoriented, quickly forgetting the power of Divine intervention. When we begin to communicate with God through prayer, we then understand that God has allowed the door to close. He is protecting us as only a Heavenly Father can do. As our relationship grows deeper with God, He will enable us to see his excellent plan for our lives-many open doors.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

God Always Provides!

July 2, 2019, I received a call from my husband, “I just lost my job, and I need you to come and pick me up.” The company based out of Colorado had taken several steps to remain viable in Northeastern, Texas. They merged two branch offices and leased a building approximately 45 minutes from where we lived. When the price of oil dropped, customers’ need to use maintenance services for their oil wells declined. The loss of our primary source of income impacted us in several ways:

  • At 63, my husband would face challenges for re-entry into the job market
  • Emotionally, his balloon had burst
  • The perks of having a second vehicle, daily socialization, and most job benefits ended that day

As Seniors looking forward to a peaceful retirement that would happen someday in the future, we were displaced from mainstream society. With the stigma of age, we were unemployed and transitioned into a statistic representing those who are no longer considered valuable employees. From prior experience, I was fully aware of the pending struggles. During the time that I was single, two of my employers downsized and outsourced. The severance pay given by both companies was for two weeks, and the health benefits ended on the last day of the month. 

With the ravages of the pandemic, many individuals are in the struggle of their lives. We are experiencing tsunami-like effects from a virus-driven by its hunger to devour humanity. The despair is tremendous, and many have turned to pointless habits to ease the pain of their suffering. Yet, they fail to realize that recreational drugs, alcohol, gambling, and consuming junk food reap devastating consequences. In eight months, emotions have escalated to the point that people have suicidal and homicidal ideations, and as the young mother found with her two children in their vehicle, she chose to end the pain of suffering.

Worldwide we are in a crisis. Has God forsaken the very beings that He created in His image? The answer is emphatical, “No! Never!” Even so, the promises from God require action on our part: Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory.

Always Pray and ask for Divine Intervention. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

There are no cookie-cutter approaches to life without a source of money. Once we have completed the grieving process and it must be expedited, it is time to make plans to move forward. Adapting to a new and different lifestyle is not easy, but it is achievable. I am not an expert but sharing some strategies that worked for us.

  1. Make a financial budget. List your liabilities, including all debts, monthly bills, daily habits such as the coffee and bagel, etc. Areas of change: cable, cell-phone providers, grocery shopping-purchase in bulk, eating out, and impulsive spending.
  2. Have a family meeting, children who are old enough to comprehend the need to be actively involved in financial strategies. Encourage them to express their ideas. You will be pleasantly surprised, feeling valued opens the door for a creative approach.
  3. Online sites, such as thred-up, Mercari, and others, have hundreds of buyers looking for pre-owned items. Social media marketplaces offer a selling platform, and local community groups and churches need donations for families and individuals who are in desperate need.
  4. Credit card debt will not go away. Pay the minimum payments—most auto financing offer at least one annual payment deferment. 
  5. Mortgage payments usually involve a fierce battle. Consider all options to prevent homelessness. 

The loss of health insurance involves COBRA payments that are not affordable. If you are on the brink of not having coverage, taking these steps can ease the loss:

  1. If you have monthly prescriptions, schedule a well-visit appointment with your healthcare provider and ask for a 90-day script with three refills. You will have enough medication for one year. Unless your condition changes, you should be okay until your next well-visit. Good-Rx works with local pharmacies to provide discounts. 
  2. Most health benefits include three separate providers: medical, dental, and vision. According to your situation, if you can keep dental and vision, familiar professionals will provide treatment.
  3. Primary Care physicians-Leave a message for the Office Manager to inquire about rates for uninsured patients. Explore other options if this leads to a dead-end. Currently, my husband receives excellent medical care at a faith-based clinic where reputable physicians volunteer to provide for the uninsured and underinsured.
  4. You can visit healthcare.gov or contact your local social services department to find out whether you qualify for free or low-cost health insurance.
  5. If life-threatening medical help is needed, go to the hospital. Legally, you must receive treatment that will stabilize your condition. Apply for charity services to alleviate the burden of expenses.
  6. Dial 211 for Community Resources. Dialing 211 helps direct callers to services, among others, the elderly, the disabled, those who do not speak English, those with a personal crisis, those with limited reading skills, and those who are new to their communities.

Testimony: Since my husband’s loss of employment, he has sustained another loss–35 lbs of excess weight. Due to eating healthy, nourishing food, making frozen fruit popsicles, and eliminating all sugar, he is no longer on Diabetic medications.

There are many variables to consider when making life-changes. Each of us is in unique situations that require different steps and actions for positive outcomes. However, we do share something in common: God, who is our Heavenly Father, our Jehovah Jireh–the Great Provider. Pray, believe, and wait on the Lord!

“Be still and know that I am God; … Psalm 46:10

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine! 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you go through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flames will not set you ablaze. 3For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:1-3

God, we have no one to turn to, but you. We ask for your intervention and blessings in our lives. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

From msn.com: 27 million in the U.S. at risk of losing health coverage amid pandemic

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/27-million-in-us-at-risk-of-losing-health-coverage-amid-pandemic/ar-BB17Ba3y?li=BBnb7Kz

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Disregarding the Warning

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

None of us are exempt from feeling anxious in times of adversity. Whether or not we have experienced the challenges that have left us deflated, our turn will come. Jesus tells us: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Since the inevitable will happen, how can we move forward when troubles come our way? Pray, ask for God’s help, believe in faith, and wait for God to resolve the challenge. Even in the time of our worst storms, we can receive Divine intervention. Nothing can separate us from God who is always faithful, even when we make decisions that place us in a crisis.

In 1 Samuel 8, the Nation of Israel became dissatisfied with the structure of government that God established. They complained to the Elders who met with Samuel and said, “Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” 1 Samuel 8:5. Samuel prayed, received God’s answer (1 Samuel 8:10-22), but, the people rejected God’s forewarning of the terrible things that a King would do; yet, they were determined to be like the other nations. After Saul became King, all appeared to go well, the Israelites defeated their oppressors in battle. What they failed to realize that God’s word never fails. The consequences of their demand for a king did not happen immediately, but as the events unfold, we can read that they were not spared from the consequences of their wayward actions.

God gave the people their desires and allowed Saul to be anointed as King. In time, Saul’s true character was revealed, he was prideful, and proved to be a poor leader who lived according to his interpretation of God’s commands. Because of his defiance against the boundaries and laws that God had established, 1 Samuel 16 tells us that God rejected Saul as king of Israel. The prophetic words that Samuel spoke came into fruition; Saul was a disobedient King who felt that because of his position he could perform priestly duties and place fear among the people by telling them that God gave him the ability to bring curses upon others.

As Believers, we cannot think and act according to our desires, God always requires faithful obedience from those who commit to serving Him. Where do you stand in your relationship with God? Are you serving God; yet, you desire the worldly pleasures, or pursue opportunities that promise financial gain or social status? We place ourselves in the valley of indecision when we struggle with the choices of self-reliance or asking for God’s will to be done in our lives.

What happens when God allows us to receive the things that are not in His will?

In January of 2017, I applied for the position as Branch Manager for a thriving Home Health agency that targeted our small town as the perfect location to take over at-home patient services. Within one hour of faxing my resume, I received a call to schedule an interview. All went well during the four hours that I was interrogated by the hiring team, and my documents were faxed to the corporate office to obtain government-level clearance, nursing licensure verification, drug testing, and a clean driving record. I was overwhelmed with excitement. For the first time in my career, I lived 10 minutes from the job location which made a big impact on their decision to extend an offer.

During the interview, I was given the opportunity to read the business and marketing plans. Based on my experience as a small business owner, the financial projections and ideas were phenomenal. The strategic plans for a big corporation doing business in a small rural town were developed for success and deemed fail-proof by the executive officers. The obstacle of recruiting a nurse who was business savvy and who did not mind working in a rural town was resolved. Living a few minutes from the branch office made a big impact, and I received a conditional offer for employment during the interview.

Praying a prayer of thanksgiving, I immediately prepared a list of point-of-contacts who would enable the success of the start-up and the onset of a lucrative career with many perks. Along with the sales rep, it was my responsibility to contact medical providers and obtain patient referrals to provide home health nursing services. We would also conduct community activities to introduce our services that we were available 24/7, 365 days a year. This was great; I had reached the pinnacle of my career.

Sharing the blessing with my mother reinforced God’s faithfulness, and we praised God together. During the conversation, we scheduled a Mother and Daughter day out for the day of her Drs. Visit. The plan was to pick her up after the appointment, but that morning, I had a pressing thought to meet her at the time of the appointment. Dr. K. is very personable, and my Mom loved the laughter that the three of us would enjoy during her visits. Although I had not planned to disclose my new job, my Mom proudly shared the great news of a local job as a Branch Manager. Dr. K. extended congratulations and invited me to share the details of my new position. I can recall the look of concern on his face when he replied, “I do not think it is wise for you to accept that position.”

The look of disappointment was evident because Dr. K. began to explain the many obstacles to large corporations attempting to infiltrate and change small-town lifestyles. Loyalty, familiarity, compassion, and care over financial gain were just a few reasons that would create a roadblock to my success. But the deadly wound was caused by his statement, “The organization that you mentioned has a bad reputation. I would not be able to give you patient referrals because the agency that I currently use has proven that their nursing staff is reliable and they provide excellent quality patient care.” I thanked Dr. K. for his professional input, but I was determined to prove that there were other physicians who would give the new agency a chance.

Two months of hard work, 12 hour days, and a dedicated staff failed to produce a patient census above 40 patients, which led to lay-offs of 50% of the branch’s staff. The day that I tendered my resignation, I was informed that a corporate decision was made for me to assume the position of Nursing Director along with my current administrative duties as Manager. Within ten months, the agency folded, and the building that they purchased has been empty for three years. It is intentional to leave out the rest of the story, due to a confidentiality contract. But I can say this: the forces of evil have no boundaries, and unscrupulous strategies were used to achieve corporate goals.

I placed myself in a crisis because I did not heed God’s warning. The desire to achieve blinded all spiritual discernment or else I would have known that God used Dr. K. to give the forewarning that my desires were outside of the will of God. Because of disobedience, I was exposed to corruptness at a level that I never thought possible. Even though I was not directly involved in executive decisions, God allowed me to experience the full consequences of my disobedience.

Did God abandon me? No, He did not. Even in the sin of self-reliance, God proved that He is always faithful. The second position that I interviewed for as a Medicare Analyst came through one week before my resignation, which I gratefully accepted. It was a 5-month temp job that offered the perks of working from home with flexible hours. Only God is always faithful! He still extended His grace and mercies when I least deserved them.

Make prayer a part of your daily lifestyle. Praying connects us to God, the source of power. He is the only Omnipotent, and Omniscient presence in our lives, knowing the beginning to the end that can provide a life without mistakes. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8.

Steps to Praying prayers that keep us connected to God:

  1. We must admit that we need God’s direction and Divine Intervention.
  2. Create the atmosphere by having a loving, forgiving, and obedient heart.
  3. Give up all willful sins, including self-reliance, pride, and impatience.
  4. Live a faith-based life. God takes the impossible and makes it possible.
  5. Trust God’s method. Be still, and wait! God will reveal His perfect plan.

Talk with God. Be honest by confessing your sins, and ask for His guidance. God is aware of our shortcomings, present your present dilemma, and acknowledge that you have run out of answers. When we approach God with humility and admit that we have wavering faith, He takes our weaknesses, and He gives us His strength to overcome. My friend, God loves us unconditionally, and He will deliver us from the spiritual crisis we are in if we only ask.

For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a road in the wilderness

And create rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

Bible Reading: 1 Samuel chapters 8-10

God, we acknowledge that we have created a crisis, not knowing which direction to take. We ask forgiveness for the self-reliance and the worldly desires that we seek after, which are not in your plans for us. We present our dilemmas to you and pray for your Divine Intervention. This prayer we ask in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

20 Most Beautiful Islands in the World (1)

 

Sabbath Rest and Relaxation

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

God did not rest on the 7th day Sabbath because He was exhausted from speaking the world into existence. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. Psalm 121:4. The Sabbath was made for humanity. Long before we existed, God was aware that we would choose schedules and responsibilities that would facilitate the breakdown and burnout of our minds and bodies. As a result, we have hastened the aging process from the inside out, and often are so weary that we forget to acknowledge who He is.

God provided the remedy by giving us 24 hours to recover from the hardships of life, and to focus on Him, lest we forget that, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8

It was out of love that human beings were created in the image of God. The great “I Am” knelt to pick up dirt, and used his hands to sculpt and create Adam, the Father of all humanity. How do we know that God loves us and we are His children? In Genesis, He used His voice to speak the world into existence except for human beings. Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Genesis 2:7.

From the beginning, we have always desired more than God has given to us. Adam and Eve disobeyed because they contemplated what it would be like to know good and evil. Instead they reaped the harsh consequences of disobedience. We do not have to make the same mistakes as the first couple. If we would focus on the perfect plans that God has for us, then our lives will be blessed and highly favored. The fruit of faithfulness and obedience are inner joy and peace, despite the circumstances of this life.

As Believers, the days of our lives will have troubles and sorrows; yet, Jesus tells us that we can entirely rely on Him. “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. The hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” is a Christian hymn with music by William J. Kirkpatrick and lyrics by Louisa M. R. Stead. The words were written in 1882. The song is their testimony that God keeps his promises.

Yes, God is faithful! He is just and waiting to provide us with a beautiful life in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Revelation, chapters 21 and 22. Now is the time to turn to Him and ask for His Divine Intervention and blessings. Can you imagine living forever with the problems that exist in our present life?

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.”… Revelation 21:3-5

This Sabbath change your schedule and take a break from your daily routine. Imagine that you had an extra-large paper bag and every problem, anxiety, and worry you place inside, and throw the bag away. Give God the worries of unemployment, the fears of the Coronavirus, the feelings of loneliness and isolation, all family issues, and any other burden that is weighing heavy in your heart.

Putting our secular activities of life on hold for one day allows us to enjoy the blessing that God gifted to humanity. It is a joy and relief to have sweet communion with God for 24 hours from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Those of us who decided to embrace the Sabbath experience a deeper relationship with God. We do not consider ourselves to be better than others, because that would be a grievous sin.

The decision to accept the Old and New Testament and all of the Ten Commandments allows us to honor God through obedience. God takes our offerings of obedience and pours down blessings that only a Heavenly Father can provide. The Voice of God is speaking to us through every scripture contained in the 66 Books of the Bible.

“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. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you…” Jeremiah 29:11-12

Go ahead, decide to follow God’s perfect plans, and enjoy the peace of Sabbath Rest and Relaxation for 24 hours. The spiritual, mental, and physical renewal that you experience will enable you to view life differently. Living a faith-based life is only possible when we trust and obey God. It is then that you will be able to proclaim, “MY life is in His Hands!” Happy Sabbath!

Bible Reading: Exodus 8

God, thank you for the Sabbath. We ask for the healing of our minds, and bodies along with an increased desire to serve you. Please intervene and give us peace. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

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A Word of Encouragement

I am sharing a Devotional that I posted on Facebook in 2013. How appropriate these words of encouragement are for our present health and economic crisis.

Although we are living in perilous times, never forget that God is and always be in control. Pray, Believe, and Wait on the Lord! Sonya Johnson Ruiz RN

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

Not One Word Has Failed

And you know in all your hearts and in all your soul that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed. JOSHUA 23:14

Near the end of his life, Joshua took time with the Israelites to review all that God had done for them since they first began following Him. God had given them an impossible assignment: to conquer a foreign and hostile land with fortified cities and armies more powerful than their own. The Israelites were to go forward with nothing more than God’s promise that He would go with them and take care of them. Now Joshua looked back over their experience and reminded the Israelites that God had kept every promise. They had experienced numerous victories and had enjoyed God’s provision for every need.

Sometimes hindsight gives us a clear picture of how faithful God has been. We are tempted during a crisis to wonder if God will be faithful to His promises. We focus on our problems, and our trust in God begins to waver. Twenty-four years after God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, they were still waiting on God to fulfill His promise. But in the twenty-fifth year, Abraham and Sarah could look back and see that God had been faithful. As David was fleeing for his life, he may have been uncertain how God would keep His promise to make him a king. But at the end of his long and prosperous reign, David could review how God had kept every promise.

You, too, can rely on God’s faithfulness. Are you in a crisis? Hold to the promises of your Lord! He will not forget His promises to you. Look back over your Christian life and recount the many ways in which God has been faithful to His word.

The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1

God, we pray for our faith to be strengthened. We believe that you love us and will supply all of our needs according to your plan for our lives. Please protect us from the ravages of this disease. We ask this prayer in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. Sonya Johnson Ruiz RN

Beautiful photo from my niece, Kristy.

Health is the New Wealth

There are two blessings that supersede financial wealth: Optimal Health and Faith in God.

Knowing that God created you in His perfect image provides the strength to treat yourself with loving care.

Now is the time to fortify your body with plenty of green leafy veggies and the incredible array of delicious summer fruits. If fresh green vegetables are a new experience, then invest in a small food processor and chop until the pieces resemble rice. It is a way to introduce the power greens into your diet gradually. It takes about 30 days for your tastebuds to adapt, but in 5-7 days, your body will begin to respond to being pampered with nutritionally correct foods.

Giving up sugar can be a daunting experience. Try Organic Agave Nectar, which is available in two versions: Golden light for drinks, baking, etc., and Raw Blue when your pancakes and french toast need syrup.

Limes are an underused fruit that adds flavor to many foods, and they make excellent thirst-quenching summer drinks. Use cut-up fresh fruit to make fruit infused water and iced herbal tea drinks, which taste great sweetened with Golden light agave.

Roasting chickpeas is a snack that tastes better than potato chips, okay maybe not, but they are still a fat-free snack. Adding ginger, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Italian herbs, and a dash of cold-pressed EVO-olive oil, oven on 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes will have you craving this healthy snack every day.

Dairy products were my number one favorite food. There was just one side effect that I couldn’t avoid: High cholesterol levels. When my Dr. recommended that I take cholesterol and Diabetic medications, I asked him to give me six months. Within that time, I lost weight, my good (HDL) cholesterol increased, and my bad (LDL) cholesterol decreased. My total cholesterol dropped 40 points. The added benefit to plant-based is weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

We can choose to live our best life when we follow the plan of God, our Creator.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yours for food Genesis 1:29

Whether we accept it or not, the human race was created to eat a plant-based diet. Our mind-body connection is enhanced when we follow God’s plan for our source of nutrition. Green leafy veggies provide physical strength and healing along with clarity of our mental faculties. And the energy from eating healthy enables one to function in full effect during waking hours. Without processed junk foods and a stimulant-free dietary intake, sleeping pills are history. Sleep will come naturally when our body reaches an optimal level of health.

Depending on your health status, most chronic illnesses will stabilize or at least improve from eating a plant-based diet. The big question is, “Do I stop taking my medication?” And the answer is No. When changes occur to our internal organs, pharmaceutical intervention is usually required to assist the body to maintain homeostasis.

For Spiritual health–Amp up your relationship with God. Listening to the audio Bible while holding the Bible in your hands is comforting. Hearing the Word of God always provides a peaceful existence. God did not create us to fend for ourselves. He has promised to take care of us when we are faithful and trust in Him. Read Matthew chapter 6 to learn the value that our Heavenly Father places on us.

Here’s to excellent health and blessings from God who loves us unconditionally.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself by wearing a mask, and practicing Social Distancing. God will take care of us.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz RN 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.

 

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In Sync With the Burden-Bearer

Rest for the Weary

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Who among us does not experience the burdens of life? There are bills to pay, children in school, unexpected family crises, health issues, job loss, bereavement from death, etc. Keeping our lives intact and functioning on a productive level can quickly escalate into a burdensome task. Also, a significant portion of the problems that we face is beyond our circumstances or control. When does it end? As long as we are alive and breathing, we will always have storms in our life to overcome. There are many challenges on a day-to-day basis that require immediate intervention along with developing short-term and long-term goals to facilitate resolution or prevention of recurrence.

Individuals with family support often have it much more comfortable than those who are relatively on their own to resolve ongoing issues. Almost one-third of my life was spent living in a single-person household. I experienced various problems, such as poor financial money management, job loss, fluctuating health status, divorce, and estrangement, from my immediate family. I emerged as a very broken and unstable individual until I asked God to become a part of my life. My testimony is that God has given me complete healing and deliverance from a disorderly lifestyle and an unproductive mindset. Even so, there were several steps that I had to take to receive freedom from past behaviors.

1. The Acknowledgment-What part was I responsible for when chaos was in my life?

2. Recognition-Realizing that resolving the burdens required God’s intervention.

3. Ownership-Identifying my mistakes and promising to not repeat the old behaviors.

4. Confession-Asking God for forgiveness for excluding Him from my daily life.

5. Transfer of Ownership-Giving my burdens to the only one that has the power to bring resolution.

It has taken most of my life to ultimately allow God to be the Driver of the Automobile of my Life. But now I am content riding in the passenger seat. The obstacles are still on the road; however, for the first time, I have no worries. Taking that first giant leap of faith, and giving every burdensome care to God has strengthened my faith and trust in Jehovah Jireh-Our Provider.

It is so beautiful to let God be your burden bearer. I have been healed from a lifelong history of insomnia. Now when I awaken refreshed and renewed, I ask myself, “What took you so long to figure this out?”

Bible Reading: Matthew 11

God, we desire your intervention in our lives. We acknowledge that we cannot solve our burdens alone. Please help us and free us from these burdensome tasks. Amen. –SJR

The Living___ (1)

 

This is the Plan

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

Entering the 9th grade proved to be the most challenging year of my secondary education. Our family relocated from Newark, New Jersey, a city full of diversity, cultural events, and food that represented the varied ethnicities to the metropolis of Houston, Texas. For the first time, I experienced the isms of life along with segregation. Many decades later, Houston has evolved into a city that has a comprehensive mix of cultures along with a progressive way of life.

I can assure you that my experience in a private, Christian school was far from the love and acceptance that their mission statement indicated. I was persecuted by my peers for speaking with a “Yankee” accent, and for being a teenager of color. My only friends were a small group of “girls gone wild” that came from influential families and embraced diversity because they had traveled throughout the world. No, I was not bullied, I was simply ignored my 98% of my peers. I thank God for protecting me from the mental and emotional damage that usually happens from peer-persecution. Fifty years later, I now understand that I had to endure the struggle because that was part of God’s plan, even so, my life has always been in God’s hands.

My self-esteem, self-worth, and values were etched in stone from a team effort of family, church, and Christian education. At a very young age, I believed that God intentionally created the hues of humanity to portray His love of beauty. The diversity of the human race along with the plant and animal kingdoms represents a God who possesses a love for the aesthetic. I believed that I was created in God’s image, and I thought that it was remarkable that people could look so different yet share the same attributes. Outside of homework, every spare moment of my youth was spent reading, focusing on my creative skills, and playing tennis, badminton, and archery.

In comparison to the life that many children experience now, our stay-at-home mother embraced her responsibilities and provided us with a Christian home complete with a nurturing and loving environment. Did I experience a perfect life? Not at all, my stability was shaken at the age of 15, where my childhood ended, and I became a self-supporting young woman. My story does not include teenage pregnancy or a physically traumatic event; it consists of the story that bad things happen to good people. Although the demonic forces of evil tried to destroy me in the formative years, God lovingly proved His power and brought into fruition the plans that He had for my life.

Suffering adversity has a purpose; the challenges that we face are designed to draw us closer to our Creator. Just as an umbilical cord provides life-sustaining nutrients and elements from the expectant mother to the baby, each of us has a spiritual umbilical cord that is never severed from God. Even in our times of disobedience when we use our rational thoughts to justify poor decisions that end with negative consequences, God does not forsake us.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

We have been given the free will to make the choice of serving God or pleasing ourselves. God does not force himself on us! In fact, He is the originator of democracy. We can live for God or against God. Revelation 3 provides us with an overview of the self-seeking characteristics of the members of the Laodicean church: “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17.

Many Believers are falling away because they feel that the God of biblical times has changed. We have become self-reliant and are seeking after our desires, which have separated us from the God who we desperately need. During our global chaos, the truth is being rejected. And, the individuals who stand for the truth are accused of spreading fear. Truth is the factor that identifies and separates believers from unbelievers. God’s character is revealed in the Bible, and the scriptures represent His voice. Has God changed? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 55:9

God never changes! When we have a personal relationship with God, it is our mindset that changes, we live to please God. The adversities that threaten to shake our core beliefs are easily handled and solved by our Heavenly Father.  Through prayer, we present our plans to God for His approval and blessings. To “be still” is to faithfully wait for God’s answer. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

God is the only source who can provide reliable answers and resolution to every one of life’s problems. Having complete peace is achievable through God. It is a beautiful feeling to live without anxieties or worries, and this is only possible when you place God as your priority. God requires an up-close and personal relationship in which we establish, build, and do our part to maintain the connection with our Father. Human effort plus Divine Intervention equals a Victorious Outcome. Studying the Bible is a pre-requisite and provides strength and reinforcement in our times of distress. Know that you belong to God!

Our lives do not have to reflect a roller-coaster ride. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11. Serving God is the best plan that we can make. The outcome from total commitment to God results in living a life that is blessed and highly favored. The perk, we live in a worry-free zone, complete with comfort and joy in the Lord. Like the psalmist proclaims, “I have hidden your word in my heart, so I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11, we can have the same reassurance as young children who seek refuge and comfort from their mothers.

Yes, we are living in troublesome times, which the Bible says will escalate. Even so, God has a plan:

“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

Realizing that additional suffering will be required, still, I have decided to accept God’s plan. I have been waiting for a long time but will continue to believe in the blessed hope of living in a New Heaven and New Earth. Until then, I will study, pray, sing and praise God for preparing a new home where the evils of the Coronavirus, economic decline, hunger, homelessness, crime, and death will not exist. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. John 14:27

Bible Reading: Revelation 21-22

God, we thank you for your plans and your promises. It is our desire to give ourselves to you. Please guide us that we are in alignment with your will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.

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