Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17
As Believers, our lifestyles are to reflect Christ’s character; Jesus’ every thought, prayers, miracles, and interactions with others honored God, His Father. The Son of God was obedient even unto death. Choosing a life of humility, suffering, and dying on a cross was for you, and it was for me.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1
What can we offer God? In our present state of sinful rebellion, we are unable to seek after righteousness and live holy lives. A Spiritual Spring Cleaning is necessary to rid ourselves of the clutter inside of our hearts and minds. Let us apply the same method to our lives that we use to clean our homes of unnecessary items. We must make a change by separating ourselves from unbelievers and giving up all habits, desires, and lifestyle choices that fail to honor God.
Jesus’ death was for the redemption of our sins. He is preparing to give us a new home, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:1-2.
It is a daily struggle to do good, to make the right choices, to speak loving words, to possess a tender heart, and to honor God. To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life. Romans 2:7. Good deeds do not ensure us eternal life, we cannot earn salvation. We do good because we love God and when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we possess the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22,23.
God knows that we are unable to overcome without His help; therefore, we have been given spiritual reinforcements in the battle of life. We have a spiritual team, God the Father, Jesus his Son, the Holy Spirit, and ministering angels to assist us. All we have to do is pray and ask for help. Our part is to give Him our entire heart, to obey, trust, and faithfully believe His promises. No temptation has overtaken you, except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Let go of the cobwebs of your past mistakes, get rid of the excess baggage of holding grudges, downsize your social circle, identify the lifestyle choices of idol worship, and throw them away. Pray and ask God to reveal everything that needs to be discarded to serve Him with your whole heart. It feels great to live in a clean home; however, a clean heart enables us to reap the benefits of God’s peace and blessings.
Do not give up! In a little while, we will have a new home to live in forever and ever. Amen.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.” Revelation 21:1-3
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020
Turn everything over to God!
When one thinks of the winter, it is a season that places the earth into a pause, bringing with it chilly temperatures, harsh winds, and icy, dangerous conditions. Although frigid conditions may seem unbearable, winter is a necessary part of a cycle that provides rest and relaxation to the plant kingdom and dormancy for several species of animals. The snowy blanket that is seen as an inconvenience is a soft and beautiful cover providing protection and watery nourishment to the resting plant life.
Just when we feel that winter has outlived its time, and we cannot take one more day, the season reaches its peak and is abruptly cut short by the onset of spring. The season of spring provides compassionate relief with its bright rays of sunshine melting the icy hard exterior into watery puddles. Hues rapidly change from shades of gray to bursts of vibrant colors as buds and flowers announce their arrival. We are reminded that we can dream in color as the rainbow of greens, reds, yellows, oranges, and pinks appear on the earth’s canvas.
“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
It is from the harshness of adversity that we experience spiritual growth. Yes, our trials and tribulations are tough, but they are not allowed to destroy us. The grace and mercy that extends from our loving Heavenly Father protects us from the dismay of hopelessness. God would never allow Satan to fulfill his premeditated plans to bring endless misery to those that love the Lord God with all of their hearts, souls, and minds. No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Even when we are unsure of how to entirely depend on God, we can prayerfully acknowledge, release, and give all of our doubts and fears to the Omnipotent One. “Dear God, We do not know how to trust you, but we give ourselves completely to you and will wait for your solution to our problems. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.” Taking a leap of faith is necessary, even when we think that the situation is impossible, to lift us out of our state of inactivity. Believing that God provides the sunshine will propel our seed of faith into a season of unlimited growth. Trust in Him! If He said it, then He will do it. The wintry season does not last forever.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020
Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 1 Peter 2: 15
The voice on the other end of the phone stated, “Sonya, we are discharging Patient X from physical therapy services tomorrow. She has met all of her goals, to which I responded, “This patient is no longer on our services and was discharged 8 weeks ago.” The therapist reiterated that an email requesting the patient to continue home health services was sent previously, and the patient’s nurse was aware that therapy would continue for another 8 weeks.
My responsibilities as the Clinical Supervisor included the responsibility for the daily clinical operations, the nursing staff, and the initial contact person for all issues and updates regarding patient care. The expectation was that problems would reach my ears first, and if I was unable to reach a resolution, then I would defer to the Clinical Director.
The infraction of the patient’s services ending prematurely was a grave issue because the agency’s policy was breached. Physical Therapy could not be provided as a stand-alone service, the patient had to continue services with a Registered Nurse as the patient’s case manager. Also, the therapy company was billing our agency for over $4.000 for services rendered, which would not be reimbursed by Medicare.
As I spoke to my Director, she informed me that the patient’s nurse and myself would be terminated following the investigation by the corporate office. Within a couple of days, I received a call from the Vice President who asked me to accompany her for an out of town seminar the next day. My Director received an email confirming that I would be out of the office for the training. The events that occurred next, I will attempt to summarize; the Director was visibly upset that I had been invited and proceeded to interrogate me as to why she was bypassed, and I was attending the seminar.
On the morning of the seminar, I prayed for God to give me the strength to accept the loss of my position. As the Vice President and I chatted during the three-hour trip, my thoughts were elsewhere, I could not begin to comprehend why I was attending the training. The answer that I long-awaited for was revealed on the return trip, she requested a verbal and written account of why the patient’s services had not continued.
As I explained the oversight of the unread email, I verbalized full responsibility for the error. I realized that I would be carrying out my box of personal belongings upon return to the office. All I could do is apologize and accept responsibility for my mistake. The words that I heard next, I will never forget, “Sonya, there are going to be some changes in staff due to a falsified report of what occurred. The other individuals remain adamant that they never received the email and are placing responsibility on you. I invited you to the seminar because I know that you will tell the truth. However, I will not be the person responsible for making the decision on whether you will be terminated or not.”
Five days later, I was the only one of three managers, that retained my job for the simple fact that I told the truth. And the policies were modified to prevent the reoccurrence of the error.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Proverbs 12:19
An admission of guilt does not guarantee a positive outcome, there are many times when we must face the full consequences of our actions without a reprieve. Even so, when we are honest and possess a contrite heart, God honors our confession and repentance for our sins. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Even amid our failures, when we repent, God forgives, and He will always provide.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well. Psalm 139:14
On December 25th, 2018, I sustained an accidental fracture of my right (dominant) hand. Although I am ambidextrous, my left-hand did not possess the strength or dexterity to perform tasks that require fine motor skills other than writing on the level of most pre-schoolers. As a nurse, I have provided care for many post-stroke patients and used interventions to ensure they were following the treatment plans from their Occupational Therapists. However, I was not giving attention to someone else, I was the patient who was required to adhere to a rigorous treatment plan by my therapist.
After my hospital discharge, I looked at the basket containing the yarn and hooks of one of my favorite hobbies, crocheting, which is a skill that requires two hands. I had the use of three fingers on my right hand and the full use of my left hand but lacked the motivation to find activities to replace crocheting. I placed the yarn basket on the coffee table, in full view, and held the crochet hook every day, wishing for better days. After a few days of watching classic movies, my level of boredom reached an all-time high. I started to think of other activities that I enjoyed, and that is when I started to discover the incredible abilities of a weakened left hand.
The progression from rolling yarn in a ball to combing, brushing, and styling my hair continued to the point that I was able to cook with one hand. Using my touch tablet, I found an online riddle game that I could use my left-hand to play, and the game also provided the benefit of developing my logical thought processes. Yes, I needed assistance with lifting more substantial items, and my signature still was like a childish scribble. But my left hand responded well to the various tasks, I gained enough strength and dexterity to perform my Activities of Daily Living on a crude but functional level.
When my outlook was so bleak that I could not even pick up my Bible to read, I used the audio version of God’s Word to listen to Psalms 23 and 27 over and over again. With prayers, I asked God to stabilize my emotions, for the healing of my hand, and to continue writing the Daily Devotionals–for which I used text-to-speech to accomplish. It was a cynical and defeating mindset that caused me to fixate on an impediment instead of the grace and mercies of God.
It is usually in adversity that we learn how powerful God really is. The discovery of the unknown abilities of our minds and bodies does not have to occur post-injury or illness. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…Genesis 1:26. God has equipped us with the capabilities to pursue our innate gifts and talents. We have the unlimited potential to develop our mental faculties as well as maintaining our physical health.
The Anatomy and Physiology of the human body is one of the greatest gifts that we have received. Research and learn who you belong to, it is “I AM” that has created us. As long as we stay in the perfect will of God, He has provided us with the means to discover and achieve our fullest potential spiritually, mentally, and physically.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020