Traits for Soldiers–Let your Words Lift them Up!

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Part 4 of 4

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see a ladder? I think of climbing an object that enables us to reach heights that we would not be able to achieve within our own efforts. Although ladders are used to ascend, they are often utilized to descend in rescue attempts to facilitate a safe escape from harms way.

So now that we agree that a ladder has a twofold purpose, we can also agree that most of us feel that our tongue also has a twofold purpose. Not so! We are admonished in James chapter 3 to control our tongue–to control our words.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7 NLT

The truth that our tongues are full of viciousness is a warning for the Soldiers in the Army of God. We must accept, confess, repent, obey, and learn to practice self-control with the tone of our voice and the choice of our words.

Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:9,10 NLT

There will be no bittersweet, or harsh words in our heavenly home. We must utilize our time wisely to make the necessary changes as we prepare for Kingdom life. I ask all of my fellow Christian comrades to pray for one another as we strive to possess the character of Christ.

Attention! Prepare yourselves! Christ is coming soon!

Bible Reading: James 3

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for your Holy Word and the instructions that you have left for us so we can prepare for your Second Coming. We confess that we have hurt and damaged others with poisoned words. We ask you to forgive us and cleanse us from the sinful habits that we have cherished and continue to hold on to. Please help us to whisper a prayer and respond with peaceful words or learn not to respond when we are confronted. We need your strength in our weakness as we strive to be overcomers. We ask for a double portion of your Holy Spirit to enable us to resist ungodly behaviors. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

The Greatness of Our God

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. they are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22, 23

A mother seeking her son’s pardon from Emperor Napoleon was told that since this was his second offense, that justice demanded his death.

“But I don’t ask for justice,” she cried. “I plead for mercy.”

“But, said the Emperor, “He doesn’t deserve mercy.”

“Sire,” replied the mother, “it wouldn’t be mercy if he deserved it. Mercy for him is all that I ask for.”

“Well then,” said Napoleon, “I will have mercy.” And the son was granted a pardon.

As I read this story this morning, my heart cried out in thanksgiving for God’s wonderful love that extends mercy to His created beings who just cannot seem to get it right. In spite of our love, and knowledge of who God is, all we can present is brokenness. Even so, He takes our brokenness, always forgiving us, and by giving us grace and mercy to start over day after day, we are healed and made whole.

We do not deserve God’s mercy; yet, He granted us the blessing to awaken to a brand new day. Today is the day for us to focus on His grace and mercy so that we never take God for granted. Take the time to whisper a prayer, and sing songs of praise to our Most High and Loving God.

We are who we are only because of God.

His mercies endure today, tomorrow, and forevermore. Amen!

Bible Reading: The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. Lamentations 3: 25, 26

Prayer for today: Dear God, We just want to say thank you for your never-ending love, your grace, and your mercies. Please help us to never take you for granted. We ask you to forgive us of our sins, our shortcomings and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. These blessings we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Traits for Soldiers-On Bended Knees

O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our maker. Psalm 95:6 KJV

Part 3 of 4

Do we really understand the Omnipotence, the Omnipresence, the glory and the majesty of our Almighty God?

As a young girl, I was taught to reverently approach God in prayer by humbling myself through the positioning of my body with a bowed head, closed eyes, clasped hands, and bended knees. Whether this description causes you to reflect on memories or you are reading this for the first time, this is the positioning of our bodies that David, in the book of Psalms, admonishes us to assume when we approach God in prayer, on bended knees.

Have we absent-mindedly or intentionally forgotten who God is? Have we forgotten who we are in the hierarchy of created beings? If so, we can find the answers in the Word of God-the Bible.

Question: What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Psalm 8:4 NLT

Answer: For you have made him a little lower than the angels and have crowned him with glory and honour? Psalm 8:5

And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God. Revelation 7:11

The angels that are heavenly beings bow before our Majestic God to worship him. We must never think so highly of ourselves that we fail to humbly approach God in our worship to him by the kneeling of our body and the bowing of our head.

There are many individuals who are physically unable to kneel, including myself, due to a disability or the aging process. Even so, I took a moment to reflect on my childhood training and bowed my head with closed eyes and clasped hands prior to praying this morning. I can tell you that I experienced a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit; this was not a figment of my imagination, this was an opportunity for God to take my worship experience to a higher level because I approached him as He rightfully deserves.

Reverence God!

Our eyes which enable us to visually take in our surroundings is definitely one of our greatest blessings. However, during the time of our worship experience while praying, open eyes cause us to see many distractions, which make us lose our focus on God. Guard your mind by shutting out the world, and making your worship a personal one-to-one uplifting experience filled with reverence, praise, and love for the God that you adore.

As soldiers in God’s army, we are obligated to give our Creator and Commander honor through the recognition of his Omnipotence. Today commit yourself wholly to God by approaching him on bended knee every opportunity you can.

We can and should worship God outside of our home environment. Whether we are at work, or in our vehicles, if a situation presents with stressors that disturb your peace of mind, stop and take a 5 minute break, if driving find a place to pull over, and prepare yourself for prayer with a bowed head and closed eyes. Allow the Holy Spirit to completely fill you and the stressors of the environment will have no impact on your life.

Attention! Soldiers, drop to bended knees!

Approach God on bended knees and your testimony will forever be: O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9

Bible Reading: Psalm 8

Prayer for today: Dear God, How majestic is your name in all the earth! We ask forgiveness for not giving you the reverence that you rightfully deserve. Yes, you have created us in your image, but we are not demigods, which are a figment of someone’s imagination. We are dust that you formed into humanity, it is you who has breathed the breath of life into us, and for that we are grateful for your love. We are thankful that we are allowed to reverently approach you through prayer. We are thankful that you love us by giving us your grace and mercy and all we have to do is have the faith to accept your sacrifice and your plan of salvation. From this day forward, we commit our lives to you by humbly accepting your will for our lives. We ask this prayer in the worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Traits for Soldiers-Structure and Discipline

Part 2 of 4

But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:16 NLT

One of my most challenging positions as a nurse involved working with healthcare providers to improve the quality of healthcare for the senior population. The education of the physicians remained an ongoing battle as we addressed the deficiencies of Medicare healthcare measures for their patients with chronic diseases. Even so, quality-based disease management was not an option; set parameters were determined by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) who required modification in the patient’s plan of care until patient-centered goals were met.

Monthly meetings involved the review of statistics that reflected the healthcare provider’s performance as evidenced by the management of chronic diseases. Even with the many variables including patient non-compliance, the expectation was for the patient under managed care to demonstrate disease management including normalized blood sugars and blood pressures.

A monthly report with patient statistics reflected the physician’s failure to meet the standards for disease management of patients with chronic illnesses such as Diabetes, Hypertension, and Osteoporosis. In addition, the physician ordering of screening diagnostic tests including mammograms and colon cancer screening were also monitored by CMS.

Many of the providers took personal offense to the reports and I faced varied reactions of anger, irritability, silence, and blame during these meetings. Regardless of the approval or disapproval of the physician, my responsibility as a quality nurse was to remain focused on the task and provide the nursing support and education to achieve 100% compliance.

God has also provided guidelines to give us the structure and discipline necessary to achieve ongoing spiritual growth along with developing a deeper relationship with him. The Bible–God’s Holy Word–is concise; covering every aspect of our lives and clearly indicating God’s expectations of every Believer. Whether or not our reactions and lifestyles reflect inconsistencies and disobedience, God states:

“I am the Lord and I do not change…first part, Malachi 3:6 NLT

“For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18 BSB

When we accept the Plan of Salvation, we do not have the option to do as we please. God requires strict obedience and adherence to his commands; we are graciously provided with His loving grace, mercies, and forgiveness which is not to be taken for granted.

It is a choice to make the commitment to accept salvation and enlist in the Army of God. Our love for God must supercede our worldly desires, ambitions, and pursuits. Even when we desire to use the spiritual gifts and natural talents that God has blessed us with; as soldiers we must always seek God’s approval for all of our plans. Although we are utilizing our time for the good of others, we are unable to work our way to Eternal life. Good deeds cannot earn us a higher rank in the Army of God.

Ask yourself, “Am I really doing the will of God?” and then pray a heartfelt prayer, asking God to reveal his will for your life. We are unable to have salvation by selecting what we feel like doing for God. The obedience required to be a willing servant requires that we step out of our comfort zone. Are you experiencing the Jonah syndrome? We cannot run from our responsibility: Our primary focus is to witness to others about our loving God and his Son, Jesus who gave His life for all.

“It is only what we do for Him that will count in the end, it is only what we do for Christ that will last.”

Attention! Forward March!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Bible Reading: Revelation 3

Prayer for today: Dear God, We commit our plans, our desires, and our entire lives to you.We ask you to forgive us of our sins and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. Please reveal to us, your will for our lives so that we may honor and glorify you. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Nothing Lasts Forever?

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes jn him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

When you reflect on the phrase, “Nothing lasts forever” what do you immediately think of? I think of relationships; friendships, marriages, dating, and courtships that are easily broken in our society. God intended for us to form strong bonds with one another as opposed to standing alone in life. What is the underlying cause for fractured relationships? The current status quo of “doing what we feel like doing” has undermined the institutions of marriage, family, and friendships.

When we base our decisions on feelings we are certain to experience negative outcomes. Excitement–which is the feeling that a new relationship provides, cannot provide the basis to build a strong foundation between individuals. Certainly there is the realization that it takes time for two or more individuals to form a loving and caring relationship and the ongoing effort for strong emotional bonds to form as they commit to each other forever?

Without being cynical, many thoughts flood my mind; but the main one is that many individuals do not possess the knowledge of how to have a healthy, and thriving relationship. Therefore, the lack of knowledge introduces undesirable elements to promote an unhealthy and unstable relationship with a weak foundation. Even so, the relationship is formed, and the dissolution leaves us fearful, hurt, depressed, bitter, angry and scarred.

As a former psych nurse, I could approach the relationship issue with many analytical theories; however, I am a Believer, so I must approach weak and fractured relationships from a spiritual perspective. Our relationship with others is interdependent upon our spiritual relationship with God. If we have a strong and loving relationship spiritually through faith, trust, and obedience to God then we are equipped to form strong bonds with others.

Obedience to God requires the emptying of one’s self through sacrificial giving-letting go of what we desire. Our desires usually place us in the position of rebelling against God and his plans for our lives. Although we diligently study the Bible and pray, we develop ungodly character traits that coincide with our thought processes, and our lifestyles reflect the partial commitment that we have made to God.

If we have determined to half-heartedly commit to God then we are unable to fully give of ourselves to others. Whether we are employed, unemployed, retired, a stay-at-home parent, wife, husband, or student; our commitment to God places us in the position of always having something to do, and that is to develop a thriving, forever relationship with God and our family of Believers.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 13:1-9

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings. We need your help in building forever relationships with you and others. First, we ask you to teach us how to remain committed to you, and secondly how to remain committed to our biological and spiritual families. Secondly, we ask you to make us aware of the ungodly character traits we possess so we may change and possess the Fruit of the Spirit. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Disclaimer: The Devotionals that are reflected in my weblog are intended for Believers in God, regardless of religious, social, economic or national backgrounds.