In Sync with your Body, pt. 2

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

…The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Have you ever thought about what you think about the majority of the time? Our thoughts evolve into behaviors and actions that govern how we live. Thinking positive thoughts enable us to have a stronger connection to God and gives us the ability to see life through spiritual eyes.

How can we rid ourselves of negative thoughts? By recognizing the negative thought immediately and saying a prayer for God to give us a renewed/refreshed mindset. It takes a conscious effort to stop the negativity. Unproductive thoughts are habitual; however, habits can be broken if we pray for change to occur. When we study the Bible and have a meaningful relationship with God, we will always possess inner joy and peace.

So, if you are reading this, you have a reason to think positive happy thoughts. You are a living, breathing organism granted another day of life.

Plan to incorporate several “minute” prayer and praise sessions throughout your day. Utilize the ministry of Christian music to soothe, uplift and promote a nurturing environment. Begin to think and speak positive happy thoughts even when the situation would normally cause you to be negative. The joy of the Lord imparts strength. Claim your deliverance from all negativity, and you will possess radiating joy along with a stronger relationship with God.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I desire to have a positive mind. Please help me to get rid of the negativity that past experiences have caused. I want and need the joy that only comes from you. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with your Body, Part 1

Practical messages for Impractical Times

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

Anyone who studies the subjects of Anatomy and Physiology is aware of the amazing attributes of the human body. For those of us who refuse to acknowledge the concept of evolution; we base the complexity of our bodies on the fact that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and usually possess a greater respect of our bodies.

Let’s contemplate on the characteristics of the human voice. It has the ability to speak words, sing melodies, hum, make various sounds, imitate other voices, and laugh. We can also change the pitch, and tone according to our emotional state or the individuals we are communicating with. For example, if I am speaking to a group, I would not use a high-pitched tone which would distract from the subject of my presentation.

The voice is also a powerful tool that can convey love, compassion, gentleness, and promote healing by its soothing qualities, Mothers often sing to their babies or speak to them in loving sounds known as “baby talk.” Even patients who have awakened from a comatose state reveal that they can remember hearing voices.

The most important use of our voice is for prayer and praise to the Creator of all things. When we use our voices to thank God for the many blessings He continues to give us, then we are acknowledging His love, His grace, and His mercy. Our heartfelt prayers are sweetness to His ears. Are you aware that our voices were gifted to worship God?

When I visited my cousin in West Virginia last year, she recommended that I speak the words while reading the Bible. I did not readily accept her suggestion due to a lifelong practice of silent reading. However, in our daily Bible studies, I experienced a deeper spiritual connection to God through verbalizing and hearing His loving promises aloud. Imagine attending church only to read the sermon in print as opposed to a spoken presentation of God’s Word.

Use your vocal gift to give glory to God every day. A kind word conveys all of the characteristics of the Creator who made heaven, earth, and our wonderful bodies. Live in the spirit of gratitude by using your voice to acknowledge the giver through continuous praise.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for the wonderful gift of my voice. Please help me to always use it to convey your love and kindness for all human beings that you created in your image. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Caring for Others

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

Yesterday, I had an appointment in our next largest city of downtown Ft. Worth. I felt a sense of dread regarding the metered parking since I had forgotten to bring any change. When I arrived at the building, I was pleasantly surprised by the availability of free garage parking for those with handicapped parking privileges. At the appointment, God performed a second miracle and brought resolution to an ongoing issue that plagued me for 12 years. Once I returned to my vehicle, I had a prayer and praise session thanking God for His love and mercy.

I contemplated as to what I would do next, and decided to go to the beauty supply to pick up a couple of needed items. I was in the vicinity of two stores within one-tenth of a mile from each other. I chose the one that was farthest away for no particular reason. When I arrived the rays from the 90-degree sun were extremely hot and all of the shady parking spaces were taken. I decided to wait for an available space, and yes it was worth the wait. Before I could seek refuge in the air-conditioned building, I heard someone calling, “Miss, Miss can you come over and take one of my cards?” I looked at the Dental services offered as we talked about the necessity of regular dental care, and as I turned to leave, the conversation changed and I was asked to look at “the young pregnant lady who needed gas money for her pickup truck.” I am far from naivety due to previous nursing positions working in the Criminal Justice system. I assessed my surroundings to make certain that I was safe and not being targeted. My immediate response was that I did not have any cash, and inquired as to where the truck was located. I relayed that I would see what I could do when I completed shopping. It is my habit to purchase what the individual in need is requesting the money for as opposed to giving cash. This method allows for the validation of truth and honesty when helping others.

As I left the store, the young woman approached me with four dollars and a small gas can that is used to fill up a lawnmower. She offered to give me the money in her hand and the gas can, and asked if I would go to the gas station across the street, and get the gas because she could not leave her truck in the store’s parking lot overnight or it would be towed. I began to ask clarification questions as to why she could not drive the truck across the street. Her response was that the gas gauge was showing past empty. I thought about handling the smelly gas can and asked her to take a chance and drive across the street. As she entered her truck and drove to the gas station, I placed my purse and purchases in the trunk of my car and prayed for guidance and protection against all harm.

When I arrived she was standing by the first pump, anxiously waving and thanking me for my help. I went inside of the station, pre-paid, and as I walked over to the truck, I saw four large bags of clothing in the flatbed of the truck. It did not come as a surprise when she told me that she was living in her truck. We began to discuss the Homeless Shelter in downtown Ft Worth and the long waiting list for a bed. Just when I thought that my agonizing heart would burst, she told me of her fear that Child Protective Services would take her baby due to her status of being homeless. As I listened to her history, I prayed to God to give me the words to say to bring hope and comfort. When I took a good look at this young woman, her hair was immaculate, she was neatly dressed and well-mannered. I inquired as to her drug-free status, to which her reply was, “No Ma’am, I never used drugs. I couldn’t find a job at home. My mistake was to leave West Texas for a job offer that was canceled when I arrived in Ft Worth, and I can’t return because I have no living family, my parents are deceased.” I offered to buy her food and we proceeded to a neighborhood chicken restaurant. She handed me the four dollars because she wanted to do give me something for my help. Of course, I did not take her money, and explained to her that I was doing nothing more than what God expected from me. I gave her the name of a local çhurch that provides assistance to those in need. I asked if I could give her a hug, and then she stated, “Yes, I have never met anyone in my life who would help a stranger like you did.” I prayed that God would keep she and the baby safe and provide housing asap.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” Matthew 25:40

Recap: Although, I have a burden on my heart for the homeless; I was more concerned about my own desires (shopping) and getting my hands smelly than for someone in dire need. God allowed the circumstances to be revealed in a way that exposed my ungodly nonchalant attitude. It is my duty to God to alleviate the suffering of others. My prayer is for God to keep me humble and that I will always do His will.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please give me a sense of urgency to fulfill my duties to those in need. I pray for the young woman that you brought into my path that you will care for her and reveal your love as only you can. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Take care of yourself

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Corinthians 3:6

Defining Healthy Living is highly subjective. If ten individuals were asked what comprised a healthy lifestyle you would receive ten varied answers. However, “eating healthy” would be the common factor among the respondents regardless of their interpretation of health. In spite of the benefits of making informed decisions about healthy food choices, the United States has the highest rate of Childhood Obesity and Adult Onset Diabetes. We continue to eat for pleasure as opposed to fueling our bodies with foods high on the nutritional pyramid.

Imagine taking your car to the gas station every day when the tank is full and attempting to put more gas inside; the overflow of gas would end up on the ground. It is unfortunate that our bodies are endless receptacles. We choose foods which contain the minimal nutritional value and force our bodies to accept high amounts of fat, sugar and empty calories. The adage of you are what you eat remains true. Do not be deceived by appearance, poor nutrition may not be evident in persons with a normal body weight: However, we know it is the engine and the internal parts of a car that are the most important.

My testimonial:

The most exciting aspect of making the decision to choose a healthy diet is the overwhelming response from my body. When the temple receives lean protein, legumes, whole grains, complex carbs, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, the immune system is strengthened, and the body begins to repair itself internally. As a result, I experienced a significant boost in energy along with increased mental clarity. The overall sense of wellness provided me with the motivation to increase my current level of activity, and with increased activity, a slimmer body is evolving. I realized that not only was weight loss an achievable goal but my desire for junk food has changed. Personally, the greatest benefit from my lifestyle change is the desire to spend time with God in prayer and study of His Word. My longstanding history of insomnia has resolved, and the feelings of lethargy and sluggishness have abated.

This is the story of my body’s response to caring for it as a temple.

Kudos to those who are on the continuing journey to achieve optimal wellness-spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I want to care for my bodily temple. Please give me the willpower to select foods based on their nutritional value that will strengthen, nourish, and promote optimal wellness. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

http://www.pinterest.com for healthy recipes

Total Transformation

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

It has become acceptable to broadcast through pictures or a verbal confession to disclose your innermost feelings on social media. This is not referring to political, religious, or social injustice views; but actual negative emotions which reveal the individual is on a roller coaster ride of instability. Is it a shout out to friends for help? I am unable to provide an answer for the need to reveal intimate feelings to everyone on a friends list. It is unfortunate because the viewers of the message are unable to provide a remedy or solution that requires Divine intervention.

As believers, many of us have become entangled in the ways of the world. We are unable to provide spiritual support to others because we are also riding the roller coaster. Our lives are everything but good and pleasing. We are out of sync by only being hearers of the Word of God. The choice to serve God involves aligning our mind and behaviors to God’s standards. It is the secret time that we spend with God in prayer and studying the Bible that frees us from the entrapment of emotional instability.

We can be transformed when we allow God to enter our hearts. God has not left us to fend for ourselves. There is a guiding power in our lives known as the Comforter (John 16:7-8) that will steer us away from sin, and keep us on the path to righteousness. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, ” But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

We are on a lifelong learning curve to Salvation known as Sanctification. The tools for education include a syllabus that never changes-the Bible and a personal instructor who is accessible through prayer anytime. The plan for changing our lives to be “good and pleasing and perfect” is fail-proof because it was written by God. So the next time your emotions are out of control, invite the greatest Teacher, Therapist, and Healer to resolve those feelings by praying until you feel peace.

God loves us unconditionally and when we allow Him to intervene in our lives, we can use social media to broadcast His goodness through our praise testimonies.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I have reached out to all the wrong people to help me. I am asking you into my life to transform my mind and to learn more about you. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

God’s Personality

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

A Call to Repentance: That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:12-13.

Have you ever thought about God’s personality? As a child, I was taught to literally be afraid of God. The emphasis of the church we attended was placed on the many punitive actions against the Israelites in the time of the Old Testament. To me, God was full of wrath and had a doom and gloom personality. However, as I matured, I began to study the Word of God for myself and discovered that I was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, He allowed His only son Jesus to die for my sins, and if I so choose, I can be the recipient of eternal life.

Now that I understood who God was, I became fully aware of the reason for His actions toward the Israelites. The Chosen people were to reflect God’s loving and caring personality to other nations. God portrayed His intentions by setting them free and supplying all of their needs. In spite of the many blessings, they were swayed by pagan customs and chose to go against their Deliverer and Provider. Through God’s grace and mercy, the opportunity and time to cease disobedience were given, but as a people, they ignored the call for repentance.

In the book of Joel, we find that God had blessed Israel with an overabundance of food, vineyards, and cattle. The Israelites became arrogant as they celebrated their accomplishments as self-made. With the increase in prosperity, the Giver of their wealth was ignored. It appeared that disobedience to God brought a plentiful harvest and a comfortable life. However, God allowed various types of locusts to devour their entire food supply. It was only after this great loss, they were forced to acknowledge their sin against God and repent.

Every relationship has a beginning; time, understanding, compassion, and love are required to nurture and produce ongoing growth and strength. When we include a relationship with God in our lives, we have additional responsibilities: Commitment, Obedience, Praying, and, Studying the Word of God. When we remain humble, God takes on our burdens of life. We no longer have to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6) or how our necessities will be supplied. God’s loving and caring personality will be evident; we will view Him as our Heavenly Father and our great Jehovah Jireh-Provider.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your love. Thank you for being my Heavenly Father and my Provider. Teach me your ways, that I may always acknowledge who you are. Amen

Sonya Johnson Ruiz