Bound Together by Love

When I decided to pursue a nursing degree, the academic advisor provided needful information on the importance of making good grades. The key to successful learning was simple-possessing great study habits. Ten years after graduating as an LPN, the advisor strongly recommended that I take a non-credit refresher course on “Studying for Success,” which the College offered. Although I agreed, I was not happy that I had to pay for a class for which I would not receive college credits.

As I reflect on the advisor’s guidance, I am very grateful that I agreed to take the course. Gaining proper study skills has impacted my life in ways that I never thought imaginable. One of the most outstanding achievements that still brings a big smile to my face is that I was able to self-study for four months and successfully challenge one year of Anatomy and Physiology. Because I accepted guidance, I passed, and received full college credits.

There is a common thread that all humanity shares: We need help! God never intended for us to function as solitary units nurturing a mindset of self-reliance. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26. God commanded Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply,” which was the first human family.

Marriage and family are two institutions created by God, so we would not be alone. God is love! He would never create the human race and abandon us, or leave us to fend for ourselves. Despite the satanic attack to destroy marriage and family, they are still standing strong as our societies’ foundations. It is up to us to embrace God’s original plan for our lives. Even if we disagree, we were created to be dependent on God and one another.

Living single for over 25 years presented many challenges that I could not resolve without guidance and help. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7. Yes, I knew that God loved me because He always answered my prayers in the time of distress. But I felt a void in my life. Even though I attended church and enjoyed an active social experience, I found myself thinking, “Why did I move back to a large city in the Northeast?” God reminded me that I left behind my relationships because of the desire to make more money. 

As a native Northeasterner, I was aware of the fast-paced, busy lifestyle, and every person for themselves mindset. I thrived off of self-reliance and total independence when I was younger. But as I matured into my late forties, I desired a closer relationship with friends and family. One evening, I presented my desire to relocate back to Upstate New York to God in prayer. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24

Within one week, I had a new job and a cozy apartment. I praised God with many hallelujahs and sang songs of thanksgiving. Turning in my two-week resignation, I sold my furniture and returned to family and friends who I shared a common bond with. What a great feeling to know that you are loved. The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Do you know who God is? God is love, and His love is unconditional. Beloved, let us love one another because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…1 John 4:7-8

Many individuals focus on the differences between human beings, which is counterproductive. Let’s change our mindset by focusing on the likenesses of one another. God created us in His image to be loved by himself and to be loved by others. All of humanity is bound together by love. God desires that our lives include love, which produces completeness, and a sense of well-being.

In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul speaks of marriage and of being single. Although he was never married or had children, the letters that the Apostle wrote to the churches are filled with love. Yes, Paul knew that God loved him, and in turn, Paul loved others. What a remarkable transformation from his former life as Saul, the killer of Christians.

Seek God for the solution to leaving behind an unfulfilled life without love. Yes, I could share many alternatives for changing a loveless and lonely situation. However, I invite you to present your circumstances to God in prayer and ask for His Divine Intervention. We desperately need the help of our Heavenly Father. Not only will you build a love relationship with God, but He will also reveal to you how to give and receive unconditional love, and direct you to fellow Believers that embrace and practice the concept of unconditional love.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 7 and 13

God, we thank you for loving us unconditionally. We ask you to teach us how to give and receive your perfect love, and to draw closer to you. Please direct us to those who believe in you and embrace unconditional love. We realize that you may lead us to change the direction of our lives, and we pray for the strength to accept your will. 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.

Dust Dwellers

When we fail to seek God through diligent study of the Bible and communicate with Him every day in prayer, the dust from sin proliferates, becoming an overwhelming storm that easily blinds our spiritual eyes. Before we realize it, the dust-storm of sin has expanded, placing us in spiritual darkness, and God’s truth no longer prevails as our guiding light. We begin to adapt to the darkness by making choices that lead us to compromise; as the dust grows thicker, we lose all visibility. Our blindness places us at a standstill, making it impossible to pass through the raging storm. 

But do not despair! God, our Master Guide has not left us to wander hopelessly through the storm!

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 an escape, so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Our Heavenly Father knows that we are Dust Dwellers. Yet, God is faithful and promises to protect and deliver us when we call on His Name.

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the Lord:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

he is my God, and I trust him.

3 For he will rescue you from every trap

and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.

He will shelter you with his wings.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:1-4

Even when the dust is thick, and we lose all visibility, we can pray for repentance and ask for help with humble hearts. It is then that the Light from God clears our eyesight and shows us a clear path, preventing us from perishing in the hazardous storms of sin. 

But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Isaiah 26:7

As we continue our life-journey as Dust-Dwellers, only God can deliver us from the storms of sin. God loves us so much, go ahead, and embrace His love by praying for strength. When we come against the temptations that Satan has devised for us to remain spiritually blind, stranded, and hopelessly wandering, God tells us, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Believe and receive God’s promises by proclaiming, “Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.” Isaiah 26:8

Bible Readings: Deuteronomy 31, Isaiah 26

God, we thank you for being our Beacon of Light. We confess and repent of the willful sins that have placed us in the overwhelming dust-storm of sin. Thank you for loving us, the dust-dwellers who become blind because of disobedience. Please continue to lead, and direct us to the clear Path of Righteousness. We ask this prayer 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 author’s written permission.

Seeking God

And he (Saul) trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Acts 9:6.

Saul’s transformation from a murderer of Believers to the Apostle Paul provides hope and evidence that God is love, and that He is full of compassion. God extends forgiveness, grace, and mercy to all including the vilest of sinners. Even so, we must establish and maintain a relationship with God before we can place Him first in our lives and seek His will. 

Who is God? Acknowledging and believing that God is our Heavenly Father who created us in His image is the first step to relationship building. Then our spiritual journey begins; we spend the rest of our lives seeking to have a deeper relationship with God. Yes, believing in God is faith, which is the foundation necessary for establishing and building a relationship with Him. But what else is required? What does it take for us to know God? We learn who God is by studying, praying, and our personal experience. 

Before the word transparency became a concept in modern society, God had fully revealed himself to humanity in the Bible that contains 66 books. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this, we know the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 Johns 4:6-7. In our quest for a strong relationship with God, we love and serve Him with our entire heart, mind, and soul. Since the Bible reveals God’s character, we commit to the daily and diligent study of His Word.

Technology cannot compete with the most effectual form of communication, and that is prayer. Prayer is our life-line! Our prayers are heard by God immediately, even when they are silent prayers. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13. Begin a love relationship with God by consistently talking to Him every day: Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18. 

King David shares his secret for having a blessed life: I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

The next step in building a relationship with God is asking the question, “God, what would you have me to do?” Submission of our will remains one of the hardest struggles that we face as Believers. Be prepared for the answer that often leads us down a separate path. God’s plans are usually different from our plans. It’s not that our plans our bad. It’s that our limited plans are developed to succeed by self-reliance and our present circumstances. 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

Giving up our desires may cause us to feel that we are making sacrifices. However, we are unaware of the present and future changes that God foresees and is protecting us from. When we love God, our commitment is to fully depend on Him during the good times and the rough times. Remember, that we can give up nothing that will compare to the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made by dying on the Calvary’s cross. It took death for the Plan of Redemption to reach completion. And Jesus’ death was for humanity! Go ahead and give up your plans that can never compare to the blessings that God will give. The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

For this is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live! Amos 5:4. Go Ahead, seek God and your life will never be the same again. The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore have I drawn thee in compassion. Jeremiah 31:3

God, we thank you for loving us unconditionally. As we seek you daily through the study of your Word, and prayer, we ask you to lead and guide us. Please reveal to us the plans that you have for our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Happy Sabbath!

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

 

True or False

When I was in nursing school, our exams had one format: 4 multiple choice questions with answers designated A, B, C, and D. We were taught that two of the responses were distractors; first, identify and eliminate the false answers. The remaining answers were closely related, almost containing the same content, but only one could be correct. Looking for specific keywords would result in an accurate answer.

An example: The nurse would teach the patient newly diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and a new prescription the following instructions to manage their illness:

A. Hypertension is a temporary condition, eat a salt-restricted diet, and you will recover
B. Hypertension requires a controlled diet, exercise, medication, and taking daily blood pressures
C. Hypertension requires weekly Dr. appointments for the first two months, drinking an adequate amount of fluids, a controlled diet, and taking daily blood pressures
D. Hypertension is a lifelong illness that can never be controlled without eating a 2000 calorie diet.

Answers A and D are the distractors, which leaves answers B and C. Although answer C contains the correct information, the physician determines the frequency of follow-up visits for their patients, eliminating answer C. The correct answer is B.

The simplified version of proving the nursing student’s ability to apply theoretical knowledge to clinical situations became much more complicated further into the program. At times it appeared to be nearly impossible to determine the truth from the false distractors.

We live in a time where misinformation and fake news have saturated our environment like a soaking wet dishcloth. We are bombarded with so many opinions, disclaimers, confessions, and newly revealed information that was previously hidden from the public that many people are unable to tell the difference between truthful facts and false, twisted information. And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. Matthew 24:4-5

Recently, I read a Devotional from a Pastor who clarified a few of the false sayings that Jesus never said, yet, we have embraced and incorporated these false teachings into our lives:

1. I will forgive you even if you do not forgive others.
2. Forgive but never forget.
3. If you have lived a life in poverty, you will automatically receive Eternal life.
4. The seventh-day Sabbath was abolished when Jesus died on the cross.
5. Only help those in need if you have saved enough money for the future.

There are many false teachings that Believers are practicing but are unable to substantiate their origin. The scriptures forewarn us to test the behaviors, customs, and concepts of this world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

The enemy (Satan) tries to wrap and twist human minds. To the one who will listen to him, he presents ideas that are odd and peculiar, which will create a sensation. Ellen G. White

The New Normal includes the widespread dissemination of false information. Even so, God has given us a reference point. What does the scripture mean “to test that you can discern the will of God?” There is no “new and improved” regarding the Word of God.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings…Hebrews 13:8-9.

Can you recall hearing something and your gut feeling told you it was not true? The gut feeling was the Holy Spirit warning you that something was wrong. When we stay close to God through prayer and diligent study of the Bible, false teachings and concepts cause conflicting feelings, which you have when something is amiss.

What are the steps that we can take to avoid the acceptance of false teachings and fake news?

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Believe that God protects us from the evil in this world. God has raised up a standard that His followers recognize, we are drawn to the truth. We have protection and guidance from the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, who leads us down the Path of Righteousness. If you hear or read concepts that sound off, take it to God in prayer, it does not matter whether it is related to health, finances, or other life choices. God will always reveal the truth before we are tricked by false doctrines and fake news when we pray and wait for His answer.

Include God in every aspect of your life! Should I change jobs, buy the new vehicle, relocate, wear a facemask, stand against oppression, believe that Jesus is coming again?

Pray for spiritual discernment and wisdom. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

It is truly a blessing to serve God. We do not have to guess whether the information is true or false. God is our Heavenly Father, who is filled with love and compassion for His children. He always reveals the answer.

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. Psalm 91:2-3

Bible Reading: Psalm 91

God, we love you and are thankful for your protection. In a world filled with blended true and false information, it is challenging for us to determine what is the absolute truth. We pray for your help as we continue to seek righteousness, and live holy and acceptable lives. 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.

 

God’s Promise: Justice for All!

As Believers, we have been given instructions and guidelines on how we are to think, act, and live. Rational and godly decisions are the foundation for a structured lifestyle. We strive to achieve and maintain orderly and organized lifestyles, practicing discipline, and self-control in every aspect of our being. Refer to the Creation story. God created the earth in sequential order: light, the atmosphere with the balance of elements necessary to sustain plant, animal, human life, etc. Read Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

When we believe that God spoke to and used human beings as vessels to write the Books of the Bible, we realize that the Bible is written for us; therefore, we strive to adhere to all of God’s principles. The commandments of God have not been abolished or changed. With one exception, animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins was abolished when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died, and arose to fulfill the Plan of Redemption. For us to have Eternal life, we must believe that Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus is our Heavenly Intercessor, and our Salvation is through Him. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25

Many are discouraged because they do not take the time to study the Bible which is the Voice of God and reveals the character of Christ. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. However, we must possess first-hand knowledge of His Word. Since the COVID-19, Believers have posted on social media that the churches should have never been closed.

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1:2

We have a responsibility to God to maintain our health, which includes protecting our bodies and enriching our minds. In searching the scriptures, we cannot biblically support exposure to a highly dangerous and infectious disease by gathering together in groups. God has not asked us to sacrifice our health to worship Him. The concern is that many do not identify themselves as the body of Christ. We are the church. Jesus Christ is coming back for people, not for the brick-and-mortar building. Worship should begin in our hearts and be practiced everyday in our homes.

Another area of conflict is the Believer’s role in seeking justice. What is our Social Responsibility? How do we seek justice?

Many organizations have been formed and fight against the prevalent social injustices. Even so, most have mission statements, goals, and use tactics that are in direct conflict with the Word of God, which prevent us from becoming active members.

God’s answers our questions on social responsibility:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Recognizing that we are servants of the Most-High God and light-bearers to a world filled with the darkness of sin and abject corruptness gives us the strength to pray and trust in God’s promises. For the love of Christ controls us,…2 Corinthians 5:14. Self-control is a Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23. Even if you choose to participate in Protest Marches or post objections on social media, God has guidelines and restrictions for seeking justice. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Are you surprised when our justice system fails?

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-4

Whether we pray, openly speak out through social media, or participate in peaceful protest marches, Believers have a responsibility to obey God’s command to seek justice for the oppressed. Continue to take action against injustice, but do it in a manner that always glorifies God. The Bible identifies the world’s condition in which we live and instructs us in how we are to think and act.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not when men prosper in their ways when they carry out wicked schemes. Psalm 37:1

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Romans 12:19

The Old Testament reflects the history of the Israelites and their oppressors. From their deliverance of enslavement to the Egyptians, we are shown continuous action by God against oppression. What did He do? God destroyed their oppressors! Do not worry when the guilty are not indicted for their heinous acts.

The one who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8 But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death. Revelation 21:7-8

Prayerfully, we are preparing to receive the reward of Eternal life. No more injustice, disease, or death. Hallelujah!!! Until then:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Bible Reading: Hebrew 12

God, we pray for the courage to speak out against injustice and oppression. Soon, all who believe in you will be persecuted for our obedience to follow you. But, even if you choose not to deliver us, we will not give up, nor will we stop serving you. We ask for the strength to continue to place all of our faith and trust in you. We look forward to the Second Coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ Worthy Name. 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.

 

Happy Endings

Many devastating events have occurred worldwide since the COVID-19 virus reached the level of a pandemic. Today let us focus on how the Coronavirus has personally impacted us. Acknowledging the hardships of life does not weaken our faith, nor does it reflect that we are ungrateful for our blessings.

Nehemiah chapter 8 tells us of the intense grief that the Israelites felt when hearing the Law of God. The acknowledgment of their sins against God caused remorse to the point that they became sorrowful and began to weep. At that point, they were feeling hopeless, that all was lost, and they had nowhere to turn. But that is when God intervened and gave instructions that renewed their faith and hope: He said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“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

Now that we have acknowledged that our spiritual journey includes adversities, what is our next step?

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; Psalm 34:17-19

Prayer is our next step! Faith in God is necessary for us to move forward despite the impact of our tribulations. After praying, we wait on the Lord, and during that time, we praise and thank God for His never-ending love, grace, and mercies. Believe in Him, and you will receive the victory!

Sing to the LORD, O you, His saints, and praise His holy name. 5 For His anger is fleeting, but His favor lasts a lifetime.” Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:4-5

King Solomon provides further instruction for the Believer’s outlook on life:

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. Ecclesiastes 5:18

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Word of God continuously provides us with proof that God cares, He provides, and that He never abandons us. God also desires that we are content, have peace, and inner joy.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Since most of our adversities impact us financially and leave us without enough money, God gives us specific instructions:

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

In July, we received notification from Social Security in Jamaica, NY, that they were withholding all of my husband’s benefits because of an overpayment. The decision to retract the existing repayment agreement came as a surprise. Since 2019, we have adhered to the agreed upon repayment schedule with automatic deductions. The letter was filled with intimidating misinformation ending with the determination to cease all benefits until April of 2021.

Last year my husband had two complete bathroom remodeling contracts, which sustained us until July of this year. Since April, my husband has not received any further remodeling contracts, which caused us to live off the last of our savings. We prayed, asked God for the knowledge to file an appeal, and trusted in God for provisions.

Like the widow who had one last portion to make bread for her and her son, knowing that they would die of starvation, God intervened. Read 1 Kings 17:7-16. We prayed, asked God for the knowledge to file an appeal, and trusted in God for daily provisions.

And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. John 14:13-14

God is great! God is awesome! We had family and friends that not only helped us financially; they began to pray for our situation. Are you ready for the impossible to become possible? Then pray and believe! God knows our circumstances, but He is waiting for us to approach Him with humble hearts, ask, believe, and wait for Him to unleash His power.

Now for the rest of the story, we filed a 45-page Appeal, waited, and thanked God for His Divine Intervention. Our miracle: Not only was part of the overpayment waived, but the monthly repayment amount was also reduced by 50%, and my husband’s benefits will be reinstated next month in October.

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you, and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

I share this testimony because we experienced a life-changing event that left us as babies who are fully dependent on their parents or caregivers. Having nothing is where God needed to take us so that we would give up all self-reliance and faithfully depend on Him for our needs.

Yes, COVID-19 has impacted our income, but it has not affected the love, grace, mercies, or power of our Heavenly Father. God has proven that He never, ever fails on His promises.

All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 2 Corinthians 4:15

The life of a Believer will always include suffering; even so, we are not alone. Never give up. Our situation placed us at the crossroads; would we faithfully rely and wait on God, or would our self-reliance continue? God brought us to our knees, which is how we should walk through life. Through Divine Intervention, He provided and gave glory and honor to Himself, which He rightfully deserves. We were blessed with a happy ending.

Do not give up! God loves you! Believe in our Jehovah Jireh-our Provider. He has planned an even happier ending. Jesus is coming soon!

36 You need to persevere so that after you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:36-37

Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17:7-16

God, we praise your Holy Name. We are thankful for the gifts of your love, grace, and mercies. We pray that you will provide for the deficits that we are experiencing. Please help us to believe in you, and to live a faith-based life. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask 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.

Kindness and Compassion

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Yesterday, I read the following post on Nextdoor:

With all the uncertainty and madness that is going on, let’s show one another some genuine kindness, compassion, consideration, and forgiveness. We all have a Cross to bear, so to speak…it’s good to be mindful of that. No matter allow yourself to be kind…

In the Devotional, A Radical Change, several crises were mentioned, “Globally, we are experiencing a bundle of crises; health, economic, social, political, and natural disasters.” Even so, there is a more significant crisis, the lack of kindness and compassion for each other. The pursuit of tangible things and stuff has redirected our focus from helping humanity to obtaining objects that can easily be swept away and destroyed.

When did this transition happen? When did we stop caring for each other? It was not an immediate change. Unfortunately, the disregard for others has evolved throughout the decades. In fact, some individuals have never witnessed communities binding together to help each other outside of the 9/11 tragedy or natural disasters. Nor have they actively participated in alleviating others’ suffering by extending a smile, a kind word, or even saying “good morning.”

We have focused on our desires for so long that we have lost our sense of purpose: To Serve God and to Serve Others.

Our perception and lifestyles have contributed to the disregard and the desire for godly character traits. We are too busy and have too many responsibilities to extend ourselves outside of ourselves. As a result, we live on the emotional edge that promotes the concepts of “taking care of me/and my family,” and “every one else for themselves.”

The reality of who we have become is so harsh that it sounds unbelievable. Can you name ten individuals that you know personally that could be described as kind and compassionate? Would you be able to include yourself in the list? 

Of all the needful things that we seek after, a godly character should be first and foremost. It is a daily struggle to change into a Man or Woman of God.

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. romans 7:15-20

The Apostle Paul identified his shortcoming of doing what he knew was wrong, and desiring to do what is right, but often failed. Transformation is possible; yet, there is stringent criteria for possessing godly character traits, it is “All or Nothing.” We cannot base “Fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22,23) on performing good deeds or random acts of kindness. We often console ourselves by saying, “But I do care for others, what more can I do?” We can begin by performing an honest self-evaluation.

What is our love relationship like with God? It takes 100% genuine love for God to be filled with the Holy Spirit that produces His character traits. Think about it, God is directing us to possess the kindness and compassion that He has. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

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! Galatians 5:22,23

First, we must admit that we do not have the “fruits” that God requires. Then, we pray a prayer of confession and repentance, asking God to transform the hardness and indifference that we feel toward others by filling us with His unconditional love. When we ask God for change, it is the tests and trials that we must endure to produce the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

I will be the first to admit that I require a radical change. If we love God, then we obey His precepts. It is only then that we can: Live a purpose-driven life! Love God! Love Others! Love Yourself! in that order.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victorious Outcomes.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5, Philippians 4

God, we ask forgiveness of the sins of just not caring about others. It is our desire to change and to possess the character that reflects your character. Please show us how to become more like you, and how to serve you. thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask 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 author’s written permission.