WIP- With Intent & Purpose

In the yarn circle, WIP is the acronym for a Work in Progress. In fact, the average number of WIP’s is always 3-4 projects waiting for completion. We buy yarn for no other purpose than to store it for future use. Due to the loss of employment and income, many “yarners” have reached a point where they never thought possible and have depleted their yarn stash. Inevitably someone feels courageous and reaches out to the other members of our group to post their dilemma, asking for yarn donations. That one post initiates a domino effect with a minimum of 100 to 200 responses, revealing many who are in the same predicament.

Members of the yarn community are aware that it is risky to ask for yarn donations. We do not share our yarn! When it rains, it pours, and the responses to the post for help can easily reach 500-600 answers. The typical responses are usually minimal, one to two words; “Wow!” or “That’s too bad.” There are many suggestions to find cheaper options for purchasing yarn, search the Marketplace for yarn sellers, use your coffee money, sell unwanted items, etc. But the #1 suggestion that most agreed with was from a veteran yarner. She recommended they use their WIPs that have been unfinished for months and FROG them. In this sense, “to FROG” means “to take out stitches.” Hence, the solution is to utilize the yarn that you already have.

Although this is a light-hearted story of desiring crafting materials, many individuals struggle financially and are unable to purchase essential items. During this pandemic, there is a great divide and separation of those who have and those who need help. Community churches and food banks are overwhelmed by the long lines of individuals without the basic needs of food, water, and toiletries. The reality is that most of us have an over-abundance of resources. But many have the “I” concept that consists of focusing on self. How did we reach this point?

When we love God, we live ‘With the Intent and Purpose” to share our resources. We do not ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Our intent and purpose of emulating Christ who lived to help others happens naturally and becomes our mission. Having values built on the “We” concept enables us to share our over-abundance and keeps us from adopting the unbeliever’s attitude of “every person for themselves.” A heart filled with the love of God is forever concerned with giving to those in need.

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there, the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21

In reading the Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us the life story of Jesus Christ and his compassion for others. Four individuals are in agreement that Jesus lived with the intent and purpose to alleviate the burdens of others. What has caused us to deviate and disregard Christ’s example? It is not our duty to share tips on how to become financially savvy or to advise others to sell their unneeded items, Jesus left the example and the mindset we must possess if we say we love God. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17

The miraculous blessing of Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand is in Matthew 14:13-21. Even His disciples required a wake-up call because they also possessed the selfish spirit of the “I” concept. It is hard to imagine that the men called and anointed to help those in need, to heal the sick, and preach the plan of Salvation possessed hard-hearts. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Matthew 14:15

Jesus was fully aware of the self-centeredness that infiltrated His disciple’s hearts. His directive reminded them of their responsibility to provide. Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat!” Matthew 14:16. But wait! Along with the big reveal of selfishness, the disciples also exposed their spiritual state of faithlessness, “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. Matthew 14:17

Many of us are in the same predicament, we have relied on our abilities for so long that we have forgotten who God is. We place limitations on ourselves and our Heavenly Father because self-reliance nurtures self-centeredness and destroys our faith in God. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” Matthew 6:24

Yes, Jesus’ primary purpose was to die for the redemption of humanity; even so, the Son of God feeding the 5,000 plus multitude sets the godly standard for using our financial resources. If we say, “But God, I only have…” then we are not living faithfully or obediently, and our values are in stark contrast with those found in the Word of God. “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:31-33

We must never forget that God blesses us with New Mercies and always gives us His Amazing Grace every day. Pray for guidance and direction to “Bless Somebody Else.” During this pandemic, reach out to your family and friends to find out if they need assistance. Then contact your community churches and non-profit organizations to donate financially or volunteer to assist with their Outreach programs. Help is desperately needed in all areas without the need to have person-to-person contact.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? …Matthew 25:34-40.

Our goal is to hear, “Well done!” A loving heart is always full of care and compassion for others. Lighten someone else’s burden by sharing your resources, and you can live every day “With Intent and Purpose.”

Bible Readings: Matthew 6, 14, and 25

© 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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Disable the Distractions!

Yesterday, I researched to find out why my tablet had slowed down. Although there were several possible reasons and troubleshooting techniques, the one reason that stood out is the pre-installed apps that automatically run and receive updates. To my surprise, the pre-installed apps, known as bloatware, cannot be deleted, but they can be disabled, or the device can be rooted. After reading the pros and cons of rooting, I decided to take the safest option, which is to disable the bloatware and clean the cache.

Considering that I did not get my first computer until 2007, I have come a long way. Because I am still on a learning curve with solving techy problems, I had to swim through a sea of information, use common sense, and say a prayer before taking action. Learning to fix an issue that caused much frustration (I was angry with my WiFi provider) taught me not to assume and to broaden my perspective by acquiring new knowledge.

We possess the ability to seek knowledge and learn new concepts that can significantly change the quality of our lives. It is not a complicated process to achieve personal growth; obtaining new knowledge is easily accomplished and empowers us to see beyond our boundaries. If learning beyond what we have experienced and acquired academically is so easy, then why are we resistant?

We are pre-loaded with mental and emotional bloatware that varies based on our life experience. Exposure to a negative environment results in a struggle that is harder than someone who was nurtured and received a positive reinforcement to accomplish their goals. Still, we can rise above our prior experiences. “You do not have to end up where you began!” The growth and development of becoming a better person are only possible with continuous learning.

To initiate the new and improved person, we need the bundle package of Desire, Motivation, Perseverance, Planning, and the strength to Overcome–Internal elements that fight the External factors that lead to Failure.

Desire means having a wish to get something. Motivation means that which inspires us to achieve the goal, which can lead our life better. … A desire can lead to doing something we need, but motivation is the final thing that can put on the place where we wanted to come when we desire to reach there. philosophy.stackexchange.com Jul 24, 2013

The spark of desire must be within to change your current status. However, having a desire is not enough. Yes, desire is a catalyst for change, but wishing for something falls short if it is not fueled by motivation and perseverance. “Motivation is a force that compels you to do something. In other words, it is the reason why you act.”

Before setting goals for growth and development, we should identify the external factors that present opposition to our plans. We live in tumultuous times full of chaos, disunity, sickness, disease, fear, carelessness, anger, etc. Nevertheless, we can take the necessary steps to use our internal mechanisms of willful determination to propel us forward.

Setting goals is the next step to improving your life. The goals must be realistic and achievable on a short-term or long-term basis and result in a positive outcome. Once you are motivated and determined to seek new knowledge, then the roller-coaster ride begins. Anticipating that we will face obstacles is not the same as possessing a negative outlook. The awareness that things will go awry even when skillfully planned provides us with the strength and ability to adapt, resolve, and overcome.

And that resilience gives us another viable character trait, perseverance!

Perseverance is the internal strength that keeps us focused and gives us the drive to challenge the obstacles and keep moving in the right direction. When faced with the obstacle, identify the problem either as one that you can resolve or one that you have no control over. Rational thinking and patience are the tools required to address the presenting challenges. Remember, we have to utilize time and effort to eliminate the distractions. Most likely, we can resolve the issues, but there are no guarantees. Taking the time to re-evaluate and modify our existing plans ensures that we stay on the path to achieve success.

Some may think, setting goals, re-evaluating, and fighting obstacles is easier said than done, and I agree wholeheartedly. And for that reason, I prefer additional help with overcoming and disabling life’s distractions. Although my internal strengths include motivation and perseverance, self-reliance was a distraction that weakened my character and prevented me from reaching my goals. Yes, I am still responsible for doing my part in the pursuit of knowledge and making a conscientious effort to improve my quality of life. But I learned to tap into the power from a higher source, God.

Even when my plans appear perfect, I still become sidetracked from the obstacles and cannot move forward. Including God in my life has changed my perception, broadened my perspective, and narrowed my pursuits. Through prayer and the process of elimination, God has enabled me to prioritize my goals. Because I was born sinful and shaped by iniquity, I cannot delete the sinful bloatware that continues to resurface.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God, everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26

It is only through God that my mental and emotional bloatware can be deleted. My part is to disable the unnecessary distractions that prevent me from seeking spiritual knowledge and praying for wisdom. The great news is that God will perform the rooting process when we commit to serving Him. He is just a prayer away. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Mathew 6:6

Verse for today: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

God, we ask you to provide us with the strength to disable the distractions that prevent us from growing closer to you. We desire spiritual growth as we study your Word and communicate with you through prayer. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, 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.

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The Gift

I am sharing this cute video which shows a baby waking up and happy to see her Father. Are we embracing each new day as a wonderful gift that is wrapped with God’s grace and mercies?

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Psalm 96:1

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your loving-kindness, and the mercies of a new day. Please forgive us for our sins and place a hedge of protection around us and our families during this pandemic. Thank you for giving your Son, Jesus that we may have Eternal life if we so choose. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

The Game of Chance

“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

Within six months, we have witnessed an airborne pathogen wreak havoc on our world; yet, many continue to rebel against sound reasoning and continue to play the Game of Chance. Historically, there have been many players in this game; Adam and Eve, the Israelites who were delivered from enslavement, the people who watched Noah build the ark for 120 years, the sons of Eli, the priest, and King Nebuchadnezzar to name a few. The most recent tragedy occurred in North Texas to a family of 18 who gathered in their home for a birthday celebration, which resulted in 18 cases of the Coronavirus. Because of disregard for a deadly disease, their elderly grandfather is hospitalized as his weakened Immune system attempts to fight the superpowers of the COVID-19 virus. 

While the numbers of Coronavirus escalate, many individuals are still focusing on pleasure-seeking activities and saving the economy. So far, many have beaten the odds, which reinforces their current mindset of “look at me, I am doing as I please, and I am not sick.” Engaging in high-risk behaviors without suffering little to no consequences provides a sense of power. The individual’s perception becomes twisted as they begin to view themselves as one that possesses god-like qualities. Taking risks is based on emotional responses and produces self-reliance, a change in one’s morals and values, and gives a false sense of security.

Living as we desire without the thoughts of devastating outcomes reinforces the sin of pride and arrogance. A proud heart is blind and never sees the possibility of suffering negative consequences. Before we can say what we would never do, remember that each Game of Chance only has one player. The Game is based on disobedience and the desires of our hearts. Misaligned habits reveal our innermost yearnings and are used to construct the Game of Chance which is built on deception.

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9. Eve had the desire to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil before her encounter with Satan; the Israelites disobeyed by participating in pagan rituals while enslaved; the people watched Noah and laughed at the concept of rain, and the priest Eli overlooked his son’s diabolical habits by never administering discipline. King Nebuchadnezzar was so defiant that he built a selfie golden statue as an object of worship to demand that his subordinates defy God’s command not to worship idols. 

If you are playing the Game of Chance, there is an escape route leading to complete deliverance. Hosea 4:6 reveals the basis for our disobedience. God says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Every sin that we commit brings consequences! Yes, there are times when God spares us from the full impact of our sinfulness; even so, sin separates us from God. Sin entices and numbs us until we lose all awareness of God’s commands.

It is not a struggle to sin. The fight is the daily battle to choose good over evil, and right over wrong. We require God to overcome the sinful nature that interferes with the diligent study of the Bible, to pray without ceasing, and to live faithfully always seeking God’s will for our lives. Each of us can make the decision to refuse to be a player in the lose-lose game created by Satan. We cannot accomplish this feat on our own. The Bible is the source of knowledge that replaces our wayward thoughts by encouraging us to stop thinking and doing as we please and to follow God.  

Study the Book of Proverbs, which reveals every trait exposes every sinful action and warns of the consequences when we refuse to seek knowledge and pray for wisdom. Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2. 

Recently, we listened to the testimony of a young man whose father taught him the illegal drug activity that he engaged in for most of his adult life. Although he made numerous attempts to change and failed, God sent a messenger who told him that change was possible if he prayed and studied the Word of God every day. He revealed that it took six times of reading the entire Bible for his spiritual transformation to happen.

We have a loving God who is waiting to give us Eternal life in a New Heaven and New Earth–Revelation 21-22. It is a simple act to confess and repent of our sins. Acceptance of Jesus Christ places us in a win-win situation. When we read God’s Word and pray for guidance, we replace former thoughts with sound knowledge. The Holy Spirit reveals the understanding of the Scriptures by opening our spiritual eyes and giving us the discernment to recognize truth over error and right versus wrong. 

Time is winding down, and we are living in the last days of Earth’s history. Walk away from the Game of Chance and into God’s loving arms. He has promised to take care of us when we are determined to live by faith, obedience, and place our complete trust in Him.

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: John 14

God, we thank you for your love, grace, and mercies. Please forgive us for our sins of pride and self-reliance. It is our desire to place our lives in your hands. We pray for the peace of mind that only you can provide. We ask for wisdom and spiritual discernment as we seek knowledge. Please lead us and give us strength in our journey. We ask these things in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

Stay Aware and Stay Safe by practicing Social Distancing!

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

Proverbs 16-9 _ O Lord my God, I humbly come…