Why would you?

Yesterday a challenge question was posed to the online crocheting group that I am a member of: Why would you spend $92 on crafting supplies when the ready-made item cost $7? The question stumped a lot of individuals who agreed: yes, why am I spending money to crochet? My answer was: Because it’s made with my hands…and having that talent is priceless. It was disappointing to read the responses of those who did not realize it is a gift to be able to take yarn and a hook and create beautiful handcrafted items.

Each of us is born with a spiritual connection to God; eventually, we realize that there has to be a higher power and source outside of ourselves. When we fail to establish a meaningful relationship with God, our lives reflect an overall state of discontent. Without God, a permanent void exists, and we seek to fill that emptiness with people, places, and things.

If you were asked, “Why would I serve God?” how would you respond to the person? It may be disconcerting to be confronted with such a fiery question; yet, in order to effectively witness, we must be prepared for the most challenging questions. Remember, it is not our mission to convince others that serving God is a necessity; something has already happened that has prompted them to seek knowledge about God.

The origin of the human life-the story of Creation is an excellent beginning (no pun intended) when witnessing. The story of Creation is not commonplace knowledge nor does it share the popularity of the Evolution theory. In fact, the evolution theory pervades our society and is reinforced by educational institutions, the media, and television programs. Therefore, the person you are witnessing to may be unaware that God lovingly created Adam and Eve with his hands and breathed life into their bodies.

You may face resistance when you share the story of Creation; do not be concerned, provide a biblical reference, and allow the Holy Spirit to take over. Remain prayerful and thank God for the opportunity to witness. Remember that you are sharing one of the greatest stories of how life began-the gift of being fearfully and wonderfully made by God’s own hands and that in itself provides an open door for the individual to develop a personal relationship with God.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for creating us in your image. Help us to never forget that it is you who breathes life into us, it is you who sustains us, and it is you who loves us with an everlasting love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Refreshing the Mind and Body

If you have a 9-5 schedule then you have made it through the busiest part of the day. However, you may challenge that statement if you are a working mom; even so, you can congratulate yourself on completing Phase 1 of your day–the responsibilities that you are compensated for.

As women, we fulfill many roles to meet the high expectations or demands that are placed on us without fail. And yes, it is taken for granted that we are superwomen; but we are often functioning with our last ounce of energy.

Always incorporate some “Me” time on a daily basis; undisturbed moments of simple pleasures that make you smile. Balancing the many duties of life is required for our mind-body relationship to be in sync and to remain in optimal health.

Designate at least 30 minutes for an activity or inactivity that makes you feel as if you drank from a refreshing spring on a hot summer day.

Have a blessed and peaceful evening.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Perfect Solutions

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 ESV

Do you believe that God always answers our prayers? Do you believe that God knows everything about your situation? Do you believe that He is a loving and caring Heavenly Father?

When the Israelites were taken into captivity (slavery) by King Nebuchadnezzar, God instructed the prophet Jeremiah to write and send a letter to the Israelites.

The letter contained instructions on how the Israelites were to live: Build houses; plant gardens; get married; have many children, and continue to do good things. Although the Israelites were in captivity, God expected them to move forward and live a normal life.

When we are faced with trials, God’s expectations are for us to maintain our normal activities. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into depression or despondency and do nothing. We must continue to work, take care of ourselves by eating healthy and taking nature walks, maintain a peaceful and happy home, love and nurture our families, attend church, participate in recreational activities; but, most importantly we must continue to pray and believe along with studying the Word of God.

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me, and when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will let you find me.” This message is from the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14 ERV

God desires for us to do our part by remaining faithful; it is not an impossible task for us to believe in his power. If God said it, then he will do it.

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Reflect on being held in captivity; yet, God still making provisions to live a normal life, and giving His promise for a brighter future.

We are spiritual Israel! Our present lives include social and political injustices, the threat of losing or never having religious liberty, unemployment, death, and other hardships. These conditions may be present throughout our lifetime; however, God is always with us and we have His promise for a brighter future: Eternal life.

Do you believe that God will keep His promises? Oh yes, He can never fail or go back on His word, just keep looking to our heavenly Father because He doeth all things well.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We believe that you will continue to take care of us, no matter our present circumstances. Please help us to remain faithful and encouraged because you love us and you will always do what you said you will do. We believe. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Extending Mercy

Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 HCSB

I watched a very interesting program on the Hope Channel that dealt with extending mercy to one another. It was an eye opener to hear the pastor speak of the grudges, unforgiveness, and the inability to overlook wrong doings that believers hold onto against each other; the inability to extend mercy even prevails in families, including parents, children, and spouses.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “I will forgive, but I’ll never forget?” The concept of never forgetting constitutes hatred. According to God, there are no gray areas between love and hate. We are commanded to love, in spite of what is done, or said to us.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27 ESV

What does the Bible say about forgiveness?

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Mark 11:25

In order for us to practice extending mercy, we must have a strong knowledge base of the Bible, a deep relationship with God, and a powerful prayer life. When we stay close to God, we realize that we require God’s love and mercies, because we commit sins against God and trespasses against each other on a daily basis.

As we prepare for the Sabbath, let us perform a spiritual self-evaluation. What are the characteristics and habits that cause us to fall into sin and prevent us from extending mercy? When we keep our focus on God, the Holy Spirit will reveal our inconsistencies and like David, we will pray:

Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right Spirit within Me. Psalm 51:10

Prayer for today: Dear God, I ask forgiveness for committing to memory the wrongdoings of others. It is me who is standing in the need of your mercy everyday of my life. I ask you to cleanse me from all unrighteousness and to fill me with your Holy Spirit. It is my desire to possess a tender heart that readily forgives and forgets. Thank you for your love and your new mercies that you grant to me every day. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Healthy Bites: Making Improvements

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Within the past year, I have made many important lifestyle changes that positively impacted the treatment plan for the management of my two medical diagnoses: High Blood Pressure and Diabetes Type 2. From making healthy food choices, I have a normal cholesterol level and a normal blood sugar level. However, I am still at risk for heart disease because of my health history which includes obesity.

Recently I was told that the results of my Cardiac Stress test were abnormal which did not come as a surprise. I was aware that something was awry when I experienced chest pain which resulted in an emergency room visit and inpatient admission to the hospital. Although I did not have a heart attack, and my lipid test indicated that my cholesterol has dropped 22 points, my coronary arteries contain plaque (cholesterol is a component) from the years that I consumed a high calorie, high fat, and high sugar diet.

At some point, we are certain to reach a crossroads regarding our health where we are forced to take small steps or giant leaps toward achieving wellness.

And yes, there are times when we feel that making those steps to improve the quality of our lives is too difficult. However, we will have to face the consequences of not making the best choices in our past, and our health will decline as a result of letting our desires dictate what we eat and creating a sedentary lifestyle.

“Risk factors or conditions that increase your risk of developing a disease. Risk factors are either modifiable, meaning you can take measures to change them, or non-modifiable, which means they cannot be changed.”

Modifiable factors:

Are you dealing with a high level of stress on a daily basis? What type of foods do you eat on a daily basis? Do you exercise 20-30 minutes daily?

Non-Modifiable factors:

We are unable to change our Family history; Age; Gender; and Ethnicity.

In the previous blog entitled, “Healthy Bites,” I identified the lifestyle changes that I needed to make, in order to achieve an optimal level of health. The chest pain that I experienced this week brought with it the reality for immediate change. I have the proof from test results that the modifiable changes in which I have control over, must occur immediately!

I have created a tracking system by keeping a daily food intake and exercise journal. In addition, I am praying for the strength to commit to taking care of my “fearfully and wonderfully made” body.

It is a choice to take care of our bodies, and serving God includes obeying his perfect plan for eating nutrients that promote health and strengthening our muscles by exercising on a daily basis. Making the decision to eat right and get our bodies moving through exercise will bring positive results.

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

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask you for the strength as we commit to eating healthy foods and exercising our bodies. We strive to be obedient to your plan for us to have spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health as indicated in your Holy Word. We admit that you know what is best for our lives. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/understanding_your_risk_for_heart_disease/

Healthy Bites

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the Earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29

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

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the color green?

As a Vegan, I think of all of the healthy dark leafy-green veggies that fill half of my plate once a day: Spinach, kale, and collards are at the top of my favorites list. A plant-based diet is definitely not limited to recognizable veggies or salads. There is an unlimited number of mouthwatering recipes that will satisfy the most discriminating palate and provide the required nutrients for a healthy mind and body.

Although I have maintained a 40 lb weight loss for over a year, I am ready to shed more pounds to decrease my BMI-Body Mass Index. So, I started researching to determine what additional changes would be required to modify my lifestyle again? The tips listed are based on changes according to my personal habits.

1. Develop and utilize a daily meal planner…if it’s not on the menu then don’t eat it. Reduce your portion sizes–eat off a saucer instead of a plate.

2. Give up the chewing gum and hard candy habits–stresses the digestive system by keeping it hyperactive.

3. Increase veggie intake to 3-5 cups daily.

4. Reduce carb intake to once daily, preferably before 6 pm.

5. Start walking or swimming at least 3 times per week.

6. Enjoy the summer fruits by making popsicles, and freeze organic grapes–they taste like bites of sorbet.

Our bodies respond well to the tender loving care of feeding them with foods packed with powerful nutrients.

Take a moment to determine the lifestyle changes that are required for you to achieve a healthier mind and body.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Our bodies are not our own–they belong to you. Help us to remember that we were created in your image, and it is our responsibility to care for ourselves by choosing healthy and nutritional foods. We ask you to give us the strength and discipline to make the necessary changes to achieve an optimal level of wellness and health. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019