Romans 12

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

We often think of ourselves as embracing diversity based on obvious characteristics; ethnicity, religious beliefs, culture, etc. However, are you really able to love those who express different opinions or subscribe to alternate morals or value systems? What about the individuals whose life experience surpasses your own? All of these scenarios invite the opportunity for conflict due to the opposition to our own beliefs.

Romans 12: 9-21 presents God’s instructions for embracing diversity. “Don’t just pretend to love others…”

Dear God, I am guilty of pretense. I have not embraced diversity according to your standards. I confess my sins and ask forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

God’s Original Plan

Have you ever looked at a beautiful picture which relects nature and wished you could live there?

When God created the earth, He did not intend for us to live in a cramped city environment. Our bodies were created to be in motion, and consume a plant based diet. Because we have not followed His plan, we suffer with many diseases of the mind and body.

When is the last time you heard the birds sing or enjoy a refreshing gentle breeze? When have your children or grandchildren been able to run on grass, pick flowers, or enjoy a camping trip?

It’s never too late for change. Many questions may come to your mind mostly involving finances. If pure country living is part of God’s original plan, won’t He provide for you to make the transition? I am praying for Divine Intervention for all of us. I prefer the melodious singing of birds as opposed to the sound of screeching police sirens.

Dear God, please give us the desire to live as you intended for us to live. Amen

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

All the Wrong Choices

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT

The Epistle of John includes recognition of the importance of good health: “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers. 3 John 1:2

As I reflected on my historical battle with food, my dilemma began in childhood. The maternal side of my genealogy included an acquired taste for fried foods, gravies, unclean meats, and rich desserts. As a result, our family history includes Heart disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, and Kidney problems. The majority of our family has one of the previously mentioned diagnoses, and is carrying the above recommended weight, even including a morbid obesity status.

The struggle is real. However, God promises us that He will provide a way out of temptation. Yesterday, I was invited to dine at Olive Garden. Although, this would never be my personal restaurant of choice; I acquiesced to please one of our elderly church Mothers. When I looked at the menu, my brain initiated the “get that food right now” process. My mouth watered as I looked at the enticing pictures of pastas ( heavily laden) with creamy sauces and mountains of cheese. Then God provided my way out. I began to look at the high calorie counts which included a high sodium and fat content(not listed on their menu-already prepared foods are high in fat and sodium) which would use up my weekly allocation. I ordered a vegetable flatbread which included unlimited salad. I strategized by heaping a large portion of salad on my plate and allowed myself only one of the scrumptious breadsticks. My downfall was the after dinner chocolate mints which I ate and enjoyed.

I am not fooling myself nor am I placing myself in a self-righteous mindset. My victory from making poor food choices is a daily struggle. I pray constantly to overcome the demon of appetite. However, I believe that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. The journey to optimal health continues, but, it requires active and willful participation.

The benefits that I have received from sacrificing:

1. 40 lb weight loss

2. Energy to maintain an active lifestyle.

3. Change in my outlook on life: no more negativity.

4. Most importantly, I have the desire to study God’s Word, and pray for guidance before making any decision.

When I do what is expected, God will lead me to the path of victory. I am grateful that He will never fail.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz