If I Could

I wish I had wings like a dove, so I could fly far away and be at peace. I would go and live in some distant desert. I would quickly find shelter from howling winds and raging storms. Psalm 55:6-8 CEV

God has enabled us with our five senses and the “Fight or Flight” response to avoid a dangerous situation. The instinct of fear becomes apparent in babies at the ages of 7-10 months where they react by crying or refusing to interact with strangers-unfamiliar adults. As we advance in our lives, we usually base our fears on learned behaviors as opposed to actual experience–which can be unfounded–and lead to phobias, and biases toward others.

Although we are equipped to avoid most physical threats leading to harm, we are unable to avoid the events that hurt us emotionally. Separation from death, divorce, loss of family ties and friendships have a profound impact on us. We experience so much hurt and distress in our lives that we may feel like King David expressed, “I wish I could fly away and be at peace.”

During his reign, David was surrounded by enemies which resulted in separation and isolation from others. In Psalm 55, the betrayal came from his closest friend in whom he trusted the most (v. 13).

My friend turned against me and broke his promise. His words were smoother than butter and softer than olive oil. But hatred filled his heart, and he was ready to attack with a sword. Psalm 55:20-21 CEV

It is apparent that David had a loving and compassionate heart; remember he was a shepherd who cared for and protected his flock of sheep.

We are born with and have been gifted with the ability to love God, ourselves, and others. We were lovingly, fearfully, and wonderfully created in the image of God, which makes it evident that God is LOVE.

It is not possible for us to avoid emotional pain; suffering is part of the plan of salvation. No one is spared, not even Jesus who is God’s only begotten Son. Jesus experienced betrayal from Judas his disciple, He suffered, bled, and died on a cross which was utilized for the vilest of criminals; yet we can still possess hope, and peace that God knows, He cares, and He will take care of us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26 NLT

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 BSB

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-4

For the Lord, himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Believers who have died will rise from their graves. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 NLT

Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the Tree of Life. Revelation 22:14 NLT

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon! Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 NLT

Always believe that we have a Heavenly Father, who has made the precious promise that He has a wonderful reward for those that suffer in His name: Eternal life!

Prayer for today: Dear God, Life is full of many hurts and we easily forget your promises when we are drowning in our earthly sorrows. Please help us to turn our eyes from the things of this earth and remember that you love us with an everlasting love. Through our tears may we continue to believe and receive your comfort as only you can provide. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Say No to Instant Gratification

Financial Stewardship

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

Have you ever felt pressured into making an immediate decision? Most of us have been presented with “good deals” that end in a few hours or within 24 hours, and if we do not want to miss out, we must take action now.

Recently, I received a notice that the promotional price on my cable-internet bundle package was ending in 30 days. Immediately I questioned the validity of the notification; 12 months ago, I recall receiving the letter from the cable provider that for a 24 month period they would offer the lowest prices plus a gift card if I committed to the terms of the contract. After reviewing the hard copy contract, I realized that I agreed to pay regular prices after a year; however, I was still legally obligated for another 12 months to keep the services or pay an early termination fee.

The first action was to reflect: What were the factors that influenced me to agree to this good deal?

Dissatisfaction with the previous cable provider along with a promotional price for two services that were less than what I was currently paying for one service easily enabled me to make an immediate decision. In addition, I did not explore the options of good deals from other cable providers. I received a promotional via mail and from the convenience of simply dialing a number, I signed up for the opportunity to enjoy a competitively priced package–which expired within 24 hours–insufficient time to read the small print.

There are very few circumstances that require an immediate answer, and most that involve our finances do not!

  1. Always pray for guidance-if it is meant for you then God will not withhold your blessings.
  2. Take the time to research all aspects of new opportunities or better options-all that glitters is not gold.
  3. Learn to say “No, thank you.”
  4. Calculate all monthly payments from an annual perspective; an extra $40 per month adds up to $480 per year with the possibility of additional interest or other charges.

Remember that instant gratification subtracts from your financial resources, and usually results in negative outcomes.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We seek knowledge and ask for wisdom that our decisions will be based on our needs and not our desires. We ask you to help us to break the cycle of inappropriate spending habits. We ask you to help us to listen and when you say not now to be obedient. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Thirsting for God

Oh God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NLT

Recently we traveled from Texas to New Mexico; riding hundreds of miles through the unpopulated, and arid desert. The only movement was an occasional tumbleweed that would briskly roll across the road or the blinding sandstorm that we watched from afar. And yes, I quickly prayed away the thought of having car problems in such an environment.

Although one would expect minimal signs of plant life, there are various types of plants and small trees in the parched desert of New Mexico. It is their structure that enables them to remain alive. The vegetation is short with thick trunks and branches which allows for the growth of deep and expansive roots that are sustained from the earth’s reservoir of water beneath the surface.

Spiritually, our life is comparable to living in the desert. Every day we face problems that either impact us, our family or close friends. How we choose to resolve those issues will either result in our faith dwindling away or flourishing with new growth.

When we fail to have a close relationship with God, we begin to dry up and wither. Instead of possessing the deep roots that keep us steadfast and connected to the well of living water, we become as the tumbleweed that is guided by the wind, rolling to unknown destinations.

God created us with the thirst for His water; even so, it is a free-will decision to drink from His well.

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

Remember that God has provided for our every need; His resources are abundant and He has promised to sustain us through every trial and tribulation.

Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.” John 4:10 GNT

Read: John 4:1-42

Prayer for today: Dear God, Our souls thirst for your living water. We have tried to live without you and have become tumbleweeds without purpose. Please forgive us for our attitudes of self-sufficiency. We are parched and now we are ready to accept your gift by drinking from your well of living water. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

An Abundant Life

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

If I only had the opportunity to share one life-changer, it would be to always pray. When we establish an ongoing relationship with God through prayer, we come to fully know who God is, and we are fortified with strength from His power.

When you desire change regarding a seemingly impossible situation; then you must pray, thank God for his divine intervention, wait, and exercise faith in knowing that He will work it out according to His will.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We strive for change; change from our past behaviors of neglecting our relationship with you. It is a privilege to be able to speak with you any moment of the day or night. “Who is man that you are mindful of him?” We say, “thank you” for your love, your mercy, and your grace. As we move forward in our commitment to serve you, help us to become as little children who are totally dependent. We place our lives in your hands. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz