The Gift of Diversity

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” John 4:9

The Autumn season is filled with an array of breath-taking colors as the earth prepares itself for rest. The cycles of rest and rejuvenation through the wintry season enable the Spring to bring forth bursting buds of new growth. We could not imagine a world with a monochromatic color scheme of only green grass, green trees, green flowers, etc. God’s vision of diversity is as we view it every day: Unlimited varieties of flowers; fruit or flower bearing trees; animals, insects, fish, and the list goes on and on. Many of us belong to nature groups, select vacation spots, and have hobbies based on the “fruit of the earth.” We embrace and readily accept the beauty of God’s diverse creation with one exception; we do not accept the diversity of human life.

How is it that we disregard the beauty of the many ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities which are all created by God?

Jesus also faced hatred from the many biases in His society. In spite of the prevalence of prejudices based on religious beliefs, socioeconomic status or nationalities, the Bible records Jesus’ many interactions with individuals from various backgrounds.

Until the last decade, nursing exams consisted of questions that were only multiple choice; there was only one right answer. Presently, the upgraded formats also include: Select all that apply, fill in the missing information, graphs and pictures, choose the exception, and narratives. The variations in testing were necessary to determine if the graduate nurse possessed the knowledge and judgment to render care in diverse situations.

Change is successful when it produces personal growth and positive outcomes. We cannot follow the racial divide based on the decisions of others. The plan for Diversity was created and instituted by our Creator. The shades and hues of our culturally diverse world have the stamp of Divine approval. God’s expectations are that we embrace and enjoy His wonderful artistic blessings of our beautiful world!

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for lovingly creating each unique individual, flower, tree, and animal. Help us to embrace your definition of love by accepting others as you have accepted us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Building the Temple

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1:29

“I praise you, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your Works, my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

As a young girl, I can remember reading books every day for hours until my eyes threw in the towel and closed for sleep. Studying the Bible enabled me to be very selective in the secular materials that I chose to enhance my knowledge. The habit of seeking sound information by credible sources was reiterated when I did my first college research paper and my professor returned it with the comment, “Who are the people you used as references?” It was a lesson well learned by not utilizing the State of New Jersey’s Online Library for completing my paper.

Yesterday, I received a promotional copy of a Christian magazine. The article that piqued my interest spoke about food as one of the most wonderful blessings that God has given to us.

1. Food is diverse; think about the many cultures and how we are able to use the same ingredients and create dishes with variations of flavors and presentation.

2. Food is nutritious; it provides the correct nutrients for growth and development along with the responsibility of maintaining proper health.

3. Food tastes delicious; let’s face it, who does not love a good meal?

As I read the author’s vivid description of his favorite Indian dish, my body began to react and prepare itself to eat. As I realized what was occurring, I verbalized aloud, “Wait, you just ate dinner.” Based on prior experience, my brain converted a written description into the desire to eat food. As I thought about what I had in the kitchen to snack on, even though I was full, imagine my surprise when the next sentence proclaimed that we have taken God’s bountiful blessing and used it to destroy our bodies-the temple of the Holy Spirit. I immediately lost my appetite and desire to eat again.

When I met my husband and he told me that he cooked every day, I immediately started laughing and asked, “Why would you put yourself through all of that hard work?” As a child, we had the blessing of having a stay-at-home mother who provided nutritious home-cooked meals for us on a daily basis. Deviating from God’s original plan of choosing and cooking healthy foods resulted in my two diagnoses of Hypertension and Obesity. How did I manage to disregard God’s plan and my upbringing to purchase prepared foods with super-sized portions, high calories, and low in nutrients?

I cannot offer any scientific theories for my decision to select food driven by my senses of taste, sight, and smell. My struggle is real. The habit of overcoming poor food selection has improved and remains dormant until my acute sense of smell detects food that I enjoyed from my prior lifestyle.

I pray daily for God to strengthen my willpower against selecting unhealthy food. My testimony is that God always answers our prayers! He allowed me to read an article that I needed for spiritual growth, so now I can no longer offer any excuses for choosing food that will “Destroy my Temple.”

Last night, I was put to the test, as I carefully read the menu at the restaurant for our date night. I did not order appetizers, and I chose a low-calorie vegetable flatbread along with roasted vegetables, and a salad. My mindset has changed, there is no logical explanation for me to continue to destroy my body with altered versions of God’s blessings.

The good news is that my body is responding well to “building the temple” food choices. I will always be required to take medication for High Blood Pressure; however, it has stabilized due to a healthy diet and exercise. My body continues to slowly shrink toward a healthy weight. I thank God for sending a credible source through the mail to give me the needed answer on how to “Build His Temple.”

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Prayer for today: Dear God, I am ready to build my temple by receiving the blessing of food as you intended for its use. Please give me the strength to do what is right according to your standards. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

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Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

Do you have the qualifications to fulfill the role of judging other believers? It should provide for an exciting career, since the Bible clearly states what is right and wrong, and truth versus error. With such straight forward guidelines, any deviation from the Word of God would facilitate a quick trial and a speedy sentence for the guilty.

Yes, we have the Word of God as our blueprint for life; however, we are unable to utilize the scriptures to set the standards or compare anyone else’s life to the Word except for our own life. As human beings, we can never exalt ourselves spiritually to judge, because ALL are born sinful. Still not convinced that you are not qualified? In Isaiah 55:8, the New Living Translation emphasizes, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

No matter how tempting it is to judge others based on their sinful actions, none of us can fill the “Judge Needed Immediately” position, if such a position existed! God has already warned against the desire to take over His Heavenly position as our Judge. Each of us has a struggle as unique as our fingerprints. What I need to overcome will not be what you need to overcome. The most effectual solution is to “Pray without Ceasing” for each of our brothers and sisters.

Sanctification is a life-long process; we are unable to earn salvation. The price for sin was bought and paid-in- full by the death of Jesus Christ. If you must have a position involving the spiritual condition of others, then the position of “Prayer Warriors Needed Immediately” has vacancies that will never be filled to capacity.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life…1 John 5:16

And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please forgive me for the sin of judging others. I realize that you are the only Judge, and I am to pray without ceasing for my brothers and sisters. I ask you to accept my humble prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Acts of Kindness

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…Matthew 25:35 ESV

Amen! Our challenge for this week is to do a random Act of Kindness for someone-anyone.

The news or social media often makes us aware of Random Acts of Kindness rendered to others. We are usually impressed by someone else’s generosity; but when was the last time you did something positive that was truly outside of your character? It is long overdue if you have to really think about it. Money should not be the motivating factor in the decision to gift your “Act of Kindness.” In fact, make an effort to give to the recipient as an anonymous donor.

Forming good habits are possible when we involve God. It is a wonderful boost to our bodies when we possess kindness; the immune system and our mental-emotional health respond instantly as our endorphins assist us in seeing life from a positive perspective. As long as we have the breath of life, we have the ability to obtain spiritual growth. Our character is a reflection of good and bad traits; even so, the great news is that God will enable us to possess the same loving-kindness that He gives to us.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please give me the desire to possess kindness in every situation, regardless of the circumstances. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Thank you

I would like to take this time to say Thank you, Merci, Gracias to all of my readers.

When I was ready to publish my book of romantic poetry, I prayed for God’s blessing on my book and was instructed by God to place it on hold. Needless to say, I was disappointed; but I have a duty of obedience to God.

Fifteen months ago, my blog was published with the intent to be a Motivational speaker and Mentor for ages 50+ women who had experienced life-changing events in mid-life. I was the one who experienced a life changing event when God instructed me to use my writing talent to let others know of His love and mercy.

For all of the struggles that I have endured in life, I can truly say that God heals and God delivers. I am a believer in prayer, and I am convinced that God’s plan for my life will always end in victory. I thank God for His grace, mercy, and loving-kindness.

Please continue to pray for me as I pray daily for all of you.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Preparing for Eternal life, one day at a time.

Kindness is an Attractive Quality

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 WEB

Ask yourself, “Am I a kind person?” If you are not good at self-evaluation or feel that you cannot be objective, then ask a family member. Prior to involving another individual, ask yourself two questions:

1. Can I accept a truthful answer?

2. What steps am I willing to take to possess the Fruit of the Spirit?

There is a challenge to identifying our ungodly character traits. We often make excuses as to why we mistreat others and justify our abrupt, and “rough around the edges” responses to those we interact with. It is an amazing fact that we most often hurt the ones who are closest to us.

From a psychological perspective, there is a term known as displaced anger; something or someone else upset you and in return you select an innocent victim to retaliate against. There are therapeutic steps that a person can take to combat this state of misguided anger. However, the mistreatment of others is well beyond a treatable condition. If you are still reading this devotional, then as a Christian believer, you should feel convicted by the Holy Spirit. There is no place for the disagreeable spirit of unkindness to reside in our lives.

Yesterday, I watched a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley on Kindness. As soon as he asked the question, “Are you a kind person?”, my heart felt as if a dagger had pierced it. My answer was “most of the time.” Since I am out of town, I immediately called my husband and requested that he also watch the sermon. We were enlightened and blessed to know what God requires of us in our relationship with others.

Changing our ungodly traits requires active participation:

1. We must acknowledge that we are unkind.

2. We must ask the individuals (most often our family members) to forgive us.

3. Next, pray a Prayer of Confession: Ask God to forgive you, and to help you make the transitional journey of changing from an unkind person to one filled with loving-kindness.

Now it is time to engage in the spiritual battle of changing your character traits from undesirable to desirable. Are you ready for the struggle? I can promise you that some tough opposition is headed in your direction to prevent you from making this commitment. Even so, be aware that God has not left us without water in the Desert of Life. The refreshing waters are always flowing from the Son of God; Jesus our great Intercessor, who promises to never leave us or forsake us.

There is a praise song that tells us that we have a Spiritual team available by request: “If you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, call Him up, and tell Him what you want.”

Encourage yourself by memorizing this verse:

I can (and will) do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:13

God is patiently waiting for us to reflect His loving-kindness toward others.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I have been unkind to others. I have not been a reflection of my belief in you. Please forgive me for the sin of mistreating those that love me and the individuals that I purposefully chose to wound with unkind words. I am ready to change and I ask you to refresh me with the living waters that only you can provide. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz