God is Love!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

As fall paves the way for the transition of the earth into its wintry rest, displaying trees without their leafy coverage or exposing barren spaces where colorful flowers once bloomed; the “falling back” of time and the rapidly approaching holiday season act as  catalysts for many individuals to fall into a wintry state of mind leading to loneliness, depression or an emotional decline.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

There are many wonderful steps that we can take to counteract falling into an abyss of sadness:

  1. Reconnect with God through praise: prayer, studying the Bible, singing, and listening to music.
  2. Use your five senses to explore nature: Leave your home and explore the Scenes of Nature reflecting the change of the seasons from summer to fall which provide us with beautiful and vibrant shades of oranges, burgundies, yellows, and greens masterfully displayed by God the Creator. Browse the internet for beautiful pictures that others have shared of various landscapes on pinterest.com.
  3. Simmering cinnamon sticks or orange peels bring in the warmth of wonderful aromas into your home.
  4. Purchase a plant or seeds for growing aromatic herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary.
  5. Begin a new hobby or develop a new skill; take your time to identify something that you have a passion for and will have fun doing for a very long time.
  6. Take a planned day off–not to clean your home–but to research for supplies to jumpstart your new-found hobby. Check out the FB Marketplace and Buy, Sell, Trade pages, you may be surprised at the free to cheap prices on very good items.
  7. Clear out clutter; donate to churches and non-profit organizations. There are many individuals in need.
  8. If you are an artist, crafter, or reader of books, contact a Nursing Home or Assisted Living’s Activity Director to read, teach a one-hour class or to donate supplies.
  9. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or other community organizations are looking for volunteers.
  10. Finally, focus on the wonderful memories of the joy that your missing family members or friends brought into your life and thank God for the blessing of having them even if it was only for a season.

Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. Psalm 50:15 NLT

Our lives are a precious gift from God! Fear Not! God has promised to take care of us in every time and season in our lives. Cry when necessary, just remember that if we ask God, He will take away the pain:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Let us never forget that the Lord is our strength, our fortress, and our refuge in the day of affliction. Jeremiah 16:19 
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Bible Readings: Ecclesiastes 3, Psalm 23

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for never leaving us alone. We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings. We pray for those who are grieving over the loss of loved ones, those who are in unhealthy situations, and for those who are feeling the sting of loneliness. Thank you for creating and loving us in spite of our inability to recognize your compassion, your grace, and your mercy. We pray for daily remembrance of the sacrificial gift of your Son, Jesus who died that we may be redeemed from our sins. We are thankful that Jesus is alive and is acting as our Intercessor in heaven. We ask you to heal our broken hearts, and for us to reflect on the plans that you have for us. You have promised to never leave us or forsake us. We pray for hope, faith, and trust in you regardless of our circumstances. Thank you for loving us. We ask this prayer for comfort and to take away our pain in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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The Implosion of Being Busy, Busy, Busy

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

Many years ago when I lived in New Jersey, I resided on the 22nd floor of a high-rise building which had an awesome view of the rest of the town and the Manhatten skyline in New York City. Those of us who lived in the building received notification that two 25 story buildings would be imploded on the next two weekends and that the streets would be blocked within a one-mile radius from the site for 4-6 hours. We were instructed to have all of our doors and windows closed to prevent the inhalation of the ashen byproducts. At the appointed time, we could hear the countdown and as I looked through my windows which were 6 feet high, the 25 story brick building collapsed as if it was made of straw.

Many of us are destroying our bodies from the inside out because of our busy schedules that we have developed to keep up with the ever-changing environment.

Do you really believe that you were created in the image of God? Does your lifestyle reflect that your body does not belong to you, but to God?

God has given us health principles which are found in His Holy Word-the Bible on nutrition; rest; exercise-the body was made for movement; our attitude which determines our outlook on life; our character traits; interpersonal relationships, the environment we are to live in, and most importantly we are to possess the greatest level of faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.

Are you imploding-destroying your body and mind by the lifestyle you choose to live? Does your busy day begin at 6 am and end at midnight?

Many of us have forgotten that we belong to God; we profess with words that we believe in God and that we love God, yet, we destroy our bodies–the temple of the Holy Spirit–on a daily basis.

One of the most important principles for maintaining an optimal level of health is to have proper REST!

Our bodies require sufficient sleep, relaxation, and recreation which are inclusive and vital components of Rest. Remember when we maintain a constant state of being busy, busy, busy; we are unable to maintain a relationship with God that provides for spiritual growth; nor can we maintain a healthy relationship with our spouse, our children, our family, and our friends, or love and care for our bodies that God has gifted to us.

Do not justify the reasons for your current busy lifestyle by saying, “Change is a process,” or that “God understands my situation.” Reflect on the biblical truth that your body belongs to God; pray and immediately make the necessary changes that indicate your gratitude to God for making you in His image.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

Bible Reading: Psalm 139

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for another day of life. We ask you to forgive us for our sins; especially the sin of a lifestyle so busy that we do not have time to have a close relationship with you or others. We desire to change and we ask you to help us to slow down that we may care for our bodies that you have gifted us with. We are weary because we have not followed your commands. O God, from this day forward we commit to take care of our temples every day. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. We ask these blessings upon our lives in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

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Watch and Pray!

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of Believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NIV

The Word of God is straightforward in admonishing us to stay away from sin.

There was a time in my life that I willingly placed myself in situations that involved compromise. How did I put myself in the situation if I knew the difference between truth and error?

Feeling overly confident that we will do what is right in high-risk situations leads us away from God. We have already committed the sin of pride by thinking too highly of ourselves that we will do what is right; and then we easily fall because the devil has developed a custom made temptation for each of us with our names on it.

It is a certainty that in situations that require compromise, we will sin. If you have conflicting thoughts then just say NO! Obedience to the Word of God supersedes what others may think of us. Disregard the opinions or labels–coward, holier than thou, church goer–from individuals who do not live according to God’s Word. The uncomfortable feelings or the hesitation that is present is the Holy Spirit’s warning that the presenting circumstances are not of God.

Remember that Satan is bold and He has no boundaries. He is already in a lose-lose situation so he eagerly plans for us to disobey and succumb to sin.

God has given us the warnings and the action we must take in order to be Overcomers from sin. Let go and give up relationships, habits, and desires that cause enmity against God.

Watch-we must view life through spiritual eyes, possess knowledge of the Bible, and listen for the warnings by the Holy Spirit–that deep feeling that tells us that this is not the right decision and to flee.

Pray-The greatest avenue of communication is through prayer; we stay connected to God and become so in tune with Him that we patiently wait for His guidance in all situations.

Watch and pray; stay away from people, places, and things; draw closer to God; we will always have a way to escape when tempted.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for willfully placing ourselves into areas of compromise. Thank you for always providing a way out when we are tempted. We thank you for the Holy Spirit that guides us and enables us to have victory over every temptation. We pray for the desire to prepare ourselves against the wiles of Satan by watching and praying continously while we await your Second Coming. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Everyday is Thanksgiving!

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 NLT (last part)

I just can’t stop praising His name, Jesus!

One of the greatest joys in life is to see a baby smile. When they are happy their little faces are like the sun shining amidst a beautiful blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds. They smile and you smile, or do you smile?

Believer Alert! One of the most disheartening situations is to have to interact with unhappy and discontented individuals. For those who believe that we have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us and has provided everything that we need including love, grace, mercy, a spiritual team–The Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Angels; we should possess the greatest joy within our hearts and our faces should show it.

We must be determined in our hearts to possess a Spirit of Gratitude and Praise!

Our first and last prayers of every day should express our sincerest thankfulness and gratitude to God. The blessings that we receive from God on a daily basis should produce unspeakable joy and happiness.

We must cease and desist of proudly saying, “this is just the way I am.” Research the Word of God; you will never find one verse to substantiate a discontented spirit, a stern face, or a temperamental disposition.

Ask yourself and Ask Others: Are you an approachable person? Remember, the life of Christ reflects his great love for humanity.

Transitioning from an UnChrist-like Disposition to a Delightful Demeanor!

1. Cease complaining immediately!

2. Get rid of the stern look on your face and begin to practice smiling!

3. Laugh as often as you can!

4. Pray prayers of thanksgiving throughout your day from the time you awaken until the time you close your eyes for sleep.

God is so good and He is worthy to be praised!

Bible Readings: Psalm 34

Prayer for today: Dear God, We are so thankful for your love, your grace, your mercies, and for creating us with the ability to smile, to laugh, to possess happiness and to have everlasting joy. We ask forgiveness for our discontent, our ingratitude, and for our lack of reflecting your character to others. Thank you for providing all of our needs. Thank you for the death of your Son that we may be redeemed from our sins. We love you, we worship you, and we praise your Holy Name. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Autumn Glory _ Fall in Maine

 

 

The Mirror

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

There is a common thread that all humanity shares; we have weaknesses also known as character defects. The main issue with possessing weaknesses is that we are unable to see our own defects as readily as we are able to identify the weaknesses of others. Can you imagine looking in the mirror and seeing someone else’s face? We can agree that the normal mind will process that the reflection in the mirror is your image.

For believers our mirror is the Bible– the Word of God speaks the plain unadulterated truth and readily identifies our weaknesses. The Bible reveals the character of God! As Christians, we are to strive for Christ-like characteristics: We are not able to select certain characteristics based on our preferences or to fit the presenting situations. Our focus in life is to align our character with God’s requirements.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22,23 NLT

When we read Galatians 5:22,23 and Ephesians 4:2 we receive godly standards that will take us a lifetime to strive for and to achieve.

Unlike psychological theories such as self-actualization: possessing the continual drive to fulfill one’s talents and potentials for personal growth; we can never achieve a status of spiritual self-actualization.

Yes, God is aware of our weaknesses and our flawed character and it is by His grace and mercy that he has provided us with a spiritual helper, the Holy Spirit. It is up to us to be connected to the source, it is our Heavenly Father who readily forgives our transgressions and provides yet another opportunity to seek righteousness when we confess and repent of our sins.

Look carefully and deeply into the mirror-the Word of God; confess and repent; pray for a revelation of the misaligned traits that you possess; ask God for guidance and to be filled with the Holy Spirit; strive for holiness, and believe and receive His promise that His power works in our weaknesses.

What more can we ask for?

Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord: Hebrews 12:14 NLT

Bible Readings: Hebrews 12, Galatians 5, Ephesians 4

Prayer for today: Dear God, As we look in the mirror, please help us to see ourselves as we truly are. We pray for the character traits that are not pleasing to you to be revealed that we may do our part in changing and seeking after righteousness. We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. Thank you for this day and for your love, your grace and your mercies. We ask these things in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen,

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz

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Prayer is the Answer

If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Living the life of a Believer will never compare to sailing on a calm body of water. The tumultuous trials, tribulations, and temptations of life will cause our boat to consistently sail in troubled waters. Even so, Fear not! God is with us, and he will never let our boats capsize or overturn in spite of the stormy seas.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up: the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:2,3 first part

Jesus Christ is the Captain of our boats even when we feel as if we are drifting further and further away from the shore or cannot see dry land. He is leading us to the point in our lives that allows us to have a closer relationship with Him. Jesus is leading us to deeper waters without our self-made life jacket because He wants us to become fully dependent upon Him.

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Our duty is to cast all of our cares which means that we must pray, pray, pray! He already knows of the brokenness in your heart, the tears that stream from your eyes, and the overwhelming situations that have you feeling as if you cannot bear one more burden.

Consider the man named Job who was a righteous man; Job was a man who feared God and was blameless; yet, he lost everything he owned including the death of all of his children. If you have never thought about the long time-frame of Job’s trial then read all 42 chapters of the Book of Job. In spite of his continuous suffering, Job never blamed God and in the midst of his great tribulation, he proclaimed:

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and He will stand upon the earth at last…I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” Job 19:25, 27 NLT

Job was human with all of the emotions that we possess; yes, he was greatly overwhelmed and even attempted to proclaim his innocence several times during his great tribulation. Nonetheless, he did not follow the advice of his wife who told him to “Curse God and die,” nor did he throw in the towel when the friends who he counted on for support, turned their backs on him by accusing him of committing grievous sins against God, which could have left him devastated.

As we continue to study the life of a man who withstood extreme suffering, we know how the story ends: God blessed Job above and beyond (read chapter 42) all he could ever imagine. He lived a long, full life with the blessing of prosperity and four generations of children and grandchildren.

Whether we are sailing on calm waters or raging seas, we must always completely place our faith, trust, and obedience in God. It is only through constant prayer, and dutiful study of the Word of God, that we can remain steadfast in the vicissitudes of life. God promises that if we do our part in keeping our relationship strong with Him, then He will do his part in giving us victory as overcomers.

Bible Reading: Job chapters 1-42

Prayer for today: Dear God, There are times in our lives that we feel as if we cannot endure the hardships and we become despondent. We forget that you know exactly what we are going through and that you are just waiting for us to approach you through prayer. We ask you to forgive us for our lack of faith, our self-reliance, and our intermittent study of your Word. O God, we need you to guide us through our storms in life and we need you, even more, when we are experiencing peace so that we do not think that we are sustaining our lives. We ask you to give us strength as we endure the hardest trials of loss from the death of our loved ones, from the dissolution of our marriages, from financial devastation, from the decline of our health, and from the overwhelming feelings of being alone. You have promised to never leave us or forsake us and you have promised to never let us drown in the waters of tribulation. We thank you for your love, your grace, and your endless mercy. God, we need you now, and we ask you to heal our brokenness. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

opticxllyaroused_ “ White Mountains New Hampshire… White Mountains, New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in God

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

How can we learn to fully trust in God in spite of our circumstances?

There is no problem that we face that is bigger than our Omnipotent God.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019