In Sync through Prayer

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed it be your name…Matthew 6:8-9

Jesus always gave the honor and glory to God his Father. He has provided the blueprint for communicating with God our Heavenly Father. Prayer does not require eloquence; we are to speak to God as our best friend. God is aware of our every desire, our brokenness, our concerns, and our needs. Every prayer is heard whether in the times of distress or giving praises of gratitude. Prayer is a vital element for spiritual growth and for maintaining a constant connection to God. Remember that God has a spiritual army: God the Father, Jesus his Son, the Holy Spirit, and legions of angels to guide, comfort, and provide for us.

Never, ever give up in life. God’s army is always available for us; He can never fail, use prayer continuously and your outcome will always be victorious. Happy Sabbath!

PRAY without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer for today: Dear God: I have not stayed in touch with you through prayer. I desire to have a closer relationship with you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync by loving and giving

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

The three epistles of John are designated as Comfort and Counsel letters. 3 John is addressed to Gaius, a close friend of John the Elder, who provides shelter and food for the region’s traveling disciples. The Elder commends Gaius for taking care of others, who had no means to provide for themselves, yet they continued with their mission to spread the gospel. It is amazing when we read of biblical life and the struggles that disciples faced when witnessing to others. The conditions were harsh from inclement weather, the danger of bandits and wild animals, and overall weariness from traveling on foot. In spite of the lack of material goods or comfort, God had willing individuals to spread the message of Jesus and His great sacrifice for humankind.

As believers, what are we doing to take care of fellow believers? When we moved to Texas, I had been unemployed since the previous year due to my undiagnosed disability. We were in the financial struggle of our lives. Yet God used two of my very close friends to provide for our needs. Their faithfulness to God did not go unrecognized; they are truly blessed and highly favored for their obedience to God. We are not fulfilling our duty to God when we are stashing our resources. Lack of faith in God causes us to withhold and have lack of concern for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I can attest that God has abundantly provided for our obedience to relocate. In four years, God has honored our sacrifice and opened the windows of heaven. My husband is taking early retirement in December, and I have been retired since 2017. Amidst our struggles, we have always shared with those in need. It is our love and trust in God that prompts us to be in sync with our spiritual duty to others. Loving and giving causes us to possess compassion. As a result, our hearts and minds are prepared to receive and obey the Holy Spirit.

I invite you to read 3 John-New Living Translation. The Elder provides a contrast in the two categories of believers that exist in the church. There is no gray area-either we are in sync with God or outside of the parameters that God has set for us. We are unable to define loving and giving according to “God knowing our circumstances.” It is a blessing to grow spiritually because we placed God and others first. Stand on the promises of God: Matthew 6; Malachi 3:6-12; Philippians 4:19.

We do not give to selfishly desire to receive; we give because we love God: God has proven that He is the ultimate in loving and giving.

“To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I want is to be like him.”

Prayer for today: Dear God, Please give me the desire to use my resources to help those in need. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with God

Using your Spiritual Gifts and Talents

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

As a young girl, I had the desire to play the piano. My parents allowed me to take piano lessons to no avail; I lacked the coordination to read notes and play at the same time. While dealing with the disappointment of the failure to learn to play a musical instrument, one of my Mother’s friends offered to teach me how to crochet and knit. I immediately excelled at both crafts. In addition, I taught myself how to sew by cutting out fabric for doll clothing and hand stitching with needle and thread. Eventually, I received a sewing machine and advanced into making clothing from very complex patterns. The skill that I lacked to play the piano was compensated for by my skill to create with my hands. Fast forward 45 plus years, and I have developed my talents to the level of a master crafter and seamstress. I recognized the abilities that God has blessed me with and have developed them to honor God. Our unique spiritual gifts along with our talents were given to us to glorify God. The Giver of all gifts is pleased when we make use of our natural abilities along with learning new skills. Our lives are to be well rounded and to include hobbies which give us joy.

Although crafting brings great satisfaction to my life, I am unable to give my hobbies precedence over my spiritual gifts. Throughout my nursing career, I have ministered to patients with disease processes; providing emotional support, education, and interventions based on medical treatment and nursing care plans. I have retired from my career, but maintain my desire to minister to those in need. I thank God for the opportunity to be a vessel to write devotionals, provide food, clothing, and emotional and spiritual support to those in need. “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…” Romans 12:6 NLT

Have you identified your natural abilities and spiritual gifts? If not, pray and ask God to reveal your talents. God is our foundation: We are wonderfully made and possess unique talents. Along with serving God, add the elements of hobbies and spiritual gifts to serve others and your life will be complete.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I am asking you to reveal my spiritual gifts and my talents. Please give me the ability to learn new skills so that I may serve you and others. Amen

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with your Body, Pt. 4

Knowing your Purpose in Life

Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. Isaiah 43:7

Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the Sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:2-3

From a biblical perspective, we are told why God created us; we were created to serve and to give Him praise. What does it mean to serve God? Is it merely attending church one or two times a week? What does God expect from us? It is our duty to align our desires with God’s will. Living day-to-day with a focus only on our agenda fulfills a purpose that we have developed to satisfy our desires.

For those who are successful, reflecting on their accomplishments brings a joyful pride. They have worked hard and deserve the rewards of financial stability, job security, and vacationing abroad. Are these not the blessings promised in Malachi 3:6-12? The most probable answer is yes. Our acknowledgment and faithfulness to God is the highest form of worship that we can offer. However, there is the missing element of sacrifice. Even Abraham who was blessed with wealth beyond measure and a legacy from whose lineage we are from was tested. God commanded him to literally sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of his faithfulness. And yes, Abraham proved his faith was strong when he did as God commanded, but God honored Abraham and Isaac’s faithful obedience and provided the animal for the required sacrifice (Genesis 22).

In order for us to find out what our purpose is in life, we must ask God. The question of asking God to reveal your purpose for your life is necessary for the completion of spiritual alignment. Knowing what God has planned and requires of us will always involve sacrifice on our part. If God sacrificed His only Son-Jesus Christ-then we can expect a major change to our agenda. If the thought of asking God to show you His purpose for your life has put fear inside of you, then you are not living in His perfect will.

As my husband’s retirement draws near, our plans for a cross-country vacation may or may not be on the chopping block. We are praying and have not received an answer if our vacation is in God’s will. It is not easy for us to have our wavering faith tested. We are often so caught up in our own desires that we eliminate the possibility of asking for Divine guidance. In Isaiah 55:8, God tells us: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” NLT

Fulfillment of a purpose driven life does not occur without Divine guidance.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I am living according to my own desires. Please reveal to me the purpose you have for me. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with your Body, Pt. 3

Rest for the Weary

Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest until your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 KJV

Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light Matthew 11: 28-30 ISV

Who among us does not experience the burdens of life? There are bills to pay, children in school, unexpected family crises, health issues, job loss, bereavement from death, etc. Keeping our lives intact and functioning on a productive level can escalate to be a burdensome task. In addition, a major portion of the problems that we face is beyond our circumstances or control. When does it end? As long as we are alive and breathing we will always have storms in our life to overcome. There are many challenges on a day-to-day basis that require immediate intervention along with developing short-term and long-term goals to facilitate resolution or prevention of recurrence.

Individuals with family support often have it much easier than those who are relatively on their own to resolve ongoing issues. Statisica.com shows the number of single-person households in 2017 to be 35.25 million. ” According to figures from the year 2016, those aged 45 to 64 were the most likely age group to die by suicide.” There are various reasons that are given for ending one’s own life, but the main reason is a sense of hopelessness and that the situation will never resolve or get better.

Almost one-third of my life was spent living in a single-person household. I experienced various issues such as poor financial money management, job loss, fluctuating health status, divorce, and estrangement from my immediate family. I emerged a very broken and unstable individual until I asked God to become a part of my life. I can testify that God has given me complete healing and deliverance from a disorderly lifestyle and unproductive mindset. Even so, there were several steps that I had to take to receive freedom from past behaviors.

1. Acknowledgment-What part was I responsible for when chaos was in my life?

2. Recognition-Realizing that I took on burdens that God told me to give to Him.

3. Ownership-Identifying my mistakes and promising to not repeat the old behaviors.

4. Confession-Asking God for forgiveness for excluding Him from my daily life.

5. Transfer of Ownership-Giving my burdens to the only one that has the power to bring resolution.

It has taken me most of my life to completely allow God to be the Driver of the Automobile of my Life. But now I am content riding in the passenger seat. The obstacles are still on the road; however, for the first time, I have no worries. Taking that first giant leap of faith, and giving every burdensome care to God has strengthened my faith and trust in Jehovah Jireh.

It is so wonderful to let God be your burden bearer. I have been healed from a lifelong history of insomnia. Now when I awaken refreshed and renewed, I ask myself, “What took you so long to figure this out?”

Prayer for today: Dear God, I desire you to be the Driver in my life. I am weary of excluding you as my Provider. Please forgive me. I am ready to be free from the burdensome task I have carried. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with your Body, Pt. 2

Practical Messages for Impractical Times

…The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Have you ever thought about what you think about the majority of the time? Our thoughts evolve into behaviors and actions that govern how we live. Thinking positive thoughts enable us to have a stronger connection to God and gives us the ability to see life through spiritual eyes.

How can we rid ourselves of negative thoughts? By recognizing the negative thought immediately and saying a prayer for God to give us a renewed/refreshed mindset. It takes a conscious effort to stop the negativity. Unproductive thoughts are habitual; however, habits can be broken if we pray for change to occur. When we study the Bible and have a meaningful relationship with God, we will always possess inner joy and peace.

So, if you are reading this, you have a reason to think positive happy thoughts. You are a living, breathing organism granted another day of life.

Plan to incorporate several “minute” prayer and praise sessions throughout your day. Utilize the ministry of Christian music to soothe, uplift and promote a nurturing environment. Begin to think and speak positive happy thoughts even when the situation would normally cause you to be negative. The joy of the Lord imparts strength. Claim your deliverance from all negativity, and you will possess radiating joy along with a stronger relationship with God.

Prayer for today: Dear God, I desire to have a positive mind. Please help me to get rid of the negativity that past experiences have caused. I want and need the joy that only comes from you. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

In Sync with your Body, Part 1

Practical messages for Impractical Times

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

Anyone who studies the subjects of Anatomy and Physiology is aware of the amazing attributes of the human body. For those of us who refuse to acknowledge the concept of evolution; we base the complexity of our bodies on the fact that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and usually possess a greater respect of our bodies.

Let’s contemplate on the characteristics of the human voice. It has the ability to speak words, sing melodies, hum, make various sounds, imitate other voices, and laugh. We can also change the pitch, and tone according to our emotional state or the individuals we are communicating with. For example, if I am speaking to a group, I would not use a high-pitched tone which would distract from the subject of my presentation.

The voice is also a powerful tool that can convey love, compassion, gentleness, and promote healing by its soothing qualities, Mothers often sing to their babies or speak to them in loving sounds known as “baby talk.” Even patients who have awakened from a comatose state reveal that they can remember hearing voices.

The most important use of our voice is for prayer and praise to the Creator of all things. When we use our voices to thank God for the many blessings He continues to give us, then we are acknowledging His love, His grace, and His mercy. Our heartfelt prayers are sweetness to His ears. Are you aware that our voices were gifted to worship God?

When I visited my cousin in West Virginia last year, she recommended that I speak the words while reading the Bible. I did not readily accept her suggestion due to a lifelong practice of silent reading. However, in our daily Bible studies, I experienced a deeper spiritual connection to God through verbalizing and hearing His loving promises aloud. Imagine attending church only to read the sermon in print as opposed to a spoken presentation of God’s Word.

Use your vocal gift to give glory to God every day. A kind word conveys all of the characteristics of the Creator who made heaven, earth, and our wonderful bodies. Live in the spirit of gratitude by using your voice to acknowledge the giver through continuous praise.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for the wonderful gift of my voice. Please help me to always use it to convey your love and kindness for all human beings that you created in your image. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz