Desperate for Jesus

This morning, as I dusted my furniture, I picked up the United States flag that I was given in memory of my father. Although, it has been 13 years since he passed away, I realized how much I missed our father and daughter conversations. My father was a natural comedian with stories that made me wonder if all of the details were factual. As the tears flowed, I was reminded of the promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

For those of us who remain we have the responsibility of serving God by aligning our thoughts, our actions, and our lives with the Word of God. I long to see my father again; however, I must prepare myself spiritually if that is to occur. I must become desperate for a deeper and closer relationship with Jesus Christ. There is nothing in this present life that I am willing to hold on to, that would cause me to miss my opportunity for eternal life, and to be reunited with my father.

Dear God, please give me the desire to study your Word. Thank you for comforting me today, by bringing to my remembrance your precious promise of the family reunion when you come again.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Above all that we can ask

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. EPHESIANS 3:20

Many years following the collapse of my first marriage, I can recall asking God for another chance to experience love before I left this earth. It was many years later that my prayer was answered by receiving the gift of a dedicated husband. This year when I was diagnosed with end stage osteoarthritis in both knees, my devoted husband has lovingly taken on an additional role as my caregiver. Although, I am fully functional with my personal activites of daily living; there are times when my ambulation is limited due to stiffness and severe pain. I now utilize an assistive device for additional support when walking.

Throughout my gradual decline, my husband provides for my every need. God was fully aware of the future decline in my physical condition when I prayed for love. He answered my prayer by giving me a husband that would love and care for me unconditionally. I can truly say that God has shown His love exceedingly and abundantly above all that I could ever imagine. He planned for my future when I was in excellent health. My simple desire led to a heartfelt prayer that resulted in my gift of a wonderful husband.

I pray that I will always submit my desires, my plans, and my life to God. He is the authority on guiding and resolving every obstacle or situation that I face. Thank you God for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for protecting me from all hurt, harm, and danger from birth through the present; and thank you for giving me the love of my life.

Dedicated to my husband-Angel-te quiero mucho.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Our True Identity

Our True Identity

Many individuals share the common thread of growing up in a dysfunctional home. Because their childhood did not include love, nurturing, or stability; they never developed a strong sense of their true identity. Characteristics include the lack of coping skills: Minimal disturbances and life events reveal hidden doubts and insecurities. Often, there is an unnatural spirit of jealously secretly harbored against persons who possess confident demeanors. The inability to bond with others is evidenced by numerous superficial and short-term relationships. Understanding who we are remains the foundation to our very existence.

However, our circumstances are far from becoming hopeless. There is an effective remedy for the fragmented state of merely existing. The Word of God gives a beautiful, and detailed story of God’s decision to make man in His image. Abounding love motivated our Heavenly Father to breathe life into Adam, and create a woman-Eve for completion and companionship. 1 Peter 2 tells us that we are a chosen people…royal and holy, God’s very own possession.

Through Christ we have the opportunity to become “a new creation” with a strong sense of who we belong to; and, we are able to develop our true identity. The former situation that failed to provide us with love is considered “as old and passes away.” It is a wonderful blessing to finally know who we are-God’s own-we are now complete.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Prosperity is yours

According to many television ministers; if we serve God, then we are promised the materialistic achievement of wealth. Their sermons are geared toward the acquisition of massive bank accounts, million dollar homes, and upscale automobiles. In fact, if you do not have, then it is your fault, because you are not utilizing the right tactics to obtain your “blessings of wealth.” However, the concept of believers pursuing after the things of the world is not biblically based.

The Word of God specifically points out that we are not to pursue wealth in any form. In Matthew 19, the rich young ruler asks Christ what must he do to have eternal life? When he was told to sell all that he possessed, he walked away, “for he had great wealth.” In 1 Timothy 6:10-11, Paul instructs young Timothy to pursue godliness as opposed to wealth.

So, what is wrong with living comfortably? After all, we work hard, we save our money, and we deserve the comforts of life. The pursuit of wealth distracts us from the greatest lifetime reward that God has promised to us: Eternal life. “No man can serve two masters, either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can not serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24

God has blessed many of us with an overabundance of money. We gladly thank God for opening the windows of heaven on our behalf. The confusion begins when our values do not align with God’s instruction for the use of His blessings. James 1:27 instructs us to look after the widows and the orphans. This simple instruction translates into assisting those in need; especially placing elderly women and children as our first priorities.

For those of you who are reading this post, please pray that we will have the desire to use our overabundance to help others in 2018.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” 1 John 2:15

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Unhealthy Relationships

What constitutes a relationship? Relationships include marriages, dating partners, friendships, parent-child, siblings, and family members. With so many standards in our society; it is difficult to know what defines a healthy relationship. The foundation of all healthy relationships is built on love and respect. When these elements are present, both individuals are validated; and, the relationship evolves into a nurturing union.

Unhealthy relationships can only offer brokenness. One or both individuals endure pain and suffering. We compromise our emotional integrity when we hold on to relationships which produce only negative outcomes. For many individuals, the unanswered question is “why do we stay?” The simple fact is that once our fragile hearts are broken; we no longer possess the strength to identify and pursue our options. Our weakened state of mind creates reasons to accept dysfunction as an acceptable fate for our lives.

How do we move forward when we are emotionally wounded? There are a couple of viable options.

1. Avoid analyzing the reasons for the unhealthy status of the relationship. Trying to determine what led to the negative behaviors will either end in blaming yourself or a compromise to stay in the destructive relationship.

2. If possible, develop a plan to improve the conditions of the relationship-which requires a mutual agreement with the other individual-and may involve therapeutic intervention. However, your values must align in order to produce change.

3. If it is not possible to achieve harmony; then let go of guilt and fear, and exit the relationship.

You owe it to yourself to be in a loving and caring relationship.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Overcoming

A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. For the despondent, every day brings trouble…Proverbs 15: 13, 15

Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? The simple fact is that we were created to fulfill God’s purpose and His desires. When we live outside of what God intended for our life, it is not possible to for us possess peace or happiness. We begin to search for distractions that can only provide fleeting moments of superficial happiness. As we become bored, our state of mind changes to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction with who we are, and what life has to offer.

So, how are we supposed to transition from a meaningless existence to a purpose driven life? Ask God; pray for God to reveal His divine purpose for your life.

1. Take the time to self-evaluate your gifts and talents. Identify the qualities that make you unique.

2. Open your mind to stepping outside of your comfort zone. Volunteer for organizations that provide assistance to persons in need.

3. Acknowledge your blessings. Develop a spirit of gratitude by recognizing the privilege of having the necessities of life.

4. If you require emotional support; seek assistance through your local churches and other non-profit organizations.

God desires for us to possess a glad heart. When we align our life with His purpose, our happiness is not based on changing circumstances; our happiness is based on His divine will.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Love is a Plant

As long as I can remember, I have possessed a great love for plants. Living in Florida provided the perfect amount of sun and humidity for our plants to flourish. The growth of two of our plants exceeded all of my expectations; an ivy with runners of over 50 feet, and a palm that expanded from 5 inches to 5 feet.

When we relocated, it was necessary to sell all of my precious plants. During our moving sale, the plants sold immediately for prices much higher than I expected. The years of nurturing and cultivation paid off well. However, I was determined to take my prized ivy, and placed a “Not for Sale” sign on the plant stand. On the last day of our sale, my husband inquired as to how comfortable I would be traveling over 1000 miles with a huge plant on my lap. It was a hard reality check. I reluctantly removed the sign, secretly hoping that my plant would remain unsold. I was heartbroken when the individual who purchased my ivy, laughed and expressed that she would be the envy of all of her friends who would finally realize the power of her green thumbs.

In the 12th chapter of Mark, we are reminded that love is the greatest commandment. God’s expectation is for us to cultivate and expand our love to include all individuals; as well as eliminating all conditions that we place on others to receive our love. We are unable to select individuals as we select fruit- only the ripe and unblemished will be purchased. It is our duty to God to be a living example of His love for us.

The Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23, lists the attributes of possessing a godly spirit, with love as the first requirement. Love is not an option; nor is it an earned privilege. It is a condition for us to have eternal life. In the new heaven and new earth, former things will have passed away. This includes all malice toward family members, and self-designated enemies. God has given us specific instructions on how to cultivate our character. The awakening to a new day provides us with another opportunity for spiritual growth. Love is a plant whose runners should grow endlessly, and without boundaries.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz