How do you take your Tea?

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2, first part

A tea-drinker is one who enjoys endless flavors that are relatively free of calories. From the flowery explosions of White Jasmine & Rose to the spicy and robust Ginger root teas, there are so many choices, that make it difficult to choose just one. Herbal teas are the best option because they have the dual purpose of providing natural remedies for minor ailments, and do not contain the drug-caffeine.

For those who are newbies to the full-flavors of tea, avoid the boxed teabags by any means necessary. Teabags contain the dust and fannings, the tasteless leftovers from the rich, fragrant tea leaves. Look the other way and use your time to find a retailer that sells loose leaf tea. As the term implies, it is the cut leaves that pack a powerful and delicious experience that is well worth the price. Consider purchasing organic tea leaves to have the option of avoiding toxic pesticides.

If only our lives were as easy as pouring out and discarding the leftovers of sin; our teapot of daily living would never contain sin’s harmful pesticides. When we seek after worldly pleasures, we drink from the cup that contains the dust and fannings of disobedience, and our relationship with God becomes tainted.

Obediently studying and following godly instructions does not guarantee a pot filled with flavorful tea. We cannot sweeten our spiritual journey! Just when we are ready to take it easy, the boiling waters of strife and the bitter waters of trials and tribulations impact our lives by leaving their sour taste. It is with certainty that we will endure many bitter flavors in life. Do not despair! It is during the times when the tea has the most pungent taste that we will discover that God is with us.

As tea leaves must steep to extract their full-flavor, we must do our part to achieve spiritual growth by dedicating sufficient time to pray and diligently study the Bible. Even so, God will never ask us, “How do you take your tea?” Through His grace and mercies, He keeps us from drowning in the bitter waters of life by providing us with the perfect pot of tea brewed from the choice leaves of blessings and the sweet waters of peace.

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

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

blooming _ flowering tea in a clear glass teapot









The Road of Suffering

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2

If there were two roads: The Road of Suffering and the Road to a Peaceful Life, would you willingly choose the option to suffer? For those of us who would immediately want the peaceful life would be distressed to find out that the Road to a Peaceful Life merges into the Road to Suffering.

I have often pondered as to why there are so many levels of suffering. I am unable to remember a time in my life when I was not facing some type of hardship. So, I began to pray for comfort and for much-needed answers. The scriptures provided sound reasons for staying on the Road to Suffering. Because God is with us!

  1. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
  2. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…Psalm 46:1-3
  3. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
  4. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…2 Corinthians 12:9

There are definitive purposes for every trial and hardship that we endure. Our journey is all about strengthening our relationship with Christ. Living devoid of suffering prevents spiritual growth. We must experience whatever is required of us to live every day on bended knees. Suffering ensures that we maintain a connection with God based on absolute dependency throughout our lifespan.

Another benefit to suffering is the Refinement and Perfection of our Character. We become one with Christ when we surrender our total selves to Him as we become transformed into His likeness. Our character must align with God’s character. The first attribute we must possess is “Unconditional love” for God and others. This characteristic alone may be the one that has extended your journey on the Road to Suffering.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV

Prayer: Dear God, Please help us to be faithful and joyful as we travel the Road of Suffering. Thank you for also traveling this Road, which led to your death for us that we may be redeemed. We ask you for the strength to grow closer to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

“Living the Dream”

There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? John 14:2 NLT

I was recently at an estate sale and overheard a conversation that began with “How are you?” In response, the person stated in an upbeat manner, “Living the dream.” It was as if time had stopped. We waited for further clarification of the dream; was it an abundance of money, a great job, good health? However, he never said another word as all eyes watched this stranger jubilantly walk away.

Living the dream is a subjective state of mind. No two individuals will replicate the meaning of what the dream is to them. My interpretation of living the dream may be tied to significant interaction with my family, enough money to pay the bills, the enjoyment of being retired, or experiencing a pain-free day.

From a spiritual perspective, Eternal Life should be our dream and every thought and action should reflect this desire. Even though we are told in John 14 and Revelation 21 that Christ is preparing a new home for us, many have lost hope in this promise. We are putting most of our time and energy in the pursuit of secular dreams–tangible things that will eventually be destroyed. Do we really understand God’s promise of “a new heaven and a new earth?” If yes, then we live for God and strive for Eternal life, which is through sanctification, wholly committing ourselves daily to God.

The thought-provoking statement of “living the dream” has me seriously thinking about the changes I need to make in my spiritual journey. Unlike working to obtain “the dream” from a worldly perspective, I am unable to do good works to receive Eternal Life. It was not a coincidence that I heard the stranger’s response. There are changes that I need to make in my life if I desire to hear Jesus say, “Well done.” Thank you, God, for getting my attention-my commitment to you needs major improvement.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020

Our Privilege

When we realize the greatness of what God has done for us we look for ways to express our love for Him. He has been so good and faithful to us.

We should remind ourselves when we pray what a magnificent privilege it is to be able to draw close to God in prayer.

We were in the deep mire of sin, but God raised us up so that we could stand in His holy presence. Do not just take this mercy for granted.

Today ask the Lord to teach you to serve Him with your whole heart so that your life will be a song of praise to Him. Debra Bailey

How Can I Help?

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

“You can’t go through life wearing catcher’s mitts on both hands; you have to throwback also.” Maya Angelou 

How can I help? Before asking this question, we must be aware that this is an open-ended request to hear the answer and make a personal commitment to provide our intervention. Only a heart filled with genuine care and compassion would ask, “What can I do to alleviate your suffering or your burdens?”

When we accept God and the Plan of Salvation, we become Christian believers whose roles are pre-determined and defined by God. If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? 1 John 3:17. God never asks more of us than is humanly possible.

1 Kings 17:7-24 tells us of the story of the Widow of Zarephath, who only had enough food for one last meal. By her faith and obedience, God provided a never-ending supply of food for her and her son. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16

What qualities are required to serve others?
1. Helping others encompasses giving of one’s time, talent, and financial resources.
2. Helping others requires a definitive mindset of selflessness, humility, and the ability to set boundaries.
3. Helping others stipulates that the receiver has no obligation to the giver.
4. Helping others requires a Vow of Silence. Whatever you are doing is between you, the person, and God.

So what are the benefits of giving to others? Our character becomes more like Christ.
1. Giving melts away a cold, stony heart, and in its place, genuine love grows.
2. Giving destroys selfishness and enables the fruit of the spirit to flourish.
3. Giving provides you with the inner joy that comes from improving someone else’s life.

Finally, giving of ourselves increases our faith in God and in humanity. Remember, someone else wishes that they were in your situation.

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion-how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17

Prayer: Dear God, I am my brother’s keeper. Please remove all selfishness from our hearts, and may we have the desire to always assist those in need. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020