Can you pass the test?

Driving is a skill that requires sharp visual acuity, sound judgment, quick and safe reactions, critical thinking, and mentally processing the overall big picture. There are many individuals who fail to pass their initial licensure exams due to poor assessment skills or the inability to demonstrate safe driving skills during their road test.

Motor Vehicle Accidents are responsible for loss of life along with irreparable physical and psychological damage to the victim. So, if statistics are so high, what is preventing the development and implementation of additional safety precautions to measure ongoing competency in licensed drivers?

As a nurse, I am required to meet the criteria for continual education in order to maintain my license. There are ethical standards determined by the Board of Nursing that I have vowed to uphold whether I am practicing clinically or retired from the nursing profession. The most logical answer to decreasing motor vehicle accidents is to increase awareness of public safety by requiring continuing education of drivers. After all, the possession of a driving license requires accountability and the dedicated responsibility of the licensee.

As time passes, the knowledge that we possess becomes watered down, and without reinforcement, our lives reflect poor judgment, inappropriate reactions, and skewed decision- making.

Our spiritual knowledge is at the highest risk for decline; and without the daily study of the Word of God and prayer, we become watered-down Christians. Have you ever heard the most heart-convicting sermon in church or online and excitedly told someone how wonderful the preacher preached, and then when you were asked to explain what the sermon was about, you stumbled to explain? How could you not remember when you were intently listening and promised God that you would recommit your life to him?

Although it may seem unbelievable, there are individuals who attend church on a weekly basis and feel that they have fulfilled their Christian duties to God. Is a weekly visit all that God requires of us for our Salvation? If so, then Jesus certainly did not have to give His life, if we are required to do little to nothing.

Reinforcement is required in order for us to obtain and maintain spiritual growth. We must study the Holy scriptures, pray continuously, sing praises and worship the Most High God on a daily basis. Our relationship with God is dependent upon our obedience: Study to show thyself approved unto God…first part of 2 Timothy 2:15; Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Spiritually, we are at risk for a higher level of harm far greater than our risk for physical harm. Everyday we face an ongoing battle:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

It is only because of God’s love, grace, and mercies, that we do not sustain the full impact of the wickedness in this world. Please realize that Satan cannot completely destroy a Child of God; it is either the will of God that we endure suffering or we may wreak havoc on ourselves by making wayward decisions that are outside of God’s plan for our lives.

The Apostle Paul tells us…So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh…Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 2 Corinthians 12:7-8

In order to prevent us from self-sufficiency and contentment, we must sustain accidents-trials and tribulations. God allows us to endure custom made suffering, in order for us to fully believe that:

…”My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” last part of 2 Corinthians 12:9

Can you pass the test? Remember that God says, “If my people, then I will…”.

Start now with studying the Bible and praying as if your life depends on it! Did you know that your life does depend on fulfilling your part of traveling the Path of Salvation, which includes a dependent relationship with God?

God loves us so much that He has given us talents, spiritual gifts and the ability to pursue our dreams. We should increase our level of knowledge in every aspect of our lives; learn something new, take a class, pursue a hobby, you will develop a broader perspective of life.

Pursue the study of the Word and develop a deep relationship by amping up your communication with God through prayer. Moreover, when you are hit by the enemy, your immediate response will be to report the accident to God by praying without ceasing.

Never forget: God is the Sustainer of our lives!

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. Psalm 95:6

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 11

Prayer for today: Dear God, We acknowledge that you are the Sustainer of our lives. We worship you and we praise your Holy name. As we learn who you are through the study of your Word and prayer, we desire to draw closer to you as never before. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

“We are Poor”

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4 NIV

One of my hobbies is finding thrift stores that offer a wide-range of discarded pre-owned items that are in excellent condition; the items that were purchased on impulse; the items that now hold no value to their previous owners. Even so, it is those very items that are offered a second chance when they are whisked away by a purchaser who has a definite purpose in mind for their rebirth.

When we resided in Florida we discovered an upscale boutique resale shop–wow thats a mouthful—that we would visit because of the uniqueness of the shop; over half of the items were brand new with their original store tags.

Recently we visited our grandchildren who were in Florida for the summer, and decided to introduce them to thrift store diving as an alternate way to shop. The GPS directed us through the affluent residential area with expansive houses and breathtaking landscapes. At this point, our granddaughter began to comment on the beautiful neighborhood especially the various architectural excellence of the homes and the foliage. Then I heard the words that a parent or grandparent would never want to hear, with disappointment she stated, “If people live like this, then we are poor.”

The reality of the disparity of life between the rich and the poor should have a devastating impact on us. In fact, we should never pretend that poverty is nonexistent, even Jesus acknowledged that “the poor will always be among us.” Matthew 11:26

My prayer prior to seeing our grandchildren this summer was that we would be able to reintroduce them to the godly standards that we taught them many years ago when they lived with us. God is always faithful in answering our heartfelt prayers, especially regarding the plan of salvation and our desire to witness to others. We were able to teach the core values of God’s love, prayer, family worship, making beds, keeping your bodies and the environment clean, and taking care of others especially the needy. We honored the Sabbath together by having worship at Friday sunset and the cessation of secular activities such as watching television or playing with electronic devices for 24 hours, and on Saturday-Sabbath we attended church together as a family.

If you are wondering about my response to our granddaughter’s statement, I can assure you that she is now aware of our duty to help others from a spiritual and social aspect. In addition, she has the knowledge of thanking God for the daily provision of food, clothing, and shelter. By her own admission, she has never been without the opportunity to eat, have clothing or shoes to wear, or a bed to sleep in. I am also grateful that God allowed us to develop a strong bond with our three grandchildren during our vacation with them.

Our lives must include the core value of serving others. We are never too poor to give of our time in helping those in need. Jesus’ compassion extended to multitudes as evidenced by the healing of many who were sick, feeding those who were hungry physically (prior to addressing their spiritual needs), raising the dead and the casting out of demons.

Are you overly concerned about your own needs or desires? If yes, then make it your goal to follow Christ’s example and live to serve. It is a wonderful opportunity for God to bless you with spiritual insight and spiritual growth. The blessings that come from helping those in need will eradicate selfishness, self-centeredness, greed, and carelessness. We cannot become all that God desires for us to be with clenched hands and a dispassionate spirit.

The Christian walk down the Path of Salvation is a solitary effort. When we love God we do not set boundaries on the alleviation of suffering. Let us make the commitment to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and help each person that has genuine need until He comes again.

Bible Reading: The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your grace, your mercy, and the provision of our needs. As we reach out to others, please help us to become full of the same love, compassion, and sacrificial giving that you possess. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of your life that we may have eternal life. We repent for the selfish spirit that has prevented us from helping others. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. We ask this prayer in the worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

DNA Testing

I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. Psalm 139:14

“Do you have Royalty in your blood?”

Recently I listened to one of the most convincing sales pitches regarding the ability to determine an individual’s ancestry or lineage-regarding who is in your bloodline. And for only $$$, someone has developed the ability to analyze your blood and match it to varied nationalities from hundreds of years ago?

Let’s analyze this popular phenomenon from a logical, rational, and spiritual perspective.

DNA testing was originally made available to the public for paternity testing. Remember the “Maury” show, “You are not the baby’s father.” On the serious side, DNA paternity testing is legal and admissable in court-related cases, which is utilized frequently in our society.

There are many believers who are involved in the game of seeking to know if their bloodline contains royalty. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; so if we are His children then we are royalty.

What is really difficult to process is that when the DNA results are received, what practical purpose does it serve? Is it a gimmick to boost one’s self-esteem or to validate one’s existence?

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you all are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NLT

God, our loving Creator formed Adam in His image and breathed the breath of life into him, and then He took a rib from Adam and created Eve, his wife; consequently, all human beings are equal in the sight of God. Man-made titles are meaningless to God; we are humanity with only one dividing factor: Believer or Unbeliever, Righteous or Evildoer, and Holy or Unholy.

Believer Alert: We are fearfully and wonderfully made! From a biblical perspective, all were created equal; whether we are rich, poor, of varied nationalities, races, or ethnicities, we have one Father, our Creator, God and we have been washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

God is the Creator and Master Designer of our human bodies including our DNA. We are perfect in our outward appearance as well as our anatomy and physiology.

It is impossible for humanity to rise above or attempt to turn falsehood into truth. We cannot build a Tower of Babel (read Genesis 11:1-9) by challenging God and masterminding schemes that serve no real purpose in our lives.

For validation of who you belong to and where you are from: Read and study the Word of God–the Holy Bible, and the next time you hear an advertisement or conversation regarding DNA testing for royalty, start smiling and praising God because your DNA is from the King of Kings.

We serve a loving God who wants us to know that He is our Creator; He is our all and all; and there is none like Him.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered…Luke 12:7 NIV

“I am a Child of the KING!”

Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your love and kindness. Thank you for creating me in your image. I belong to you and you are worthy of my praise. I know that DNA testing can never determine my worth or my value. From this day forward, I dedicate my life to you, the one and only true King. Thank you for hearing my prayer that I ask in the worthy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Going All the Way

A Man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Matthew 10:36 BSB

In spite of the advancement of technology, hard copies of books are still selling. There will always be a loyal following of individuals who enjoy the feeling of holding a book, turning the pages, and relishing in the fact that we never need to be concerned about a low battery that needs to be charged.

The most important book that exists is the Bible, which is the Word of God that was written by ordinary people who were inspired by God and guided by the Holy Spirit.

In Psalm, David said, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

The Bible is our complete guide to how we are to live on a daily basis. We receive guidance on how to handle all of our problems. God’s promises always include “if and then” which indicates active participation on our part.

There is a dilemma that is occurring among believers and whether our loyalty to others includes tolerating chaos and confusion from those who are close to us.

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a Believer be an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 NLT

When we separate ourselves from the friends and family members who are unable to live in harmony and by God’s spiritual guidelines, then we may be faced with emptiness and extra time on our hands.

Believer Alert: There is an epidemic of depressed and lonely individuals among those who proclaim that, God is my all and all; yet, they are doing little to alleviate the suffering of others. When we fulfill our spiritual responsibilities to God and to those who are suffering, we do not have time to focus on ourselves.

Are you in your home feeling lonely?

There are individuals who are homeless, hungry, battered by domestic violence and other atrocities, and are struggling just to have their basic needs met. Many organizations are seeking volunteers to assist with the overwhelming social problems that plague our communities. Utilize your unfulfilled time to minister to those in need and you will never miss the companionship of those who Satan is using to bring unrest to your life.

Bible reading for today: 2 Corinthians 6

Prayer for today: Dear Heavenly Father, We ask you to forgive us for the sins of omission. We have failed to fulfill the mission that you have given to us in our lives. We have surrounded ourselves with individuals who are unequally yoked. Our lives are empty and we have wasted valuable time by being distracted by the things of the world. Please give us the strength as we attempt to change our habits and prepare for eternal life by doing your will. Thank you for your love, your grace and your mercies. We ask this prayer in the worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Do you Really Believe?

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death nor sorrow nor crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4 NLT

Last night, I visited one of the Mothers of our church who is in a long term care facility. We had the most wonderful time talking, and laughing while she enjoyed eating butter pecan ice cream. As we reminisced on the life and friendship of our precious Sister-in-Christ, Susan who recently passed away, we acknowledged how much we missed her; however, we also have hope because we look forward to seeing her when Jesus comes again–His Second Coming.

As Bible-based believers, we know that God always keeps His promises. There is a promise of eternal life after death: We have hope of the resurrection of believers who have died in Christ:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the Believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the Believers who have died. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT

God even takes it a step further and tells us exactly what will happen at the Second Coming of Jesus:

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding Shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18 NLT

Do you believe that God does not intend for us to live a life filled with grief and sorrow?

You may feel that the loss of a loved one or a tragic event has left you with little to live for or that it is impossible to ever have the Christ-given joy and happiness that you once possessed.

God knows every aspect of our lives before anything, good or bad happens, nothing is a surprise to our Heavenly Father. It is possible to have a full and wonderful life even we must bear our greatest sorrows.

Do you believe that God will take away your pain due to loss?

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (last part) Psalm 30:5

Do you desire for God to heal and remove your brokenness and restore your joy so that you can have a purpose driven life?

“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.” In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT

For us to obtain the fulfillment of God’s promises, we must actively participate by doing what He commands. Rate your prayer and Bible study habits on a scale from 1-5 from poor to excellent. The Word of God is not a fictional story book; His Word breathes hope, provides strength, restores our joy, reinforces our faith, and proves that the Almighty God is trustworthy.

Prayer is our connection to God! Amp up your prayer life and you will begin to feel the power of God surging through your mind, body, and soul.

We serve a mighty God!

As long as we have breath in our bodies, we have a connection with our Creator, our Jehovah jireh, our Heavenly Father. God is our all and all.

We must continue to strive for eternal life. The storms of life will bring crashing waves, deafening claps of thunder, and overwhelming turbulence; even so, the Master, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God says, “Peace be Still!”

Hallelujah! For thine is the power, the honor, and the glory. Forever and ever. Amen.

Bible reading for today: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 21-22

Prayer for today: Dear Lord and Father of all mankind, We come to you with our brokenness, our grief, and our sorrow. We have tried in every way to alleviate our suffering. But now we realize that we can do nothing without your love, your grace, and your mercies upon our lives. Oh God, we need you in every aspect of our earthly lives. Please restore our joy, and please help us to serve you wholeheartedly. We ask you to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and to fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen!

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

The winds and the waves must obey His will: Peace be Still!

The Tree and Its Fruit

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6: 43, 45 NLT

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh I didn’t mean to say that or I’m sorry, that I said that or I don’t know why I said that?”

The Bible gives us the answer, and the reason for all misspoken words is that we spoke exactly what was in our minds. It is our wayward thoughts that will always be revealed when the right situation presents itself. More often than not, these words slip out without hesitation and we are faced with embarrassment, or simply relieved because the thought weighed heavily on our minds.

So, the process of self-justification begins: “What I said was the truth and he or she deserved to be told, and it is better that they hear it from me.”

Many individuals believe in a “gray area” which is a manmade creation that indicates an area of compromise; the compromise between good and evil, truth and error, the implied or the unspoken, the seen and the unseen. However, God clarifies that His standards are love or hate, truth or lies, right or wrong; God does not have an area of compromise, and neither should we fall into the trap devised by the master deceiver–Satan.

We must make the decision to live by God’s standards. When we abide by truth and righteousness, our minds will reflect goodness, and the words that proceed from our mouths will never be offensive, hurtful, or belittling.

Remember that God’s daily forgiveness, grace and mercies are gifts that we should cherish and when we contemplate on His love, our minds (hearts) will be in alignment with his definition of a good person.

Bible Reading for today: Luke 6

Prayer for today: Dear God, We ask forgiveness for living in an area of compromise; an area where we define what is right and wrong, and what constitutes good and evil. We ask you to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, to give us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us. We thank you for giving us holy and uncompromising standards to live by. It is our desire to have eternal life and to always possess thoughts and speak words that reflect your character. We ask this prayer in the worthy name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Happy Sabbath!

One of the greatest joys in life is being among believers who love and serve God!

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2 Corinthians 6:17 NLT