Say No to Instant Gratification

Financial Stewardship

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

Have you ever felt pressured into making an immediate decision? Most of us have been presented with “good deals” that end in a few hours or within 24 hours, and if we do not want to miss out, we must take action now.

Recently, I received a notice that the promotional price on my cable-internet bundle package was ending in 30 days. Immediately I questioned the validity of the notification; 12 months ago, I recall receiving the letter from the cable provider that for a 24 month period they would offer the lowest prices plus a gift card if I committed to the terms of the contract. After reviewing the hard copy contract, I realized that I agreed to pay regular prices after a year; however, I was still legally obligated for another 12 months to keep the services or pay an early termination fee.

The first action was to reflect: What were the factors that influenced me to agree to this good deal?

Dissatisfaction with the previous cable provider along with a promotional price for two services that were less than what I was currently paying for one service easily enabled me to make an immediate decision. In addition, I did not explore the options of good deals from other cable providers. I received a promotional via mail and from the convenience of simply dialing a number, I signed up for the opportunity to enjoy a competitively priced package–which expired within 24 hours–insufficient time to read the small print.

There are very few circumstances that require an immediate answer, and most that involve our finances do not!

  1. Always pray for guidance-if it is meant for you then God will not withhold your blessings.
  2. Take the time to research all aspects of new opportunities or better options-all that glitters is not gold.
  3. Learn to say “No, thank you.”
  4. Calculate all monthly payments from an annual perspective; an extra $40 per month adds up to $480 per year with the possibility of additional interest or other charges.

Remember that instant gratification subtracts from your financial resources, and usually results in negative outcomes.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We seek knowledge and ask for wisdom that our decisions will be based on our needs and not our desires. We ask you to help us to break the cycle of inappropriate spending habits. We ask you to help us to listen and when you say not now to be obedient. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

Thirsting for God

Oh God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NLT

Recently we traveled from Texas to New Mexico; riding hundreds of miles through the unpopulated, and arid desert. The only movement was an occasional tumbleweed that would briskly roll across the road or the blinding sandstorm that we watched from afar. And yes, I quickly prayed away the thought of having car problems in such an environment.

Although one would expect minimal signs of plant life, there are various types of plants and small trees in the parched desert of New Mexico. It is their structure that enables them to remain alive. The vegetation is short with thick trunks and branches which allows for the growth of deep and expansive roots that are sustained from the earth’s reservoir of water beneath the surface.

Spiritually, our life is comparable to living in the desert. Every day we face problems that either impact us, our family or close friends. How we choose to resolve those issues will either result in our faith dwindling away or flourishing with new growth.

When we fail to have a close relationship with God, we begin to dry up and wither. Instead of possessing the deep roots that keep us steadfast and connected to the well of living water, we become as the tumbleweed that is guided by the wind, rolling to unknown destinations.

God created us with the thirst for His water; even so, it is a free-will decision to drink from His well.

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

Remember that God has provided for our every need; His resources are abundant and He has promised to sustain us through every trial and tribulation.

Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.” John 4:10 GNT

Read: John 4:1-42

Prayer for today: Dear God, Our souls thirst for your living water. We have tried to live without you and have become tumbleweeds without purpose. Please forgive us for our attitudes of self-sufficiency. We are parched and now we are ready to accept your gift by drinking from your well of living water. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

An Abundant Life

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

If I only had the opportunity to share one life-changer, it would be to always pray. When we establish an ongoing relationship with God through prayer, we come to fully know who God is, and we are fortified with strength from His power.

When you desire change regarding a seemingly impossible situation; then you must pray, thank God for his divine intervention, wait, and exercise faith in knowing that He will work it out according to His will.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We strive for change; change from our past behaviors of neglecting our relationship with you. It is a privilege to be able to speak with you any moment of the day or night. “Who is man that you are mindful of him?” We say, “thank you” for your love, your mercy, and your grace. As we move forward in our commitment to serve you, help us to become as little children who are totally dependent. We place our lives in your hands. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

The Other Side

If I had a choice

I would rather be on the other side of the mountain

For I have struggled to climb to the top many times

Only to plunge to the bottom where the same misery and heartache eagerly waited

Although I knew it was dangerous, I decided that I could climb without the safety rope of loving myself

Again, I’m at the foot of the mountain looking up

The climb is steep, but I see the top, and I know that I will do it this time because the journey is familiar

And my safety rope is intact-I love me!

Not saying that I won’t slip or fall

But plunging to rock bottom is no longer an option

I’m climbing, I feel the difference

I made it to the top!

I do have a choice, and from now on, I will face my challenges with the strength of an Overcomer

Cause it’s awesome to be on the other side of the mountain

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019

It has been many years since I penned my book of romantic poetry: Canciones de Amor/Songs of Love.

The Other Side is a poetic expression of the continuous cycle of struggle to victory.

I was reflecting on the challenges that we face as women; mainly from the lack of support and appreciation from family, friends, spouses, co-workers, and others. There are times when our fragile hearts are broken, and we struggle just to place our feet on the floor. There are times when the loneliness is overwhelming, because we are invisible to those who surround us.

Be warned, there is danger ahead! We cannot allow our hearts to become hardened with bitterness and resentment. We must rescue ourselves from falling deeper into the abyss by empowering ourselves with self-love.

We must affirm that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. We must learn to lovingly embrace our innermost being by putting on our safety ropes and with courage climb those mountains.

There is victory on the other side of the mountain!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Preparation takes Time

“Behold I am coming quickly…” Revelation 22:7 NKJV


Nothing excites me more than traveling to places that offer beautiful landscapes. If there are multiple options to reach my destination, it is my preference to take the peaceful scenic routes as opposed to enduring the stress of driving in the chaos of bustling highways.

I have learned from experience that traveling the scenic route requires additional preparation beforehand: Vehicle supplies include printed directions with text and maps; plenty of drinking water; a cooler with healthy edibles–sandwiches, fruit, and snacks; paper towels and sanitizing hand wipes; comfortable clothing and walking shoes; and glass cleaner for the windshield. Most importantly, never let your gas tank go below half, and pay with cash.

The main highways offer constant cellular signals, well-known eateries with clean restrooms every few miles, the joy of walking within a few steps from the asphalt parking lot to the entrance of stores, malls, and gas stations where you readily use your debit/credit cards without hesitation.

So you may ask, why would you give up the modern day conveniences or choose to take the longest route which offers so little? What I value is seeing the roadrunner dart quickly, or an eagle soaring with its mighty wingspan; the breathtaking view of snow-capped mountains; wildflowers that compete with the beauty of long-stemmed roses; and the dry desert with an abundance of green plants and trees, although rain has not fallen in months.

It is the story of Creation along with the ability to enjoy a beautiful earth that silently reiterates to me that–God is love! Although I have seen nature in its magnificence, my imagination is still severely limited when I read about the New Heaven and the New Earth with a crystal clear river and a tree of life on each side, Revelation 22.

Even so, I am making preparation everyday by consecrating my life to God, by studying his Word, and by praying; because I believe in faith that Jesus is coming soon to bring my reward, and to bring the reward to all who are faithful to the end.

He which testifies these things saith, “Surely I come quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20

Prayer for today: Dear God, We bring our weaknesses before you today and ask you to give us the strength to faithfully prepare for the Second Coming of your Son–Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving us so much that you gave your Son, and you created a beautiful earth for our enrichment and enjoyment. Please help us, as we continue to make preparation for eternal life, no matter the cost, to look forward to living with you forever and ever. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

New and Improved

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1

Face value is the superficial appearance or implications of something.

To the untrained eye and mind, it is quite interesting that what is seen visually has a great influence on the perception of the person or situation.

It was quite an interesting and humorous experience last week when my husband was in the emergency room for severe leg pain. The physician inquired of the nurse as to what was going on with the old man in room 6. The old man he was referring to was my husband who has premature silvery hair and a beard with more salt than pepper colouring.

When the Doctor came into the room for the initial evaluation, he addressed my husband as young man. I can only imagine that he realized after reviewing his date of birth that he was quite mistaken in assuming that he was an old man. We were not offended and enjoyed a good laugh; because in reality, he was the older man who learned that what you see is often not the truth of the matter.

There are times when our knowledge is limited to face value, and as a result, we make decisions that create negative outcomes and undesired consequences.

When you reflect on your life, do you have a great sense of accomplishment or are you filled with regrets? It is natural for us to count our many past mistakes and wish that we had done things differently. We often identify our lack of good decision-making skills and how it has affected our lives, and perhaps the lives of others; but we become fixated on the past and become unable to rid ourselves of the stagnation of guilt.

Yes, we must acknowledge that the consequences of misaligned decisions are painful; however, consider what you have learned and how the outcome has shaped the individual that you are today. Surely the experience of those mistakes have provided an increased level of knowledge and the wisdom to develop suitable resolutions to present and future life events.

If not, do not harbor feelings of regret! We have a reason to possess joy and happiness: Jesus Christ is our greatest Advocate and Intercessor. When we confess and repent of our past mistakes, God always forgives.

Through God’s grace and mercy, we can accept His loving-kindness and move forward with the determination to become a new and improved person.

Let go of regret and defeat! Do not accept the remembrance of past transgressions from yourself or other individuals.

We are given new mercies everyday: Embrace the godly person you are maturing into, and move forward in the strength of our Savior, and Lord–Jesus Christ.

Prayer for today: Dear God, We thank you for your grace and mercy. We ask for forgiveness of our sins. We ask you to help us to forgive ourselves for our past and present mistakes. We ask you for wisdom as we seek after knowledge. We ask you for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that influences us to align our solutions according to your will. Thank you for the ability to obtain spiritual growth and the blessing to become new and improved. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz