God’s Love for Humanity: The Bond of Family

Long before the pandemic, I have traveled throughout the world, even to the most remote places. And all of my travels were possible because of technology. Yes, I am an enthusiastic virtual traveler. The authentic and pure beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me. But there is something else that places me in awe of God, our Creator: the uniqueness and diversity of human beings.

Because we only have a close estimate of the world’s population, I would venture to say we are closer to 8 billion people. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…Genesis 1:26 BSB.¬†The thought of almost 8 billion people with a unique set of fingerprints and outward appearances that differ as the flowers speak of the phenomenal love of God. Have you considered that every human being possesses DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid: a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code, which is God-created and God-designed? And it is DNA, the cord that connects all human beings as one family.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we immediately become part of the family of God, which is all-inclusive. There are character traits that Believers must possess:

    1. And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:10-12 BSB
    2. Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
    3. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
    4. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5: 22-23
    5. If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

We are required to embrace the concept of all humanity as one family: “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37, Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “Matthew 22:36-39.

Deal-Breaker

Have you ever been excited about buying something, and then you found out there was a catch to it? Cable companies are notorious for using the hook of an offered price, maybe $99 a month, but with the list of taxes, and fees the monthly rate actually turns out to be $129 a month. Gimmicks are certainly one of the easiest ways to convince a potential customer to spend more money than planned or if you immediately recognize what is going on, you can say no thank you. Still, the deceit is a deal-breaker!

Spiritual Deal-Breaker

Anger, holding grudges, and disliking others for any reason excludes us from being a Believer and part of the Family of God. When we embrace and practice unforgiveness, prejudices, biases, racism, and the principle of exclusion based on cultural and family traditions, social and economic status, religious differences, negative experiences, or personal choice, we are not obeying the commandments of God. Sadly, many who say they love God will miss out on the reward of Eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth because of their “dislike” for others.

Hate is a strong word that most do not embrace. We use the phrase, “I just dislike her, him, or them” to minimize and support our bitter fruit of hate. What does God say about love and hate for others?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

God has no-compromise guidelines for our relationship with Him and with others. The first four, 1-4, commandments of the Ten Commandments describe what our relationship with God looks like, and the second set of commandments, 5-10, describe the way to live right with other people. Accepting that God created all human beings, regardless of the human-made labels of race, ethnicity, and nationality, requires that we abide by all of His commandments, which are based on unconditional love for God and one other.

Spiritual Deal-Breaker

In many homes, unconditional love and forgiveness are not present, which provides the foundation for disunity, friction, and unhealthy relationships among biological family members. The causes may be unstable marriages, parental favoritism, privileges given to male children over female children, sibling rivalry, and physical, mental, and emotional abuse, along with many other reasons.

Even so, we do not have to end up where we started. When we decide to become a Believer, the Holy Spirit helps us discard our previous ungodly behaviors.¬†And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 2 Corinthians 5:17.¬†To become a part of God’s family requires for us to possess the qualities that are pleasing to God. Our life-long journey is to strive toward spiritual perfection, which means that we live holy and acceptable lives.

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

If you are in a dysfunctional family relationship, then pray and take action. First, pray and ask God if you are the problem. It takes more than one person to argue and to be involved in verbal sparring. A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22. Do you smile, laugh, and say positive words? Believers should not have negative thoughts, verbalize harsh words, or be constant complainers. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. God has exceptionally high expectations of our character, Galatians 5:22-23, and how we treat others. Unconditional love empowers us to always treat each other with kindness and gentleness. We are to possess and represent the Character of Christ, so the world can see that being part of the family of God includes having a loving disposition, even under the most severe circumstances.

If you refer to the introductory paragraph, you will recall that I spoke about being a virtual traveler. However, it is my nursing career that provided the opportunity to interact and befriend individuals from diverse backgrounds. Yes, I am fully aware that cultural restrictions exist, and many individuals do not enjoy the freedom of making decisions to place themselves into the best situation. And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14. Even so, this is when we exercise our faith and watch for the powerful Divine Intervention of our Heavenly Father.

There are always benefits to serving God. He is forever faithful!¬†Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26.¬†Never feel that you do not have the option to leave an unhealthy relationship. God loves you. He is your Jehovah-Jireh, always providing.¬†‚ÄúI am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

When we accept Jesus Christ, we willingly place ourselves in the care of God, our Heavenly Father. First, affirm that you are part of the family of believers in the Most-High God. If you are in an unhealthy family environment, then take action. Pray as never before! God does not require us to stay in abusive situations. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24

Think about this concept; there are close to 8 billion people in this world. Not only are there countless believers present in every continent and country, but God also has legions of messenger angels that can represent themselves in human form. Pray, believe, and wait for God to demonstrate His mighty power to deliver you. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Daniel was delivered from the lion’s den: Daniel Saved from the Lions

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no musicians were brought before him. Also, his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now, the king was exceedingly glad for him and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury was found on him because he believed in his God.

Do not look at your circumstances!

And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6. 

Human Effort:¬†Submission to God requires humility and obedience, which are absolute requirements to be a part of God’s Family. We must take an active role in eliminating all unrighteousness from our lives.¬†Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Human Effort: Serving God always means that we have to relinquish the things that prevent us from having an up-close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. Giving up the obstacles of people, places, and things allows us to enjoy God’s perfect peace. Living righteously, and loving others with unconditional love, prepares us for the perfect life in the New Heaven and the New Earth where only perfect love will abide.

Divine Intervention: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

“Oh, how He loves you and me. He gave His life on Calvary, oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me. Oh, how He loves you and me.”

God, we thank you for creating the institution of family. We also thank you for the privilege of being your children and part of the family of Believers. We ask you to forgive us of the sins of hatred and all prejudice. Please help us realize that we share a common bond regardless of the world’s labels based on race, religion, creed, or color. We ask you to teach us how to love unconditionally and to get rid of bitterness, strife, and malice. It is our desire to have eternal life. Thank you for the Sabbath and the opportunity to deepen our relationship with you by putting all secular activities aside for 24 hours. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.  

Love God, Love Others, and Love yourself!

God’s Love for Humanity: Jehovah Jireh-Our Provider

At the age of 5, I was taught a simple song: “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so.” As a young child, I did not understand the significance of those words, nor did I realize that Jesus agreed to make the ultimate sacrifice, and He died on the cross to redeem humanity from sin. I understood that Jesus was in heaven with God, His Father, and He loved me even more than my parents.¬†Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3 “Truly I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4

Fast forward almost six decades, and one would think that my faith is rock-solid strong, and I live a worry-free life 100% of the time. But sadly, that is not my testimony. There are times that I lose my spiritual strength when the going gets tough. Still, I faithfully pray and ask God to forgive me for my faithlessness. Recently, God intervened by allowing a sermon entitled, “Lord help my mind,” to show up on my social media page. It had to be Divine intervention because I was not familiar with the Pastor, and I have filters set to block channels that I have not subscribed to. Even so, God always answers our prayers and provides when we need His help! Hallelujah!

When Jesus chose the 12 disciples to follow Him, they were required to leave their homes, families, and jobs.¬†Jesus called together his twelve disciples. He gave them the power to force out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. Matthew 10:1 CEV. If you can take a few moments, please read the chapter. Pay close attention to verses 5-15, which are entitled, “Instructions for the Twelve Apostles.”¬†

Don’t take along any gold, silver, or copper coins. 10 And don’t carry a traveling bag or an extra shirt or sandals or a walking stick. Matthew 10:9-10.¬†Stretch your imagination, and apply these directives to a recent job offer. If the employer offered the job with these requirements, would I be presumptuous in saying that most of us would decline the position? Even if we accepted the job, we would have many questions that needed concrete answers before leaving our personal effects at home.¬†

Do you believe that God is your Jehovah-Jireh, Our Provider?

Often, there is a wall of “Doubt and Disbelief” that surrounds our minds from the front, back, and both sides. We only believe as far as our eyes can see, or we rely on the methods that we used to resolve our previous challenges. It is easy to convince ourselves that our actions from self-reliance gave us the positive outcomes. But faith requires trust and obedience in God while we patiently wait for His answer. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we experienced a spiritual transformation and became His disciples. Sadly, even though God has blessed us with all of our necessities; a job, shelter, clothing, and food, still, we do not possess unwavering faith in God when hard times arise.

Uncertainty, fear of failure, and self-reliance places us in direct conflict with God. Our lack of faith puts us in a spiritual dilemma: And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6. 

Jesus’ disciples did not question their instructions, nor did they complain about their lifestyle restrictions. It was by their faith-believing in God and His promises-that they readily accepted the conditions of discipleship. Jesus has told us in advance that if we become His disciples, we will have many trials and sorrows. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 CSB

Faith brings the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. …18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans‚ÄĒI will come to you. John 14:16-18

Before Jesus’ death, He gathered the disciples together to tell them that although he was physically leaving, He would send the Holy Spirit to lead, direct, and provide comfort to them. Believing in and being filled with the Holy Spirit is part of our spiritual walk of faith. Have you ever felt distraught and prayed, and then you experienced peace and felt the assurance that everything would work out according to God’s plan? It is the Holy Spirit that provides the inner spiritual peace that a software app that uses guided imagery to provide temporary tranquility can never offer. Are you unable to discern truth from misinformation? Then pray and ask for understanding and wisdom. Yes, giving us knowledge and discernment are functions of the Holy Spirit. Are you experiencing sorrow from the loss of loved ones? Pray and ask God to provide you with comfort, and the Holy Spirit will initiate the healing of your broken heart.

Faith brings Victory

God is transparent, He does not tell us that our lives will be easy. Because of His  unconditional love, God prepares us for the struggles ahead. In studying the Bible, we do not have to guess what our lives will be like as His disciples. Traveling down the narrow Path of Righteousness is a bumpy ride with many potholes (our trials and tribulations). Even so, if we keep our minds focused on Jesus through faith, trust, and obedience, He has promised to lead and guide us safely through. It is the loving hands of Jesus that comes to our rescue and lifts us out of the potholes. All He asks of us is that we have steadfast and immovable faith, the consistent faith that causes us to believe in Him in every situation and under all circumstances. 

Faith brings Joy

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5

Faith brings Peace and Contentment

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11.¬†We do not have to feel anxious or worried. Our commitment to serve God includes living a peaceful life as long as we fulfill His Divine purpose for our lives.

Faith brings Provisions

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life‚ÄĒwhether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.¬†Why do you have so little faith?¬†33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25, 30, 33-34 NLT

God knows everything about us, even the number of the hairs on our heads.¬†And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. Luke 12:7. In our neighbothood, we have the privilege to hear the birds every morning and evening chirping as loud as they can; even the birds know that God is their Jehovah-Jireh. Never forget who we belong to, God knows our every need. Let us embrace our Heavenly Father and give Him the praise, the thanksgiving, and the honor for being our Jehovah-Jireh.

Human Effort + Divine Intervention = Victory

God, we want to thank you for being our Heavenly Father who continues to provide for us even when we forget to thank you. Please forgive us for our doubt and unbelief. Thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercies. We commit to building our faith and trust in you by praying and patiently waiting for you to provide and resolve our problems. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author. 

Happy Sabbath-Your Divine Purpose

Are you aware that each of us who has joined the Army of God has a Divine purpose? Without exception, yes, we do. 

When God called Jeremiah, he was young and fearful. Yet, as only our Heavenly Father can, God not only reassured him that He would be with him at all times, God also promised young Jeremiah that He would tell him what to say.

The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah. Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions. Jeremiah 1:2

4 The Lord gave me this message: 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” 6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” 7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” 8 “And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth!” Jeremiah 1:4-9

In 2015, I injured my left knee, which left me in an immobilizer and on crutches. I was on vacation in another state and limited to very few activities. When the Emergency Room physician came in to speak to me about the extent of the injury, he inquired as to why I was visiting Upstate, New York. I explained that I used to live there and was on vacation to see friends. He stated, “Have a great time, but I need you do me a favor, as soon as you return to Texas please make an urgent appointment with an Orthopedic Dr.”

Little did I realize, the Ortho consult would reveal information that would significantly impact my life. After looking at numerous knee x-rays, the Orthopedic surgeon began to inquire if I had previous problems with my knees. I gave him the history of experiencing bilateral knee pain while standing for long periods. His next words were like a hammer striking a nail that would not go down into the wood, “Compared to your age, I have never seen damage like this, what do you do for a living?” To which I replied, “This is my 37th year as a Nurse.” And then He delivered the final blow, “Well, Sonya, your career as a nurse is over!”

As I struggled to comprehend the seriousness of his statement, my voice quivered when I asked, “What do you mean?” As we reviewed my x-rays, the Doctor explained that my knees were bone-on-bone. The cartilage that cushions the knee joint was worn away from the many years of delivering patient care, and I needed total replacements in both knees. I left the Doctors office with a customized knee brace and for three months focused on the healing process as I endured the rigors of aquatic physical therapy.

After seeking a second and third opinion, which confirmed my diagnosis, I gradually accepted that walking on sand, grass, uneven surfaces, riding a bike, and climbing up and down steps was over. My love of roller-coaster rides came to a halt due to the jerking motions that could cause further damage to my knees. Still, I worked for two more years in a non-clinical setting that did not involve patient care. But in 2017, my knee gave way, and I sustained a fall with injuries, causing retirement from active nursing in 2017.

I remained on an emotional roller-coaster. I had devoted my life to caring for those in need, using every opportunity to share the love of Jesus. My heart was heavy. Every day I thought about the fact that I could not function as a nurse. In my sorrow, I prayed and asked God what He wanted me to do? It was then that God revealed His miraculous plans for my life. While cleaning out a file drawer, I found a sermon that I delivered in 2007, titled, Feed My Sheep. Little did I realize that 10 years later, I would begin sharing the good news that Jesus loves us, Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, and that Jesus is coming again to online readers on a global level. Mainly due to my limited tech skills.

God paved the way to facilitate my recovery by improving by health. I attended a seminar on using a plant-based diet to reverse Diabetes. Not only did I lose weight, I no longer required anti-diabetic medication. My lifestyle has completely changed allowing me to achieve an optimal level of health. Although my physical activity is restricted, I can walk one-mile and I rejoice that I have been delivered from the chronic pain that I suffered from. I eagerly await God’s promises of a physical transformation in which I will receive new knees that will never grow old.

I am sharing my testimony to encourage others. God revealed His Divine purpose for my life when I was suffering from the agony of defeat. Praise God! Hallelujah! When God ordains your purpose, nothing can prevent it from coming to fruition. Pray and ask God to reveal His Divine purpose for your life. Just as He told Jeremiah, I am with you, and I will tell you what to say, God is with us.

The Great Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1

God, thank you for the Sabbath. We ask you to reveal your Divine purpose for our lives. Please give us the courage to overcome our fears as we fulfill your plans for our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.

© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.