Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! There is a gentle rain as I look out my window and every thing looks so fresh. I just finished cleaning the apt. washing, and made meatloaf. This afternoon we are invited to an appreciation party next door at Assisted Living for the volunteers who help there. Since Al gives services there each month we will be going and I think we will be making sundaes. Emoji  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Today we hear often of the loneliness of our culture and how many people feel that they have no one that they can depend on or would notice their absence if they suddenly disappeared. How sad! We were all created not only to be in fellowship with the Lord but to be in relationship with others in community.
  If we grew up in a small town, it was like community for people knew us and our history and our quirks too. Mostly they were probably supportive of us and we felt accountable in many ways for they knew all about us. Most of us now live in the cities and we have to make efforts to find community where we can meet with others, appreciate and help one another and grow together.
   We have just celebrated Easter and what did the disciples do after Jesus’ resurrection but to gather together in community. They shared life together, prayed together, and probably asked questions of one another and became His church on earth. It’s wonderful when we also find a group where we can belong and grow together. We have been in several small groups over time and all of them quite different from one another; but it was a place to be honest and accountable, to share our gifts and receive the gifts of others, and to learn and grow in new ways.
  Before we even moved from the parsonage to our first home, we knew we would need community. We joined with two other Christian couples that also lived on the lake and met together every other week for many years. It was a place we could pray together, study together, could ask questions and receive discernment. When Al was considering retirement, we met one night as a clearing committee; we waited in silence and then we asked him questions. No one told Al what he should do but in the questioning, it became clear that, yes, it was time to retire. Other groups we were in we shared our spiritual journeys, our family lives, our areas of struggles etc.
  Christian small groups should b a place where we become more transformed into His image and deal with the things that hinder. It doesn’t mean we will automatically love everyone right away as God will use some of them to polish our rough edges. As it says in Prov. 27:17 (Message), “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.”
Challenge for today: Be open to joining a small group or starting a new one with the intent to grow.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy