Dear Ones, 
  I am writing early today as we are going to Hastings for the funeral this morning of our friend Helen. Please pray for the family as her hubby and  8 children and their spouses and many grandchildren are left behind. We know she is now with the Lord and for that we rejoice. May we all run the race bravely, as the song goes, until our time comes to also leave this world to be forever with HIm. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   God’s gifts are ultimately good, even when we may not exactly view them that way initially.  We might ask ourselves how often do we accept the trials in our lives as a welcoming gift from Him. But if we are honest, we must admit that some of the best lessons we have learned has been through times of pain and testing. James 1:2 says “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
  So much of our learning and growth however, depends on our response to those difficult times. I know I often thank the Lord now for a hard experience Al and I endured in one of our churches. But at the time, I would have loved if the Lord would have quickly moved us on to another church but that wasn’t His way. He taught me so much that He used later in my life in ministering to other Pastors and wives who came to Canaan’s Rest to share their struggles.
  In all of our trials, it is good for us to seek to find gold in them. What is the message the Lord is trying to get through to us? When we face our hurts with His help, it may be the very place He is trying to instruct us and open our eyes so our relationship with Him can deepen.
   I believe that things are going to continue to get darker in our world and a time of severe testing for us as Christians. Will we become fearful and confused and take the role of a victim or will we be an overcomer who experiences God’s power? We can make the decision even ahead of time that we will not give up but go through it redemptively and hang on to the Lord even tighter.
   One day our trials will be over and whatever we suffer in this life will be rewarded with a crown of life. Like the song goes,
                          “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus
                           Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ
                           One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase
                           So, bravely run the race, till we see Christ.”
 Let us not despair through the hard times but know that they are also a gift as God draws us closer to Him.
Challenge for today: Embrace and give thanks for whatever gifts God sends to you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy