Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Our door has been plastered with cards and it is fun to open the door and find even more! Today I am baking Oh Henry bars and going to Aldi’s and my exercise class before Al and I go to Culver’s for lunch. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  When we start out good in a race and may leader of the pack, we feel energized and hopeful. We are determined we will keep going no matter what the cost for we want to go across that finish line to victory. We reject thoughts of giving up even when we start feeling weary. But something often happens along the way. We may see the progress of another runner and some discouraging thoughts filter into our minds. Or we may start questioning if it is worth it to expend all this energy and time when friends are simply out for fun. The enthusiasm of starting out fresh is one thing but keeping on when we are tired is another thing.
  In my devotions I have been in the book of Kings and reading about King Solomon. He started out so good, wanting wisdom from God rather than riches and a long life etc. And God was so lavish in His giving to him and not only gave Solomon wisdom but wealth and power and honor and a long life, if he followed His ways. He began well and was blessed beyond imagination with wisdom and riches etc., that was until he got sidetracked and began to take on foreign wives who were worshipers of idols. He lost sight of the finish line and even built high places for idol worship. How sad to begin well but to lose sight of the finish line.
   What about us? When we first came to know the Lord, we were so full of joy and enthusiasm and probably believed we would run with Him every moment. But often things distract us, and our hearts get focused on other things and take His place. Even the small decisions we make can put us in a place of compromise and later we find ourselves slowing down or quitting.
  Our son was asked by our granddaughter and her fiancé if he would marry them. He has taken this privilege seriously and has just started giving them premarital counseling. He is reading a book to help open up to ways to keep the Lord first and then to help the two of them to run together always. The first surprise mentioned in the book is that one day their eyes will open up to the fact that their perfect mate may be selfish! And not long after they will notice that they themselves may also be selfish! Our human nature is selfish and as we run together, we will find that the Lord starts helping us to deal with that, and to have Him first and others second and ourselves last. That is a lifelong lesson for all of us, and the more we die to self, the less encumbered we will be as we run towards the finish line.
  Let us all set our eyes on the Lord and ask Him to keep the finish line before us and to run well.
Challenge for today: Run with endurance the race the Lord sets before you that you may finish strong.  (Heb. 12: 1-2)
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy