Dear Ones,
Hope  you wake to a glorious day. You are getting this early today as we are going to Duluth to spend some time by the water front and I’m quite sure a trip to Barnes and Noble and other shopping. It is Al’s birthday tomorrow and we are celebrating today since he will be doing a service tomorrow at Assisted Living. We also did some celebrating with the couple we walk with yesterday!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Jesus is to be our first love and we are not to give priority to other things before Him. If that is the desire of our hearts, we will want to live in awareness of His presence each day, pray, read the Word, and seek to serve him and others. And when His love is our priority, it will help us when we face difficult situations and enable us to respond in love to others.
   Every day we get tested in our love for other people and especially those that differ from us and seem to irritate us. Anger may surge between us and it blocks His love from being expressed. But what do we do with our anger?
   I am reading Michael Casey’s take on that, and he warns us not to go all the way with anger. When someone does something hurtful to us, we may want to reciprocate and inflict pain on them but it is best to recognize the feeling, and build a wall around that impulse until we have calmed down. Then we can deal with it and determine if we have over reacted or if we feel like a victim as old memories are dredged up.
   But we are not to prolong our anger and store it up, or it becomes like cancer. It eats away at us and even surfaces when we are in our prayer times. If we choose to rehearse what they did to us over and over again, we become resentful and robbed of our peace. Some can remember even minor things done to them 30 years ago. We must make the choice to forgive and put the memory away. That begins in our will and is not always easy.  Sometimes we may also need to give them breathing room for a while.
  Casey says that whether we are the giver of the hurt or the receiver of someone else’s anger, we should resolve to do our best to restore the relationship. We need to be humble and accept our part and to ask forgiveness of the other, not give the silent treatment or a storm of our anger. It doesn’t matter who is mostly wrong but only that we own our part and ask forgiveness. Jesus gives us the command in Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” That’s right, we actually pray for them and then leave it with the Lord as to how to settle things. If there is no love, then there is a blockage in us and we are failing to put the Lord first in our lives. He wants us to love all people for He is love.
  Challenge for today: Be aware when you become selective with His love and exclude others, and seek instead to love all.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy