Dear Ones,
  Happy Christmas Weekend!  Hope you are keeping warm on this cold weekend. This morning I cleaned the apartment and did food prep and some packing. Tomorrow we plan to go to the Lake and have a Christmas dinner with Ann’s family. We also hope to get home in time to go to the Christmas candlelight service at our church. Then on Saturday we all go to the cities to celebrate with extended family.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How hard it is to let go of our old ego, to die to our old self that keeps wanting to rise up again. We all go through humbling times and we may want to strike back when someone treats us wrongly but that is not the Jesus way. We must move on from an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, as Jesus calls us to refrain from seeking to get even. That is a hard one for sure. He says in Matt. 5:38-42 (Message), “Here’s what I propose: Don’t hit back at all. If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
  The closer we grow to the Lord, the less we have to get upset about. It is great when people treat us well but of course we all will experience times when we are blamed, taken advantage of and spoken against. Our natural inclination is to stand up and defend ourselves and our reputation. John Michael Talbot writes about an extreme example of nonresistance that I just marvel at. The desert father, Marcarius, was falsely accused of fathering a child by a promiscuous woman. Instead of trying to get justice, he passively accepted the blame and cared for the woman and the coming baby. The birth was a difficult one with much pain and the woman believed it was a sign from God and she repented and cleared the monk’s good name. The townspeople also repented for they had judged him, but Marcrius didn’t gloat but went on as if nothing had ever happened.
   Would that describe us? I am quite sure I may have tried to defend myself. There are times I have done that in the past, but it would have been better if I would have let it go and endured it silently.  May we all seek to die more to ourselves and not react but embrace the cross.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help your respond in love to those who do you harm and not react but pray.
Blessings on your Christmas weekend. Love, Judy