Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Today I woke to fresh snow covering the ground and trees and looks a little more like Christmas is on its way.  I took a friend to the Dollar Store this morning and did some studying and food prep. Should be a beautiful walk this afternoon. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are all on a journey of our souls and sometimes we may feel like we are stagnant and yet we want to cultivate a fresh intimacy with the Lord. It could be that we are recognized and applauded, and everything is outwardly going well, but yet our souls feel dry and parched. 
Bill and Kristi Gaultiere wrote Journey of the Soul, and I have been reading their practical guide to emotional and spiritual growth. Bill is a pastor and psychologist and Kristi is a marriage and family therapist, and they share very candidly from their own life experiences. They write about how we can all get in trouble when we rely on ourselves rather than the Spirit, which we may all know from experience. They give a map of stages in our life’s journey that are circular, rather than linear, since we often revisit the places we have been before.
We start out with receiving the Lord and our confidence is in Him. We then go on to grow in grace along with other Christians and practice spiritual disciplines. After that it seems we use our gifts and have responsibilities in ministry to serve God. But then we often fail to rely on the Holy Spirit, and it follows that we become spiritually dry and hit the Wall. That often wakes us and leads us to take the inner journey as we share our emotional distress with a safe person, and in prayer come to a new place of intimacy with the Lord. We can then go on to Spirit-led ministry where we serve God by working in harmony with Him rather than doing things in our own strength. That leads us to the next stage of transformation when we practice the Presence in all we do. Our life becomes one of joy and of love as we come to love in deep ways, even to love our enemies. 
We all have ups and downs in our journey of faith and we need to rely on the presence and power of the Spirit and not ourselves. Professor and author Dallas Willard once said, “Do your best, but don’t trust your best—trust God.”
As we go through the stages of emotional and spiritual growth, let us not trust our own abilities but rely on the power of the Spirit and place our confidence in the Lord. We are all at different places in our journey, but let us remember it is walk of grace and keep moving. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Gal. 5:25 (ESV)
Challenge for today: Care for your soul and rest in grace.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy