Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm. It looks cold all over our nation and was -27 here when we got up. I love to bake when it is cold out and today I made Al’s favorite cookies. I went downstairs for coffee and Choc covered raspberries, and then we went out to Poncho Lefties for our belated Valentine dinner. I am so full! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What is really important in life?  Is it how much money we make, how many friends we have, how many degrees we have? All those things fall along the wayside if we lose our own soul. It says in Matt. 16: 26 (ESV), “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Even if we get everything we want in life but lose our soul, we are lost and bankrupt. But how much of the time do we live without giving much thought to our souls and neglect what is most important? John Ortberg writes about the parable of the Sower that Jesus told to a large crowd by the sea. Jesus must have thought it was very important for afterwards He gave the full interpretation to his disciples. The sower is the Lord who is so generous with the seed as He scatters it everywhere. But it is the soil that is the variable and much like our souls. Bottom line is that when our soul is closed it is death and if it is open and receptive it is life! The first soil mentioned is the hardened soil, much like where people and animals walk and it becomes hard and dry. The seed will not survive, much like people who have hardened souls with a protective shell around them, often out of fear. Next the shallow soil (like the shallow soul) is rocky and has only a thin layer of topsoil; chances are the seed will wither when the sun come out as the soil is not deep enough for the roots. If our lives are centered on ourselves, our soul becomes shallow and we lack empathy for others. We have depth only when connected to the Lord. The third soil is one with thorns much like cluttered souls. The seed gets choked out by desiring things of this world and becoming busy with the wrong things. It is like those who don’t recognize they are dead inside, since they are so preoccupied with activity and busyness of the world. But the good soil is one that is soft and has depth and will produce much fruit. That is what our soul longs for, that deep connection to the Lord. Ortberg writes that God designed us so that our thoughts, desires and behavior would be in harmony with each other, and this happens as we live in unbroken connection with God. Let us not live superficially but give time to our soul that is the deepest part of us and lasts forever.
Challenge for today: Confess any known sin that keeps you from deeply connecting with the Lord.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy