Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have time to get refreshed. As I look out on the courtyard, I notice we got a little more snow in the night. With the cold temperatures, Al and I sometimes opt for walking in the underground some days rather than outside.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Marriage is on the decline today as many are choosing not to marry or have kids. The divorce rate keeps climbing even among Christian couples and so many homes have only one parent. What has happened to our culture and how do we prepare young people for marriage? I listened to a podcast of a friend’s 3 sons who were interviewed and their love for the Lord just flowed out of them. They were raised in a loving home where Jesus was honored and worshiped, and they were helped to find the gifts God has placed in them. Their parents lived Jesus and affected their lives in a big way!

  I recently read an article by Alicia Searl who shares about the threats to marriage today. The enemy tries to destroy the marriage relationship which is the very picture of Christ’s love for His church. It is important for Christian couples to guard and protect the sanctity of marriage and not take the world’s view but see it from God’s lens as a holy union and offer our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies as a gift to one another. (Eph. 5:;22-30)

  We must spend time communicating with one another face to face, and grow in intimacy, rather than spending so much time on our phones, social media, and zoning out.  We can also get caught up in busyness and trying to juggle too many things into our schedules, with no time left to connect. Maybe it is time to pause and look over our schedules and build in time for each other. When our kids were little and tucked in bed, Al and I spent the last 20 minutes of the day sharing together of our day and any concerns and then praying together. Now we start our day in prayer together and then later walk the trail together and share as we walk. Communication is super important and even though men and women communicate differently, we need to listen to one another and seek to hear what each is saying without interrupting.

  Alicia warns against going to pornographic sites, and getting acquainted with others on social media that take your focus away from our spouse. Each couple can discuss boundaries, so we keep ourselves only for each other. Next to the Lord, our spouse should be our next priority, and let us put time, energy and effort into that relationship. If you are reading this and not married, God can use you to help others by encouraging them, praying for those who are going through ups and downs to not to give up, and maybe even babysitting so a couple can have a date night. May Chrisitan marriages speak a message to the world of Jesus love for His church!
  Challenge for today: Make love your aim to love God above all and then others as yourself!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy