Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend.  It is -4  and itis likely we will be walking in the underground again! This morning a I made S.F. Peanut Blossom cookies and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Joy is a fruit of the spirit and is not dependent on our circumstances. We can experience deep joy, even the midst of our suffering. I have been reading Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, and he tells them in I Thess.1:6 (God’s Word), “You imitated us and the Lord. In spite of a lot of suffering, you welcomed God’s word with the kind of joy that the Holy Spirit gives.” The Christians were being persecuted and suffering for their beliefs and yet they had joy. The Message translation says, “Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit-taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.”
When we believe in Jesus, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps us think His thoughts and view things from His higher perspective. This can look quite different than the outlook the world would give and in the midst of our trials, we can have deep down joy.
Recently, we received a beautifully written poem by our friend David who is losing his wife who is in her sixties, to late-stage Alzheimers and he titled it “Treasure from Love”. It is only God that can give peace like a gently flowing mountain stream when we see our partner slipping away a little more each day. He and his wife had a bucket list with their future dreams but their worldly bucket had a hole in it. Now it is replaced with a spiritual bucket list that has to do with God’s goal with treasures in heaven.
He also writes about how he goes to God in silence to listen to what the Holy Spirit would tell him and to shine His light of God’s love. “Love becomes like a heart-shaped stepping stone, giving a new appreciation for the cross and blood.”
Satan wants to tell him God’s love is fragile and weak but He is experiencing that God’s love is strong and powerful and available to all who seek. He goes on to write,
“Jesus, darkness has emerged. I need strength to stand alone.  
Your spiritual bucket treasure will have everything needed and known.
The treasures that we learned from yesterday will be with us today.
The spiritual treasures are eternal and will never go away.”
He closes saying that only Jesus has the power to lift our darkness and set us free and we need to have faith and to believe.
May each of us find his deep joy and freedom even in the midst of dark times.”
Challenge for today: Make a spiritual bucket list.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy