Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day as tomorrow it is going to be in the 90’s again. I made stroganoff and did food prep etc. and soon our grandson is stopping by. This afternoon we are blessed to have friends coming over for coffee and prayer and fellowship.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How grateful are we? Morris West, and Australian novelist writes in his essays titled, A View from the Ridge, about gratitude. He said, “Life has served me as it serves everyone, sometimes well and sometimes ill, but I have learned to be grateful for the gift of it, for the love that began it and other loves with which I have been so richly endowed.” He was around 75 years old at the time and felt that forgiveness follows gratitude; the more we are grateful the more easily we have the strength to forgive. 
Of course, we have all been wounded and hurt by others, treated unfairly and we often close down and struggle to forgive. Henry Nouwen said we can go through life with the posture of paranoia, symbolized by a closed protective fist or one of metanoia (Greek word for above mind… a mind that rises above self-interest) symbolized by open hands and being able to trust. I suspect that we all have times when we are protective and full of self with our hands clinched; and other times when we are open and warm and forgiving with our hands open wide. In fact, on the same day, we can be warm towards someone and after they do something we don’t approve of, we can shut them off. But we need always to keep our eyes on the One that has forgiven us all our failures, mistakes and sins, and forgive others. 
The Lord is like a purifier or filter and takes in our hatred and bitterness and holds it and transforms it and gives back love. Stephen did that as well as he prayed forgiveness for those who were stoning him. Rather than give back in kind how people treat us, like hate for hate, which would seem to be an immediate response, we return love and forgiveness. Only as we are connected to the Lord in gratitude and love, can we do this. Are there people in our life that are waiting for our forgiveness?  I know when my brother was dying, he asked forgiveness of anyone who he thought he may have hurt or offended. It says in Col. 3:13, “The Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” Let us also remember that as we have grace to forgive others, we also need grace to forgive ourselves!
Challenge for today: Out of a grateful heart of being forgiven, extend forgiveness to others.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy