Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to joy and peace, no matter what your circumstances are. May you have a great weekend and time to be renewed.
I plan to bake and clean today, and we hear more snow is predicted tomorrow.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We probably all have friends going through hard times and maybe dark times include us right now. But we can take heart, for the Lord is greater than anything we face and can bring us peace, even in the midst of whatever we are going through. I like what Debbie McDaniel wrote about how beauty and greatness can result from our darkness. She quotes Isaiah I:3, “He has sent me, to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of tears of grief, and clothes of praise instead of spirit of weakness.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful?! We won’t always have ashes for they will fall away but His glory will shine through the very places we are struggling with now.

The Lord will not only give us peace in our struggles but also comfort and deep joy. Sounds unbelievable but many of you have maybe experienced it, and it is hard to explain to others. The Message translation says that he cares for the needs of all who mourn and gives them bouquets of roses instead of ashes and messages of joy instead of news of doom, and a praising heart instead of languid spirit. The Lord is right there with us through it all and we can experience His peace and even a deep joy. Debbie writes a prayer that you may want to pray for yourself or send to a loved one who is going through a dark time.

Dear God,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In this season of Lent we’re reminded of our own difficulties and struggles. Sometimes the way has seemed too dark. Sometimes we feel like our lives have been marked by such grief and pain, we don’t see how our circumstances can ever change. But in the midst of our weakness, we ask that you would be strong on our behalf. Lord, rise up within us, let your Spirit shine out of every broken place we’ve walked through. Allow your power to be manifest through our own weakness, so that others will recognize it is You who is at work on our behalf. We ask that you would trade the ashes of our lives for the beauty of your Presence. Trade our mourning and grief for the oil of joy and gladness from your Spirit. Trade our despair for hope and praise. We choose to give you thanks today and believe that this season of darkness will fade away. Thank you that you are with us in whatever we face, and that you are greater than this trial. We know and recognize that you are Sovereign, we thank you for the victory that is ours because of Christ Jesus, and we are confident that you have good still in store for our future. We thank you that you are at work right now, trading our ashes for greater beauty. We praise you, for you make all things new.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Challenge for today: Trade the ashes of your life for the beauty of His presence.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy