Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We love this beautiful weather for this time of the year and look forward to our walk in nature each day.  This morning I wrote letters and made Mexican pies and S.F. Choc chip cookies. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Who has the first word? God does! Who has the last word? God does!  Whatever God spoke it came into being. I love the Psalms and usually read one each day, along with other readings. Psalms is called the prayer book of the Bible and I was most interested what Pastor Eugene Peterson had to say to his congregation about the book of Psalms. He shared how God speaks and our part is to listen to Him, and then to pray, which means giving our attention to Him. That makes God in charge of prayer too, for He speaks first and then we listen. Peterson goes on to say how we are to learn to listen reverently by praying the Psalms and “we are most ourselves when we pray.” It should be our first language! I’m sure you have also noticed how many Psalms are written by David in the most varied and sometimes extreme circumstances. He didn’t just talk about God but to Him.  He didn’t pray surface prayers but used what was happening in his life to become prayer. Psalms are poetry which is not just telling us something new but draws us into the depth of reality and helps us recognize what we often overlook. The Psalmist teaches us how to respond to Him as we hear Him speak. Peterson said, “If we pray without first listening, we pray out of context.” We listen first and then pray. Our culture isn’t much for listening and waiting; but if we listen first to what God is speaking, we can learn much from David how to answer Him. It is not by hiding how we feel for David certainly expresses exactly what is going on inside. We are all familiar with Psalm 23, and can picture God as our Shepherd and one who is good and present. Peterson writes that in verses 1-4 we are pictured as His sheep and known for wandering off and not being so smart. Dumb in fact! The shepherd uses his rod and staff to protect us and lead us into safe places where we are given water and grass and a place to lie down. In verses 5-6 the sheep image is changed to that of a fugitive as God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. The desert was the home of a fugitive but he was always welcomed into the Shepherd’s tent as a guest and furnished with food and water. It was a safe place for him just as it is for us. And the last verse reminds us of what we can experience in our lifetime with Him, “Surely only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through this length of my days and the house of the Lord (and His presence) shall be my dwelling place.” (Amplified version) May our Good Shepherd guide us all through our life and through the valley of the shadow of death, until He speaks the last word and we will live for Him forever.
Challenge for today: Listen first to the Lord and then read Psalm 23 slowly and meditatively.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy