Dear Ones,
  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I imagine our thoughts now will be turning to Christmas and making preparations. This afternoon, we will be gathering downstairs to decorate the Christmas tree in the community room, each of us bringing a special decoration to hang on the tree. There will be hot cider and cookies too! This morning I am going to Aldi’s and Exercise and make a couple spaghetti pies.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Forgiveness is costly and when we forgive someone it is not excusing them or condoning what they have done but letting God give the final judgment.  He is the judge, and we are relieved of judging others because He is worthy and just. Even if the person somehow escapes punishment in this lifetime, one day he or she will have to give account to God. Wrongdoing is always punished but the crime is paid for either by us, or if we know Jesus, it is paid by His sacrifice on the cross. In Rom. 12:19, it says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

  The words of Ajith Fernando caught my attention as I have been trying to do what I wrote about previously to pray and bless those have hurt me or my loved ones. He says, “Loving a person who has hurt us activates the love of God in a way that brings healing to our wounds and releases God’s provision of strength.” He goes on to say that the most effective weapon we have against evil is good deeds motivated by love. In the past I think I have only done the first part of forgiving others, but not specifically carrying out deeds of kindness and love and blessing them. In fact, when we do that, it may even cause them to feel regret for their behavior and repent. We know Jesus paid the price fully for their sin, and they need only repent. Trying to get even, moves us in the opposite direction of reconciliation.

  There are times we are to confront, and it may be that church discipline is necessary for the one who has caused another hurt. In one church we attended, when one of the members was married but living with another woman, the Pastor and elders confronted him and delt with it, and later he repented and returned to his wife.

   All of us need to take responsibility for dealing with our own sin when we have hurt others and to seek forgiveness from the Lord but also from the one we have wounded. We name what we have done and try to make amends if possible. So whether we have been sinned against or if we have caused others hurt, let us deal with it and receive God’s grace and healing power of forgiveness.
  Challenge for today:  Do a kindness for someone who has hurt you in the past.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy