Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Yesterday we had a guest speaker, Pastor Brandt, who is like a pastor to the pastors, and he had a great message.  It is not as warm today but we have sunshine! Emoji This morning I studied, made cookies and food prep, and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we have soft pliable hearts or are they hardened and bitter? I think we can all attest that our hearts are not always pure and kind but can harbor bitterness, envy, resentment etc. Jesus said to the crowd on the mountain, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) At times we may complain that God seems distant from us and blinded from our sight, but do we stop and consider the darkness in our own hearts? We may be filled with negative thoughts and bad attitudes, and infected with bitterness. When we hear that, we may say, “That is not me!” But if we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal our hearts to us, we may be surprised at what is lurking there. Perhaps someone said some caustic words to us and we are filled with negative retorts, at least in our minds. Or maybe another person stepped into our space and got the promotion that we were so sure we would get. We become envious and begin rehearsing all the negative traits about that person. Or how could the person who promised to love us always, simply leave us? Even when the worst happens, 
Jesus tells us to forgive, and that is not optional. If we fail to do that, we are warned that a root of bitterness will grow in our hearts and can not only affect us but those around us. We have only to think of families where one person has been hurt and the whole family ends up isolating that one who caused the pain from their lives. The cancer of bitterness spreads and defiles many! If we are to have compassionate soft hearts, we must forgive and not hang on to resentments, even if what they did is terribly wrong. Jesus went so far as to ask His Father to forgive the very ones who crucified Him.
 I  read from Voice of the Martyrs of the woman who stood by her husband’s coffin at his funeral and forgave those that killed him. She and her husband had refused to take the tribal oath because they valued their faith more than tribal loyalties. Her husband was beaten to death and she was also beaten. But she said to all, “I, as his widow, also tell all of you, in the presence of my dead husband, that I hate none of those who killed him. I love the killers, I forgive them, knowing that Christ has died for them too.” May we not let our hearts be hardened by unforgiveness but let His love soften those places that hurt.
Challenge for today: When you are tempted to get even, forgive and give it to God, and let Him tend your heart.