Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! I love looking out our window and seeing the beautiful trees overladen with snow. Everything looks so fresh. This morning  I cleaned the apartment and made stroganoff to share. Today we plan to do our walk outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 I have enjoyed reading “Sacred Fire” and have gleaned so much from the book and will share a few thoughts from it. The author extends the invitation to us to not settle comfortably where we are at, but to grow and to become more like Jesus. There is always room for more growth as none of us have arrived. We are to be rooted in gratitude and recognize everything as a gift. No one owes us life. If you think about it, the most loving person we may know is probably the most grateful person. It is wonderful to be around grateful people and it gives us a sense of godliness. Of course, we will all go through suffering at times and get hurt and be treated unfairly, but it’s how we respond to the hurt that determines what kind of a person we will be.  If we forgive the person our heart becomes softened; if we choose to hold on to bitterness our heart gets hardened. But any time we are humiliated in any way, God can actually use it in our lives to help us grow and deepen our understanding of others and give empathy to them.  We must confess it is not fun at the time but later we may see the fruit of it. The author also encourages us to live openly and honestly, without hiding who we are. He warns us against living a lie for a long time, as our conscience gets warped and we won’t see our need of forgiveness. Therefore, we need to live in such a way that we would have no reason to lie about our behavior. Of course, we are all unique and we need to accept those differences we might have and be open and life-giving. We hear a lot of lies and name calling today when we hold differing views, but that shouldn’t be as Christians. We are to show respect and openness to others for none of us know perfect truth in everything. We are to be like water purifiers that take the anger and bitterness of others, and rather than dishing it back, transform it and transmit love. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4, that as we grow our very lives can become, ”fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fulling alive like Christ.”
Challenge for today: Commit to grow in the Lord and live this day to the fullest.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy