Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend! To start off my week I am going to the dentist early this morning to get my temporary implants put in. Not my favorite way to start the day but necessary! Emoji We have a funeral also, but I’m not sure yet if I can make that. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I am a fortunate wife that has a library at my fingertips. Whenever I finish reading a book, there is always more books in Al’s study. I rarely buy a book in the bookstore for it may be that Al already has it and I often ask him to pick out books for me as he knows the authors that I like etc. On vacation I began reading a 600-page book on Elizabeth Elliot that Al bought me for my birthday. This will take me some time to read but I already think that any problems I may face are miniscule compared to what she experienced.

Lately most of the books I have read have been on forgiveness and each one seems to go into greater depth; I think it is an important teaching for the Body of Christ for in the days to come, things are going to get worse in our culture. We are going to need to unite closely with other believers for strength to stand. We won’t capitalize on our differences and hurts but focus on God’s grace and strength to stand united in Christ.

Right now, I am reading theologian Lewis Smedes’ book on “The Art of Forgiving” and will share some of his thoughts. We all have wounds inflicted on us by others and we only punish ourselves when we refuse to forgive and seek to get revenge. Instead, forgiveness is a gift God gives us for our healing before we can help others. In a nutshell he writes about the stages of forgiveness, the first being the discovery of the humanity of others; instead of seeing them through the lens of being a horrible enemy that is almost like scum in our eyes, we start the miracle of forgiving by seeing them as a failed human being, a person who is bruised and broken like we are. Next, we surrender our right to get even by making them feel the pain they inflicted on us. We give up our vengeance and getting back at them. It is not the same as justice for like the person who tried to kill Pope John Paul and was forgiven, still had to serve his time in jail. The third stage is revising our feelings as we begin to see them differently after we have looked at them through a different lens. We start having feelings of good will, rather than hate, toward, although it may come slowly. One day we will be able to bless them and we will know we have forgiven. Let us purpose to forgive all who have hurt us, remembering that others will need to extend forgiveness to us as well.

Challenge for today: Think of someone who caused you pain in the past and ask the Lord to help you see their brokenness, give up the right to get even, and then to see them through His eyes.  
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy