Hope you have a good weekend wrapped in His peace! This morning I made egg dishes and went downstairs for coffee. It’s been a while. Ann came and we had a good visit before she went shopping. I am a little sore today from my strength building class yesterday but I aim to go again!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we known as great lovers…lovers of God, lovers of others and even lovers of ourselves in the Lord? Jesus told us in I John 13:34-35 (God’s Word), “I’m giving you a new commandment; Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.” Jesus didn’t say just love those that agree with you, those that bless you and are kind to you and speak well of you. No, He includes those that persecute us, speak evil of us, and hate us. That is a tall order and we can only do this with the same love He loves us. Today it is so sad to see hate messages on Facebook from Christians who are the very ones called to love and bless others. The enemy rejoices when he sees churches divided, friends separated and families split. Satan has already won if we base our love for others on how well they treat us or if we are in agreement. No, we are told, “Let all be done in love.” That means feeding our enemy, not rejoicing when they fall, repaying evil with good, and blessing our enemies and praying for them. What would happen in our families and our country if we did this… a revival may break out! It is not our place to destroy others. Jesus didn’t retaliate in return for the evil done to Him but He entrusted himself to God who judges rightly. Whatever happens we can give it over to the Lord and let Him right the wrongs. One friend told me recently she almost quit going to church because of the hateful bashing by one of the members. That is a dangerous place to be as the enemy gets a foothold in our lives and evil takes over. So sad as we should be examples of those who love as Jesus did. Do we dare pray that the Lord would convict us of times we have wanted to get back at our enemies and wanted to even the score? Let us humble our hearts and ask Him to remove hateful thoughts and fill us with His unconditional love that brings blessings to others.
Challenge for today: Spend some time letting the Holy Spirit search your heart, repent and fill you to overflowing with His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
How does God’s presence manifest in our lives each day? Do we pray and then do as we please, or do we live our prayers and bring His presence to others? Sometimes just a smile or word of encouragement can change the day for someone when we respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. I was reading about Thomas Edison who was the greatest inventor of all with 1,093 patents including electric light and power, phonographs, telegraph and telephone etc. He didn’t question if something could be done but always sought to see how it was done. One would have thought he excelled in school and was in a gifted class. But that is not the case. He was the 7th child in the family and had a hearing problem, which made it difficult for him in school. In fact, when he was 12 years old, his teacher sent home a note for his mom that said, “Your son is addled (mentally ill) and we will not let him attend our institution any longer.” Young Thomas was told not to look at the note but to give it to his mom. When she opened it up, she began weeping and told her son that the school felt he was so smart that there weren’t teachers good enough to teach him and he should learn at home. And that is what his mom did; she began teaching him and encouraging him each day. Thomas felt she was so sure of Him that he didn’t want to disappoint her. Rather than his mom seeing him as one who was dumb and psychotic, she chose to see him as a gifted child and he was. Later in life when she died Thomas found the teacher’s note buried in her closet and read what it really said. He sobbed as he realized what his mom had done for him. Now that is an extraordinary example of how our lives affect others, but each of us can express God’s love to others each day in numerous ways when we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. The beloved disciple said in I John 4:12 & 16 (God’s Word), “If we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us… We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them.” Love is a choice and an action, and not just a feeling we get. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to love and display God’s love to others. May we live out His love in our lives and reflect it to the world around us. The choice is ours!
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord for His love for you, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you share that love with others.
Hope you are having a peace filled day. This morning I made our favorite bars and some veggie dishes and went to my exercise class. Al has his computer back already and is up and running. We got just the right Geek as he went right to work on it and had it done in 3 hours. PTL!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Know the times! We are in a new time in our culture and we have not experienced anything like this before. We need the Holy Spirit to help us discern the times and to know what the Lord is saying to us. The other morning, I woke up and saw that the bedroom clock showed it was 4 o’clock, the time I usually get up. So, I began having my devotions and after an hour, I went to the kitchen to put Al’s egg dish in the oven etc. Before long Al got up and asked me what I was doing making noise at 4 am in the kitchen! I thought it was 5, but then remembered our bedroom clock had been unplugged for a while the night before and not set right. I couldn’t believe I got up at 3 a.m. and was all ready for the day. I was not aware of the correct time! More importantly we need to know God’s time, how to interpret the spiritual signs of our time and to have discernment. Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that came to test Him that they knew the physical signs of the weather by the color of the sky, but they didn’t know how to interpret the signs of the times. Apart from the Lord we cannot really know either. In the Old Testament Daniel knew he needed God’s wisdom, and when he prayed, he was given wisdom to know the times that saved not only his life but that of all the wise men. He said in Daniel 2:20-22 (God’s Word), “Praise God’s name from everlasting to everlasting because He is wise and powerful. He changes times and periods of history. He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. He reveals deeply hidden things. He knows what is in the dark, and light lives with Him.” We need to be awakened and to get discernment as to the times of our day. Only the Holy Spirit can interpret for us what is really going on behind the scenes and how we are to react and respond. May our prayer be as Paul prayed in Phil. 1:9-11, “I pray that your love will keep on growing because of your knowledge and insight. That way you will be able to determine what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. Jesus Christ will fill your lives with everything that God’s approval produces. Your lives will then bring glory and praise to God.”
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for discernment to know the times!
Hope you are having a sunny day! This morning I went to Aldi’s and made a new chicken/spinach/quinoa dish. Al and I went to Best Buy to get his new computer as the one that we waited to arrive yesterday wasn’t even in the warehouse. He now has a different one and soon we are going back to get transferred everything from his old one.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Have you broken any of your New Year’s resolutions yet? Many people don’t go more than 3 weeks before they break them and fewer than half the people keep their resolutions for 6 months. I like to write down some goals and then just pray for the Lord to give specifics of moving towards them. Mine are pretty broad and I wait and listen to the Lord to fill in the details. Besides if I do them in my own strength, I will soon run out of energy and desire. Chris Bolinger wrote on Crosswalk.com about One Resolution that will improve our whole lives which includes our health, behavior, and spiritual walk. That is to read the Bible every day. Regular reading helps us physically, emotionally and spiritually for we can release our stresses and all our worries to the Lord which has a definite effect on our bodies and emotions. In the Word we are reminded that God wants us to give Him all that concerns us and that means we don’t have to carry the heavy load around with us. As we read the Word, we get wisdom and instruction that improves our lives, for God’s ways bring peace as we do what He says. Our behavior improves as well for as we read about His ways, we are less likely to drink, have immoral sex, view porn, gamble etc. Reading the Bible each day can bring us closer to God for He reveals Himself through the Word. The more we read with open hearts the better we come to know Him. He is all the while wanting to free us from our old patterns that have not worked and reveal His love. The enemy will try to give us all kinds of excuses of why we don’t have time to read the Word for he knows that he will have less influence on our lives when we are steeped in the Word. The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:9-11 (The Message), “How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.” Let us not neglect the Word each day for when we take it to heart, we will experience peace, get instruction and wisdom, and a desire to live closer to the Lord. We just might surprisingly find we are living out some of our New Year’s resolutions also!
Challenge for today: Set a time in your daily schedule to spend in the Word each day.
Hope you had a good weekend. Al and I enjoyed a wonderful time at the party on Saturday and had a feast that included prime rib, games and prizes and time to fellowship. Yesterday there were lots of happy people in MN as the Vikings won! Al preached and thank you for prayers. Today my exercise classes started again and it felt good to work out.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How often do we forget the kindness of the Lord to us? We may start out praising Him and before long we begin to complain and forget all the wonderful blessings we have been given. The children of Israel were good at that as they saw miraculous works of God, and then it says in Psalm 106 they did not remember the abundance of his steadfast love… they forgot His works…they forgot God their Savior… and they despised God’s plan for them. As a result, a plague broke out among them and their enemies oppressed them. But when things were at their worse, they cried out to the Lord and He heard them and delivered them. What about us? How often are we like the Israelites and forget how God has been there for us and carried us through difficult circumstances, healed us of sicknesses, forgiven us of all the wrongs we have done? I think it is helpful to keep a spiritual journal where we can record God’s blessings that we are made aware of daily and also write down prayer needs. Then as we see the answers, we are reminded to give Him praise and not forget His powerful works in our behalf. I keep a diary as well as a prayer journal, and since it is a 5 year one, I often read what happened on that day the year before. I marvel of the things I have forgotten that God did. King David prayed in Psalm 103:1-2 (Amplified), “Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is (deepest) within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not (one of) all His benefits.” Sometimes our pride enters in and we give ourselves credit for blessings and think we have earned them. But like David we can ask God to help us remember that it is His blessings and benefits we are receiving, especially when things seem to be going well. God warned the people of Israel when they were about to enter the Promise land not to forget the Lord or let their hearts become proud, but to observe His commands, and remember that it was He who brought them out of slavery. As we begin 2021, let us make it a practice to remember what the Lord has done for us and give Him thanks and praise for all His benefits.
Challenge for today: Begin a praise and gratitude list, as well as, a prayer request list.
Hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend. This afternoon we are going to the home of a couple from our church for a dinner party along with 10 others. Fun! This morning I did some food prep and cleaned the apartment and especially my desk top of papers. Tomorrow Al will be preaching at our church as our pastor’s family is on vacation. I’m sure he would appreciate prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s hear
When I was at my former Bible Study group, a Christmas gift was left at my place on the table and I do not even know who it is from. But it was a book by Erwin Lutzer, “A Practical Guide for Praying Parents.” When I first read the title, I thought our kids are grown but maybe it has wisdom in praying for our grandchildren too, as they have so many challenges that we didn’t have to face. As I read it, I was reminded of the importance of prayer and the tremendous power in prayer. Our children belong to God and Erwin said the best way we can honor and prove our love to them is to pray regularly for them. I know my parents prayed daily for me and my siblings even as Al and I pray every day for each of our children and spouses and our grandchildren. At Moody Church they had Prayer meetings for Parents of Prodigals for 4 weeks and attendance grew as many came and wept in prayer for their prodigals. It’s not necessarily the parent’s fault when their children go astray but a couple questions they asked themselves were, “What is God teaching us through our children?” How might we have contributed to their rebellious choices? Maybe we were too strict or self-righteous or never wrong and need to ask the Lord to change us. Some children are born into homes where they were thought of as a burden and not a blessing; maybe mom was raped, or dad wasn’t in the picture at all. But all children need to know they are loved and to receive hugs and words that they are valued. Sometimes we are more concerned about our children’s behavior than the condition of their hearts. We allow their hearts to be stolen by cell phones, violent games, pornography, T.V. etc; but we need to spend more time praying for the Lord to capture their hearts. There are times God makes them miserable in their sin and we are not to enable them or to rescue them but pray they come to the Lord. God wants to create in them a clean heart. Most often, they have to come to the pigsty before they can come home to the Father who is waiting. Let us never give up on our children, for God’s power is greater than the enemy. The disciples tried to shoo the children away from Jesus but Jesus let his disciples know that He welcomed them. In Mark 10:16 (The Message) it says, “Then, gathering the children up in His arms, He laid His hands of blessing on them.” Just as Jesus blessed them, we as parents can also do that. Al had his father place his hand on his head to say a blessing on him and we can pray a blessing over our children. They need to know unconditional love, affirmation and encouragement for that which is good. Pray! Pray! Pray and never give up!
Challenge for today: Pray for children in your life and bring encouragement to them when there is opportunity.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
Hope your first day of the New Year is bursting with joy! I have a new journal and it begins each day with a space for praise and gratitude and then follows with prayer requests. I have so many things to be grateful for and writing praise and blessings down seems to almost multiply them. Today is football day and special treats that we have only once a year. I went downstairs for coffee this morning and am going through the Christmas cards and pictures etc. Hope you have a joyous first day of the year!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Happy New Year! I love ringing in a New Year as it reminds me of a clean slate, and a fresh start. As we look back on the past year, we probably never imagined it would be so challenging, but God was with us. What about 2021? What will it hold for us, only God knows and we don’t need to fear because He is Emmanuel, God with us. We can trust Him with everything for He is dependable and never changes. He is our Loving Father and understands our humanity, and even when we fail, He gently nudges us back. I wonder what things will be birthed through each of us in a new way this coming year. Will we wait for His timing or will we spin our wheels and rush ahead of Him? Maggie Cooper writes about how often her young daughter gets impatient as she reads to her if there are many words on a page. Sometimes her daughter just grabs the book in her hands and turns the pages before the time, but she misses the details and the story doesn’t make sense. I wonder if we do that with the Lord when He has us in a waiting mode and we get impatient and rush ahead of Him before it is time to turn the page. Of course, we won’t have peace and we get frustrated and may even miss the meaning of what He wants to do in us and through us. It says in Proverbs 19:21 (ESV), “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We can have lots of plans mapped out for our future but it is God’s purposes that will prevail, mot ours. Let us first seek His direction for each day as we face a new year, and wait for His appointed time. I think we will find our hearts at peace and we can confidently rest in the Lord.
Challenge for today: Seek His will and purpose for your life each and and let go of your own plans.
May the Lord bless you in this new year. Love, Judy
We are about to begin a New Year and 2020 was quite a year, full of the unexpected. None of us could have predicted the pandemic and all that has happened in our country. As we go into the New Year, we need God’s wisdom and strength, remembering that he is in control and we are not. Today I am sharing Alisha Headley’s prayer and may we make it our prayer on this last day of 2020.
We thank you for being faithful, for giving us the courage to push through another day in 2020. Despite this year, you promise that you will never “leave us nor forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:8). You are a faithful God. You tell us that “those who put our trust and faith in you cannot be shaken” (Psalm 125:1). Thank you that even when our world was shaken in 2020, we serve an unshakeable God. We ask that in times of doubt and questioning, you would remind us to “lean not on our own understanding, but trust in you, and you will direct our paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) We ask that you would remind us to rely on your wisdom, which is far greater than our own. As James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, ask you and you will graciously give it to us.” We ask that in all our decisions you would give us wisdom to end 2020 the way you desire us to.We ask that you give us wisdom in the coming year in all that we do. We trust that you are in control and that even if we don’t see the end of this world pandemic in the near future, that you are working and that you know exactly what’s to come. Thank you that you have gone before us, that you are with us, and you go behind us. Thank you for being the only source of security in this insecure world we experienced in 2020.In Jesus mighty name, we love you and ask these things, Amen.”
Challenge for today: Memorize a scripture to carry with you into the New Year.
Blessings in the New Year and prayers and love, Judy
Hope you are enjoying the day and the fresh snow. I think we got about 4″. Al was still able to get out to early morning men’s group and while he was gone I put away our Christmas decorations. This afternoon Ann and grandson Paul are stopping by as they are shopping in Brainerd today.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are all on a spiritual journey that is unique and not like anyone else. We go through many stages on our journeys and one would think that everything would get easier but that is not the case. Often it seems to get harder and Teresa of Avila once said after being tossed from her carriage into a mud puddle, “God, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder they are so few!” Our progress isn’t linear but there are times we may feel like we are going backwards or stuck somewhere on the sidelines. God doesn’t force us to move on for we all have free will, but He patiently waits to shower us with His grace. My cousin has a labyrinth and when I walk it, it often seems like I am going back in the same direction I have just come from. But actually, if I keep going on the winding path, I finding I am getting closer to the center. I love to sit on the rock in the center and look out at the path I have come from with all its twists and turns. Sometimes I look out at my cousin’s lovely flower garden in the summer, another turn takes in the view of the woods or raspberry bushes. Our journeys get more difficult as we have to continually say good by to our false self, our ego, and as Jesus said in Matt. 16:24, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.“ When our false self wins out, we feel like we are back to square one and must humbly accept God’s grace to get up and get going again. Sometimes we experience an awakening where we know we are not in control and we are led back to see our need for the Lord and experience His grace. This may happen on a retreat or maybe after we have had a loss or are going through a midlife crisis. We suddenly realize life is not just about us but about Him and we return to trust and to begin to live in the present moment with Him. He is our friend, our companion, and our true self comes forth. We find acts of kindness seem to flow out of us, not as obligations but natural responses. Our life changes and becomes rich for it is all about Him and not about us. Let us walk the journey with open hands and hearts!
Challenge for today: Commit to keep going on your journey and awake to what God has for you.
Hope your day is going well. I did a Bible Study this morning and went to Aldi’s and brought choc covered raspberries downstairs for coffee. We love our afternoon walks in nature and get “aired out” too.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Soon we will begin another new fresh year, and it’s good to put down any burdens of the past year that have weighed us down. We don’t have to carry with us a heavy bag of regrets, hurts, and worries, but can just put it down and leave it at Jesus feet. I’m sure we all have things that we wish we could do over in 2020 or hurtful happenings that caused us pain; but no matter what is in the bag, we are not meant to carry it around another year or another day. The apostle Paul could have lived with terrible guilt feelings when he came to the Lord, for he persecuted Christians and wanted to destroy them. But, the Lord spoke to him, shone a bright light, forgave him, and gave him a big assignment to bring His name to nations and to kings and to His people. He experienced forgiveness and laid down the heavy load of guilt or he certainly would have been slowed down! As I was reading this morning about Paul in Acts 9, I noticed Luke wrote in verse 9 (God’s Word), “The number of people increased as people lived in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” And The Message went on to say, “The people prospered wonderfully.” What a great way to live! Yes, Jesus is our personal friend but He is also King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we should have a deep reverence for Him. He is the One who gives us our assignment for 2021 and His plans for us trump our own plans! We may be surprised at all that He has for us in the coming year. The people lived also in the comfort of the Holy Spirit with them. Likewise we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us on our journey. We can call on Him any time to get our direction and He desires to help us in whatever situations we are in. We don’t have to carry around a bag of worries wondering how things are going to work out in 2021 for we are not the One in charge. Let us live carefree in the assurance that He is with us, will direct us and will prosper us wonderfully.
Challenge for the day: Make a list of worries you may have, put the list in a bag and put it in the garbage!