Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend! Hoping for nice sunny weather today for the many who are having outdoor celebrations. We will be packing up also, and going to the lake to gather with lots of family. Our 3 grandsons are all home for the weekend and in a week Joe will be headed south for training for the Marines. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love to grocery shop, and especially take my time in the produce section. It makes me feel good when the frig and counter are overflowing with colorful fruit and veggies. The fruit of the spirit exemplified in the lives of Christ-followers is even more beautiful and seems to positively affect the people around them. Our kids memorized the fruit of the spirit when they were young and could quickly recite Gal. 5:22-23, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” One fruit that is especially beautiful but often overlooked is gentleness. Although we don’t seem to hear much about it, gentleness is something so needed in our family relationships particularly. It’s so easy to blow it with raised voices and our tone that exudes impatience and anger. How much better to show kindness, compassion and considerateness in our tone and actions.
I failed so many times as a mom as I raised my voice at our children, hollered may be a more honest description. At night, as I tucked them, I would need to ask their forgiveness. But gentleness doesn’t just appear magically, it is something we all need to clothe ourselves with and need God’s help. I was touched recently as Al wrote a blog to the men about how God was convicting him of the need to become a gentle husband. He shared his desire to improve and gave 3ways that would help him, but really would help all of us. First become aware of our attitude and tone of voice and pray for a sensitive spirit. Second to confess on the spot when we detect a lack of gentleness. Third, to ask forgiveness for our failure, while asking our spouse to pray for us. This way works wonders for as we humble ourselves and pray for one another, it draws us closer together and to the Lord. It entails more than to mumble that we are sorry but is a softening of our hearts to sense how the other person is feeling and to show tenderness and love. It can even diffuse a tense situation. “A gentle answer can turn away wrath but harsh words stir up anger.”  Prov. 15:1 Let us reflect Jesus by our gentle spirit!
Challenge for today: The next time you respond in a harsh way, humble yourself and make confession to the Lord and the other person.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy