Canaan's Rest

Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

September 21, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. We got as far as Knoxville, TN this afternoon and I had a delightful swim while Al had a walk. We are having a time of retreat and enjoying this time so much. I am sending this early for tomorrow as we will be on our way to Mark’s and so eager to get to see him and Andrea and our grandsons! Again, thank you for your prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   On our trip Al and I talk a lot together and I also read books I have saved for such a time as we travel. We got to talking about what we still want to do in life before we no longer will be able to. I couldn’t think of any big things, but I said I wondered if I was missing out by not paying more attention to what is going on in the world, having coffee in the morning while I read the paper or a magazine and knowing the latest songs and movies, or what is happening in the life of celebrities etc. Somehow, I never get to that but start my day with the Lord and then jump into my work etc. But so neat how the Lord answered as I was reading A.W. Tozer’s book, Pursuit of God. The very next day I read about what is really important. A few words, “Listen to the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind—short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings… Practice spiritual concentration.”  
   We live in the world but we don’t want the world living in us. We are the one that needs to always bend to God’s ways and not try to fit Him into our way of thinking and doing. We are to conform to Him who is infinitely greater than we are and who created us for His pleasure. It is like walking out of the world’s parade for we are out of step with it, and walking in step with the Lord. That may mean making choices between Him and some of our relationships, or between Him and our personal ambitions etc. Life becomes actually more simplistic when He is central as we are on the same course, yoked to Him and our burden becomes light. Even though we often fail at times, He looks at our intention and desire to please Him. He tells us to come to Him and learn of Him and He will give us rest. (Matt. 11:28-30) Our self-love and pride is a heavy burden and He gives us release from it. We will not care so much what others think, but only what God sees.
   May the Lord make us childlike and help us to live simply and without pretense and take up the yoke of self-forgetfulness.
  Challenge for today; Give the Lord first place in your life and let go of the ways the world would try to suck you in to its mold.
Blessings on your evening and day tomorrow and prayers and love, Judy

September 19, 2023

Dear Ones,
You are getting this again early for tomorrow since we will be taking off from Louisville, KY. We are at the Drury, and I just had a wonderful swim in the outdoor pool! We went to a Seminary bookstore this afternoon, so Al is a happy man! Thank you for prayers and we are having a great time.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 As we travel on our trip to N.C., we still like to eat healthy on the road, just as we do at home. I packed apples and nuts and cheese and G.F crackers etc. to munch on, along with plenty of water besides our coffee. Today so many in our culture are consuming junk food with very little nutritional value and full of sugar and substances that is harming to our bodies.
  Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled?” (Matt. 5:6) We are to be hungry and thirsty for God and receptive to Him or we will turn to other things to try to satisfy our soul hunger. The enemy, of course, will try to distract us from God and to live shallow lives. Rather than experiencing that which is good for our souls, we may try to satisfy our spiritual hunger in other ways. Perhaps it is easier to listen to a preacher with a dynamic personality rather than satisfy our own spiritual hunger and experience the Lord for ourselves.
  We also need to quiet down, or we will end up feeling starved and stunted. God designed us to eat slowly, healthily, and not fast food and junk food. That means gearing down, waiting on the Lord, and seeking to hear His voice ourselves. He wants to commune with us and is always speaking and wanting to feed us through His ways. In John 6:63 it says that His words that He speaks to us are Spirit and life. He speaks in His word but also to our hearts. It’s important we become quiet and still enough to hear. We can’t really hear when we are distracted and tuned into the noise of the world.
  God is not silent but always speaking and wanting to feed us. Are we hungry? The Word is not a snack but a dinner. As we go to the Word let us expect to be fed and have the needs of our souls met. It is the Word of God to our souls, and it will surely satisfy.

  Challenge for today: Set aside time to read the Word slowly and ask the Holy Spirit to fill your hungry soul.

Blessings and prayers and love, Judy


September 19, 2023

Dear Ones,
We are in Bloomington, Illinois, tonight and I had a lovely swim after we arrived. I was the only one in the pool so could praise the Lord as I swam. Al went for a walk and the weather is perfect. I read a whole book in the car by an author friend.  I am sending this out early as we will leave right after an early breakfast tomorrow morning. Thank you for prayers! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The will of God always trumps our will, for He sees all and knows all and does what is best. Our part is to surrender our will and to seek His will in our lives and in each situation. There are times we may ask others to pray for us that we will hear His voice and know what His will is. Some time ago a couple asked us to pray for His will in a situation and we have faithfully prayed each day over a few months. The answer came but it wasn’t anything like we expected. I hadn’t even thought of that kind of an answer, but we could all rejoice for each of us was seeking what God wanted. Then we rejoiced that He has purpose in His will, and we can say Amen to it!
  The biggest problem seems to be letting go of what we think is best to find His highest in each situation. We are not God, we do not have a panoramic view of things, and we can be deceived. When we pray it is always good to pray our concerns but then to put them all at the feet of Jesus. We may pray, “Lord, I lay them down before you and trust that you will take care of each need and I will rejoice in how you choose to answer.”
  I am reminded so often that I have to die to my will and to embrace His highest will. When there is pain it means I am in the way and have not died to my way. Perhaps for all of us, there is a daily fight against selfishness and wanting our own way. Jesus told His disciples the very thing in Matt. 16:24-25 (God’s Word), and He says to us today, “Those who want to come with me say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses and follow me. Those who want to save their lives will lose them. But those who lose their lives for me will find them.” We are to be self-forgetters and instead conform to God’s will each day. But in the losing of our lives, we find life everlasting.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for grace to forget self and your interests and to take up your cross to follow Him.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy


September 18, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great week! Sending this early for Monday’s devotional. We had a beautiful service this morning with a dozen new members joining our church. Now our Highlander is mostly packed and ready to head to N.C. about 4 a.m. tomorrow. We are going to take our time and have a mini retreat on the way and also visit a seminary bookstore. Would appreciate prayers for a safe journey and good health and a special time with Mark’s family. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  On Friday, I came home from the Audiologist so excited, as she had fitted me with cross-over hearing aids, and I could hear clearly. I could make out Al’s whispers and even the noise from the frig! I The hearing in my right ear has rapidly declined which I was told could be from having Lyme’s, but no one is sure. Now I was hearing beautifully, and I could hardly contain my joy. I also thought of how wonderful it is when we hear spiritually and know God has spoken a word to our hearts, maybe in soft whispers but we get it! Sometimes we need to write it down as He may be speaking of something that is yet to happen and we are in the waiting period.
  I also had joy lately as I will be having a couple implants put in when I get back from N.C. My gums are ready, and the impressions have been made and soon my empty spaces will have teeth. Since it was towards the back of my mouth it wasn’t quite as noticeable but soon, I will be able to chew my food better and maybe be able to smile more widely. When we have extractions from things in this world taken out, there is then more room to have spiritual things implanted in their place. The worldly things which are now decayed and removed, leave space for the pure things that God wants to bless us with.
  Well then there is my skin that had several basil cancer spots that needed attention. I had to put on an ointment for a month, so things got worse before they got better. Sometimes it takes time for unwanted things in our lives to get rooted out, and we must keep applying His grace and forgiveness to those spots until one day they no longer seem to bother us, and we are set free. It leaves us smoothed over and peaceful for we now know the underlying cancer is taken care of.
  Now another thing is my trip to the eye Doctor who tested me and said I could use new glasses. I was tired of my old ones and so ready for new glasses with a prescription that was up to date; I happily went to look for new ones and now I am able to see with greater clarity. Often, we have to be adjusted too, as what was good before is no longer good for now and we need to be willing to change. It was fine in the past but now comes change and we must be willing to move on with the changes God sends.
  I feel like I have had a makeover and quite an expensive one at that. But isn’t it great that God never leaves us partially finished but wants to make us new in all the spaces of our hearts. Let us willingly undergo whatever is necessary to be made more like Him.
  Challenge for today: Let the Lord adjust and change you in whatever ways are needed and all in His timing.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy



Andrew Yang recently wrote in a blog, “Everything is changing all at once.  The change moves in lockstep, even as it summons up bewilderment, chagrin, and pushback.  The pushback feels too little and too late – for what openly declares itself now can only do so by virtue of territory already captured and held while the rest of us slumbered.  The captured territory encompasses institutions that have until recently been granted plenary power to decide such matters.  They have themselves on a cliff, with no precedent – and perhaps no capacity – for climbing down safely.”

When I ponder what astute observers of our culture are saying, it makes me wonder if we are ready for the dramatic change, being orchestrated by the Lord of History.   Our sovereign Lord could intervene suddenly; at any moment.  Paul  warned us, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  Are we ready and waiting?  While people are saying, ‘peace and safety’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape” (Thess. 4:3). Are we prepared for such a day?  What will SUDDENLY look  like?

There are three references to “suddenly” in the prophecies of Isaiah:  

First, in Isaiah 30:13 the prophet is speaking to Israel. “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly – like a bulging wall that bursts and falls.  In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.” Israel was like a high city wall with an inadequate foundation.  By “oppression” and with “lies” (v 12) they had  built a wall to  assure their safety and prosperity, but it was about to be shattered (v 14).  They hoped  Egypt would help build a wall of protection against the Assyrians.   Has our nation become oppressive in its behavior and become conditioned to believe lies?  Are we beginning to see cracks in our foundations? 

The second in Isaiah 47:11 the prophet is speaking to mighty Babylon, “So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out.  A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared.” In verse 10  the Babylonians boast of no one seeing them.  But the prophet said to them, “But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one and there is no other.'” They thought they would escape any disaster.  But it will come suddenly.  Since we have spurned God, could this be true of our society?

Thirdly, we read in Isaiah 48:3-4, “Long ago I told you what was going to happen.  Then suddenly I took action, and all my predictions came true.  For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are.  Your necks are as unbending as iron.  Your heads are as hard as bronze”  God had acted in the past after give his warnings.  “God established a pattern of prophecies faithfully fulfilled, anticipating idolatrous thoughts rising from the hard hearts of his own people.  God had prepared this defense for his own honor” (NIVZSB). In our stubbornness and obstinacy have we forgotten God’s actions in the past?  Will God once again act drastically in our day?  Don’t believe the dominant narrative of our day.

Are you ready for the day of the Lord? It will happen SUDDENLY.  My advice from Isaiah: First – pay attention to the cracks in our foundation.  Second -don’t trust the future outlook of the popular media.  Third – pay attention to God’s actions in the past.  

September 16, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. Today I will be cleaning and then we will be getting ready for our trip to North Carolina. We plan to leave about 4 a.m. on Monday and we are excited as it has been some time since we have been with Mark’s family. Appreciate prayers for our safety and health as we travel.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Our grandson just had a birthday recently and got his first smart phone and the joy on his face says it all. There are guidelines put down by his parents so as not to let the phone be a substitute for actual spoken words and communication face to face. Sadly, people don’t talk aloud much anymore but just text one another; and we might have guessed that there has never been so much loneliness. Phones are good but not as a substitute for heart to heart communicating. It may be surprising to just look around your own home to see if family is really sharing with one another or if is quiet because everyone is simply texting others or gaming on their phones.
  Our phones can also have an effect on our relationship with the Lord if we spend more time on them than talking to Him. Author Emily Rose Massey writes about how important it is to stay connected with the Lord and shares from I Thes. 5:16-18 as Paul gives some final words to the church in Thessalonica, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God.” It’s important to stay in constant communication with the Lord, and it builds faith in us and trust, and a heart of thanksgiving. I want to share a prayer Emily wrote to help us put our technology in its rightful place, so as to not neglect the Lord and those around us.
“Father God,
  There can be such a blessing that comes from technology and being able to connect with other people all over the world in a moment. But this blessing can also become a major distraction from something so much better, staying connected to You. Lord, I repent for neglecting to keep our communication a top priority and allowing an electronic device to become a hindrance to the spiritual discipline of prayer. You call us to never cease from praying, meaning that we should be continually looking to You every moment of the day. I lift my gaze to You, knowing that is where my help comes from. I lift up my voice to You, knowing that You incline Your ear to me as Your child.       Thank You, Jesus, for making a way for me to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. May I never take that relationship for granted? Help me by Your grace and the power of the Spirit to remember to keep prayer a daily, moment-by-moment lifeline to my Heavenly Father.
In Jesus’ name, amen. 
Challenge for today: Pray this prayer and ask the Lord to help you stay connected with Him and others around you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 15, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! We went to bed before the end of the Viking game last night and hoped for a win but sadly a loss. Emoji This morning I am going to the audiologist, and I am hopeful for better hearing! I keep reminding myself that spiritual hearing is even more important!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I just love to observe how God provides in so many ways, and some may be very unusual. I was reading in my devotions today about the prophet Elijah who was told to confront wicked King Ahab, a Baal worshiper, and tell him it would not rain for 3 years. It was not good news the king wanted to hear concerning the coming devastating drought, so God told Elijah to go hide east of the brook Cherith where he would be fed by the ravens in the morning and evening. When the brook dried up, he got another message from God to go to Zarephath and He would command a Gentile widow to feed him. Now God can do anything, and he used a widow who was a foreigner in an already hopeless situation to provide for him and for herself and son. But she obeyed and provided Elijah with all she had left to eat, and God responded by giving her a jug of oil and a jar of meal that never ran out during the whole famine. What if she hadn’t obeyed, she would have missed the miracle that saved her life and that of her son. Not long later after Elijah had trumped the prophets of Baal and God had rained down fire, Elijah was weary and emotionally down. But God sent an angel who gave him 2 hot meals and he rested and was strengthened to go on for 40 days and nights.                                                                  
   God provides what we need often in unusual ways. Sometimes we need a word of encouragement and God uses a perfect stranger to give us an uplifting word. Maybe we need wisdom and discernment, and a friend shows up to help point us in the right direction. There are times He just surprises us like discovering an envelope on our door with $ inside. Or finding a tax rebate check in the mail that will be used for gas on our coming trip to N.C. All surprises and perfect timing.  

   There are also times we need to take a step of faith to enter into what God has waiting for us. There may also be occasions He will ask us to give something that we cherish to someone, and often it seems to boomerang into something coming back that is beyond what we ever gave. But God loves us and desires that we obey and trust him to provide for us in unimaginable ways. Even in those times we are without something we think is necessary, He later unfolds His plan before our eyes, and we are grateful. Peter’s words are so true in II Peter 3:13 and he says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

  Challenge for today: Open your eyes to the many ways God’ provides for you and respond with a thankful heart.
Blessings on our weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 14, 2023

Dear Ones,
May you have a peace-filled day full of love. I just finished baking cookies for Al to take on our trip to N.C. on Monday. He is at Men’s group now and will be leading Bible Study today. We were blessed to see my cousin last night who recently lost her hubby and was so good to have time with her and with family. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  God created us and formed us for His pleasure. He loves us and desires a close relationship with us. I remember in confirmation memorizing what the purpose of man is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We are here for God’s pleasure but we are also to live in a way that we enjoy being with Him. He is so worthy of our worship and praise and honor and we draw our joy and strength from Him.  Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to be in the Garden of Eden before sin happened and just enjoy walking with the Lord in the garden? No selfishness but pure desire to just be with Him.
  When Jesus died on the cross the curtain into the Holy of Holies was rent as His death opened the way for us to go into the Holy of Holies and experience His presence. We don’t have to go through the high priest or any one else but straight into His presence. We can just take time every day to actually enjoy life with Him.  It says in Psalm 48:14, “For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.” It is through our spirit, not our intellect, that we come to know God. One of the songs we use to sing at church is, “Thy loving kindness is better than life. Thy loving kindness is better than life. My lips shall praise you, Thus, will I bless Thee. I will lift up my hands unto Thy name.” It comes from Psalm 63:4
  I am reading the Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer and He quotes Frederick W. Robertson in saying, “God is not affected by our mutability; our changes do not alter Him. When we are restless, He remains serene and calm; when we are low, selfish, mean, or dispirited, He is still the unalterable I am.” Aren’t you glad the Lord does not treat us as we deserve and how we treat Him. Even when I feel His love and close to Him I know it is a result of Him first pursuing me. When the Israelites had to stay only in the outer court of the temple for so many years, think of the joy of going into the inner court! That is what the Lord invites us into… a close intimate relationship with Him. The veils of our self-nature prevent us from seeing Him fully and we need to let go of self-righteousness, self-love, self-importance etc; they all hide us from God. Let us die to our self-life so that we can draw close to Him.
Challenge for today: Be willing to let go of the veil of your self6life, to know Him who is better than life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 13, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a beautiful day! I am going to my exercise class this morning and this afternoon we are heading to the cities to be with my cousin who recently lost her husband.  Relatives are gathering after the service and burial today at her sister’s place in Edina and we would like to be with them.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Jesus comes to us in many ways but are our hearts open and ready to receive Him if He comes disguised as a stranger, or someone sick and hurting?  Sometimes we may be so busy and have so much on our schedule for the day that we miss Him.
  One day I was bringing suitcases up from our storage to begin packing for our trip and I met a woman in the hall who experienced the recent loss of her loved one. She was busy helping her mom move but needing someone to listen to her also and we just happened to connect. It was not a long encounter, but I told her I had been praying for some time for her loved one who had now gone home to the Lord.  We shared the joy that He is now experiencing but also told her that Al and I would be praying for her as she experiences life without her husband.
  Sometimes Jesus comes to us in the sorrowing, or those who are sick or lonely. They may be disguised as poor or rich, but it makes no difference if we do the Jesus thing by stopping to help. I confess that sometimes I quickly continue on my way as I am in a hurry to be somewhere and feel regretful later as I missed an opportunity. So many times, as Jesus ministered to others, it wasn’t necessarily convenient, for he was on His way somewhere, but He was always on His Father’s time. He paid attention to the will of His Father and was never too busy to stop and heal someone or speak a word to them.
   Whatever we do, must not be for our own glory but for the glory of God. Paul says in I Cor. 10:31, (NRSV), “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” We are not to seek our own advantage or do works to be applauded by others, but our motive for everything should be for God’s glory. Let us keep our hearts open to the Lord, and let His love be the motivating factor for whatever we do.
  Challenge for today: Be alert to help others as the Lord directs and do it in His name and for His glory.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


September 12, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a blessed day. There is a hint of fall in the air, and we enjoy our walks on the trail as leaves are beginning to turn. Today I have food prep to do and trying a new dessert as we are having friends coming this afternoon. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  There is a lot mentioned in scripture of the importance of humility and Jesus led the way in showing us what humility looks like. He was an example of a humble servant who was obedient to do what His Father told him. The Pharisees were full of pride and Jesus often warned them in plain words, “For everyone who exults himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exulted.” (Luke 14:11) They never seemed to get it! I like the way the Message translation said it, “If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
  True humility doesn’t mean putting ourselves down but simply acknowledging our sinfulness and limitations in comparison to Jesus. Although we see our weaknesses, we can also see our gifts and strengths to use to serve the Lord. Pride has so many forms and Michael Mangis gives us the antidotes to the different ways pride manifests itself. He writes that if we pridefully think we are better than others, then maybe simplicity or poverty of spirit is the antidote. Or if we struggle with vanity, then modesty might help correct. Or if pride shows itself in irreverence than the antidote is reverence. Or if pride is seen in perfectionism, then it could be corrected by grace and brokenness. Pride is often seen in disobedience as we feel we know better, then obedience is the antidote.
  When the Holy Spirit shows us more of our hearts, we often notice we confess the same sins over and over again. But maybe it would be helpful for us to think of the antidote so we can go one step farther in breaking the sin cycle. If we struggle with resentment, the antidote of forgiveness and release will help. Or if we struggle with anger to the point of rage, we need forbearance and peace. For each of us, it will be different for our sin patterns are not all the same. I am catching myself more quickly when I choose what is more comfortable rather than what is more challenging and costly in time etc.
  May each of us grow in new ways as we humbly seek the Lord each day.
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you His antidote to a sin pattern in your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



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