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.

October 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. I worked at church all morning as we are having Teen Challenge choir coming tomorrow and then feeding them and their families and our own congregation.Emoji Now I am busy in my own kitchen baking  chicken and making soup etc. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I’m sure we’ve all been around bitter people and it’s not uplifting to sit in their negative atmosphere that seems to fill the space around them. But all of us are challenged in our own lives when people do hurtful things to us or say untruths about us, and how we respond. We have a choice whether we ruminate over it and grow bitter, or whether we are able to let it go and move forward.
Even at weddings, I love to hear a couple say they have found their soul friend and they pledge their lives to love one another until death due them part; but I also wonder how long it will be before their soul friend irritates them and they get hurt and angry. We all will have conflicts and how we deal with them is so important.
Early in our marriage, Al and I had times when we were rather silent with each other; you know, those times of hurt or anger. We didn’t have shouting matches but we tried to carry on life without addressing each other and giving the silent treatment. Gradually, we resolved the issues but if left undone, it could turn into bitterness and resentments. Through the years we have found it is best to admit our failures, ask forgiveness for our part in it, and pray together as we resume life together again.
Paul says to the church in Ephesians 4:31-32 (God’s Word), “Get rid of your bitterness, hot tempers, anger, loud quarreling, cursing, and hatred. Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ.”
We may not feel like we harbor bitterness but what if we act cold towards another and secretly wish to get even with him. What about hoping they experience pain the same way they have caused us pain. Or maybe every time we think of what they have done to us our own joy disappears. Those are signs that let us know we need to forgive.
No matter what is done to us, or who is most at fault, let us not grow bitter but with God’s help forgive and move forward.
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to any person in your life that you need to forgive, and then forgive from your heart.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy 

October 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Enjoy the beautiful colors before the snow comes! This morning I studied, did food prep and cleaned the apartment. This afternoon, I think I will put away summer clothes! Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
One day, we will all die, unless the Lord comes again first and takes us to be with Him. When we leave this earth, we leave our family and friends behind but hopefully we also leave a Godly heritage. That is far more important than land or gold and can influence generations to come.
Last Sunday our pastor gave a children’s sermon about passing on the baton as in the 4×4 meter relay race at the Olympics. He had 3 children practice running and passing the baton on to the next person in line. Of course, the race can be lost when the transfer is not smooth and sometimes the baton is even dropped! How sad that is when we think of it in the spiritual sense.
Al and I were blessed when we went to see our grandsons and heard them say their memory verses for school and saw their curriculum.  They are being taught not only at home, but in their Christian school, what it means to be a follower of the Lord. Like my cousin put on Facebook recently, “If we don’t teach our children who God is, someone else will teach them everything that isn’t.” It’s appalling to discover what is being taught in our schools and even in some churches today
We can’t leave the most important teaching up to others, but to teach and live out a life for the Lord. I saw this example in my home growing up; our day started out with family devotions around the table before going off to school. My parents had rules for us kids, but they walked out what they believed and that witness is what remains with us.
When Moses spoke to the Israelites, he told them they would be blessed in the Promise land if they loved the Lord and walked in His ways. In Deut. 30:19b-20 (ESV) he says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days..”
Let us not drop the baton, but run with it, pass it on to our children so they can pass it on to their children and the generations to come.
Challenge for today: Pray for your family and use opportunities to share the Lord with them.
Blessings on your weekend  and prayers and love, Judy



October 21, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great day. I woke up to a beautiful full moon shining in my window! This morning I made cherry cheesecake  and porkchops with apples. Also went to Aldi’s and downstairs for Donut day. Emoji This afternoon is Bible Study here at the apartments. There are as many men, and often more men than the women that come! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
No one is too broken to be beyond God’s grace to reshape and make new. He can take us, just like the potter, and form us into a new pot for the Lord’s use. We should never give up on others or ourselves but believe that God can take are marred lives and brokenness of our past and shape us into something very beautiful. But we have to repent of the things that keep us from God and be willing to  yield to Him, letting His hand remove those things. God told the prophet Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house and he saw how the clay pot that the potter worked on was spoiled but that he reworked it into another vessel. God said in Jeremiah18:5 (ESV), “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?”
We have a choice if we will be willing to lay aside our stubbornness, our pride and ego, and be willing to be reshaped on the Potter’s wheel. If we yield to His hand, we become like spiritual clay that the Lord will shape perfectly for the very purposes He has for our lives.
We must remember our role as we are not the potter! We are simply ordinary clay without rights to choose what shape we are designed for. It is whatever pleases the potter and we stay on the wheel as long as He chooses. I’m sure we all have had times when the wheel seems to be going fast, and we want to get off and be in control again. But we need to trust the Potter that He knows what He is doing and it is in His timing, that He will take us off the wheel.
Let us see this whole process as a time of opportunity to grow and to be prepared for how He wants our clay pot to be of service for Him.
Challenge for today: Don’t resist the Potter’s hand but let Him shape you into the beautiful pot He has designed.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


October 20, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day full of sunshine, even though outwardly it’s suppose to rain here soon. This morning I made Al’s favorite cookies while he was at his men’s group. I did other food prep and went to exercise class; this afternoon is Crafts and then tonight is Bible Study. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Perhaps we all have times when we pray the Lord’s prayer in haste and after the “Amen” realize we have not been focused on what we were praying. But if we slow down and pray the words meaningfully, our hearts will be drawn closer to the Lord. What a powerful prayer it is that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked the simple question, “teach us to pray.” Jesus could have given a whole series of talks on prayer but he simply prays a prayer that teaches them and all of us how to pray. 
 Richard Foster shares some reflective thoughts that Simone Weil wrote about the Lord’s prayer, as she experienced hard times under the Nazi occupation of her French homeland. For her it must have been most difficult to pray forgiveness of her debtors after all she saw and experienced.
Simone reminds us that God is our Father and all we have and are comes from Him. We belong to Him and don’t have to search for Him for He searches for us. His name is holy and holiness itself, and we can’t increase or diminish it but only acknowledge it.
When we pray that His kingdom, we are really asking our souls be completely filled with the Holy Spirit, as we invite Him to quench our spiritual longing.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven is really saying that everything that has happened is in conformity with God’s will and also all that will happen in the future. We do this not because everything has been good in our eyes but God has permitted it and He is good. Then we put aside all other desires for the sake of our greater desire for eternal life.
When we pray Give us this day our daily bread, we acknowledge that Jesus is our bread of life and we must consent to let Him enter in. He will not force His way and we have to daily choose, even as we ask for daily food.
Praying, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, is not always easy for we are renouncing our claim to anything owed to us or wrongs done to us; it includes all our expectations and rights, but also asking Him to wipe out the evil in us.
When we pray lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil we are humbly admitting that we need His help so that we do not yield to the temptations before us. We ask for deliverance at such times when we are weak.
Let us often pray this powerful prayer that Jesus taught us with meaning and sincerity. I often sing it to Him when I am alone in the car.
Challenge for today: Pause as you pray after each petition of the Lord’s prayer and listen for His response.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 19, 2021

Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are all called to community life when we know the Lord and through it we experience more of the fullness of His love for us and for one another. What a witness it is to the world when they see Christians getting along and caring for one another, helping one another in our brokenness, and living together in harmony. Paul says in I Cor. 12: 25-26 (ESV), “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” That sounds like a lot of vulnerability and the Body is a place for healing to happen as we become more whole.
Friends of ours lived in community for years and that meant accepting group standards and goals and doing a whole lot of dying to self. Even though we may not choose to be part of monastic life or some community experience of living together as they did, we are still to be part of a community where we can give and receive love, where we get healing for our wounds, where we learn to serve and be served.
Michael Casey, a monk in Australia, writes about what it means to renounce self-will and our narcissistic egocentric attitudes that keep people apart and keep us from living from our deep center. God calls us all to no longer live for ourselves but for Him and for others. Casey said that it may show up in letting our selfishness being replaced by sensitivity, conflict replaced with harmony, stalemate replaced by dialogue, obstinacy being replaced by adaptability, aggression replaced by patience etc. Within the church and other fellowship groups it will mean doing lots of listening on our part and trying to hear where the other person is coming from, even welcoming our differences. Respect is necessary especially when our views differ and we are to be polite and courteous without pushing our preferences.
All of us have been given gifts to be used for life in community and to share them and use them for His glory. We don’t need to be envious of other’s gifts but delight in them and also accept our own to be used to benefit others. Gifts that are given by the Lord belong to us all.
Yes, community is challenging, but perhaps it is the gift that most helps us grow deeply in our relationship to the Lord and what demonstrates to the world of His love.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you be a loving open member of His community of love. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 18, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the beauty of Fall. This morning I did food prep and made a  casserole to share and  also went to my exercise class. 
Wasn’t that a great win yesterday by the Vikings in overtime?! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
A close friend sent me a newsy e-mail to catch me up on her life and family; she ended it with a remark that my daily devotionals were upbeat but asked the question, “Do you ever have a down day?” It started me thinking of what makes for a good outlook on the day in contrast to one that is dark and negative. I’m sure all of us approach each day differently, depending on our background, personality, gifting, present circumstances and walk with the Lord; but it’s important how we start our day.
I wake up quite early each day, and view it as a new day of grace, acknowledging that the Lord is in control. I often talk with the Lord before I get out of bed and ask what is on His agenda. (Also, what he would have me write about) I usually have a mental list of what I would like to accomplish but I also know His list is far more important. I love to have my own quiet time with the Lord before I rouse Al and I try to pay attention if there is a special word for me for that day. The Lord knows what is coming and it is amazing to me how a scripture may be exactly what I need. Al and I have a prayer time together and then more time alone with the Lord before jumping into our day. If you have young children your day will look different but God is listening to those hurried prayers that are prayed while getting the kids off to school and settling disputes etc.
Of course, with any of us, our day may not be all roses, and things come up that test us and challenge us.  It is most important that we keep our focus on the Lord throughout the day, and share with Him, especially when we hit those speed bumps! My confession to you is that when I hit computer problems and need tech help I can get frustrated. Al will confirm that!
If our day seems dreary, we might put on praise music. If it is bleak rainy day, we may bake something and enjoy the wonderful aroma that fills the house. If we seem caught up in negative thoughts, it helps to think of others and find a way to serve someone else.
Paul wrote in I Cor. 16:13 (The Message), “Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.” Let us seize the day, hold fast to the Lord, and express love to Him and to others; then even on dark trying days, we can have expectations of good.
Challenge for today: Explore what helps you to be upbeat and view your day on a positive note.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


Don’t call it a “Conspiracy”

Because of his message of non-involvement with the superpower Assyria, the prophet Isaiah was considered treasonous by the people of Judah. He chose, however, not to get political during a time of deep and divided political intrigue. He was simply God’s prophet proclaiming God’s word to the nation of Judah.  God warned the people in Is. 8:12 not to get involved with conspiracy theories. “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” The Message says, “Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them.” Wow! Is that a relevant warning for our day! 

Remember: when God was looking for a spokesperson, Isaiah responded, “Here am I. Send me!” (Is. 6:8).  But here, God was firm with Isaiah – and it seems He meant business. The Message tells us, “God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not go along with this people” (8:11). Isaiah may have been influenced by the events of his day.  Perhaps he had started believing some of the rumors he’d heard. 

The NIVZSB gives this insight about Is. 8:11-13: “Two different understandings of history: (1) Give God the central place that only the Holy One must have, or (2) explain historical events as the result of human conspiracy, with the constant dread of the unknown that this view engenders.”  The NET Bible speculates the conspiracy might have been the alliance between Israel and Syria. “Some of the people may even have thought that individuals in Judah were plotting with Israel and Syria to overthrow the king.” The NLT Study Bible notes, “People regarded Isaiah’s message of non-involvement with Assyria as treasonous, part of a conspiracy…What frightens them was the alliance of Syria and Israel attacking Judah.” 

Isaiah exhorted the people to listen to the Lord of Heaven’s armies: “He is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread” (Is. 8:13 – emphasis mine).  Isaiah goes on the say, “He will keep you safe.  But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall, and for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare” (Is. 8:14).   

Peter picks up on this passage in I Peter 2:4-8.  He describes Jesus as a “living Stone” and those chosen by God to be “living stones” used to build a spiritual house, “to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (v. 5).  Quoting Isaiah 28:16 Peter declares, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (v. 6).  Then he adds, “This stone is precious…But to those who do not believe…a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (vv. 7-8).  “They stumble,” declares Peter, “because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for” (v. 8). 

The implication for us as followers of Jesus is to examine our dedication to Jesus, our “chosen and precious cornerstone.”  As “living stones” we are to trust that Jesus is the key to what God is building by his Spirit. We are warned that unbelief will cause us to stumble and fall.  Men, make Jesus your “cornerstone.”  Measure all you do both within and outside the church by your commitment to him.  In these passages God gives us fair warning of the deadly consequences of not keeping our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus.  

October 16, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this weekend and all the fall colors. The temperature is cooler but so nice to see the sun again.  Soon I must get busy and get out our winter clothes. This morning I am getting ready for a special friend coming shortly and can’t wait! Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we prepared for Jesus coming again? Are we eagerly waiting and readying ourselves? Each day we are a day closer to His coming, whether it be by His Second Coming or whether it is our time and He takes us home to be with Him forever.
As I write this I am very excited as I got a call last night from a dear sister in the Lord who is coming today. I haven’t seen her for some time and although we e-mail frequently, it’s nothing like seeing her in person. She is driving with her nieces all the way from Des Moines, IO to Baxter, MN ! She doesn’t know the exact time they will arrive but I want to be home and ready with table set to dine together and have sweet fellowship.
It makes me aware of how we need to be spiritually getting ready for the Lord’s coming. We begin by opening our hearts each day to have fellowship with Him, reading the Word, listening to His voice, and making room in our schedules for doing what He asks of us.
We must guard against growing lukewarm and getting so busy with other things that our desire becomes no longer for Him. Every day the Lord comes knocking as it says in Rev. 3:20 (NRSV), “Listen, I’m standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” He doesn’t force His way but waits for us.  Will we respond with anticipation and joy and quickly open the door? If we do, He comes in and fills our empty places with a beautiful fragrance. He brings healing and wholeness to us and fills us with His love.
Let us not hold back and ignore the ways the Lord comes knocking, but open wide to Him with a receptive heart. Who knows, if today is the day He comes again or if it is our last day on earth?
Challenge for today: Tell the Lord He is welcome in the home of your heart and open wide to Him. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

October 15, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It seems more like fall now with the crisp temperatures. This morning I cleaned our apartment and took a friend to the Dollar Store to start buying things for Operation Christmas. This afternoon I am going shopping with Al as we got only as far as Culver’s yesterday!Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It’s easy to quit when the going gets rough, but it takes courage and perseverance to keep on and not give up. We live in a culture that says to do whatever makes us happy and if our needs aren’t met, to just quit! I’m sure we have all been guilty of being a quitter and not carrying through with something that was difficult. Children often quit in the middle of the game if they know they are losing. Teens may quit simply because the job is not very exciting but hard work and would rather have a cushy one. Or adults quit when they think they can’t stand one more day of a demanding boss or just bored with their spouse. 
Perhaps all of us think more of our own needs and feeling good, rather than contributing and serving others. But I read the scripture today from Galatians 6:9-10 (The Message) where Paul says, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get a chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
I  read an article recently by Tiffany Thibault, an author and Bible Study leader, who writes about not growing weary.  In whatever situation we are in, we are not to give up but keep doing good to everyone God puts in our path. For all of us that will look different and maybe today it is something simple as making a meal, sending a card, praying for a person, giving a compliment, or just listening to another.
God wants to work through us and we may not always feel like giving out, but often our own concerns are lightened even as we do good. I liked Tiffany’s prayer that we may want to pray before starting our day.
“Dear Lord,
Thank you that you are in my life, that you are working in all my situations today. Please give me the strength that I need to be able to do good to everyone that I will encounter today. Help me to reflect your goodness to those around me. Help me to see opportunities where I can be the good today to whoever needs it. Help me to not focus on what I think I need, but to see that you have placed me right where I am today so that I can do good to someone. Help me to trust you as I encounter those difficult people, and show me how to do good to them. Lord, give me strength to not grow weary in doing good. In your name I pray, Amen.”
Let us be willing to let God use us to bring good to others!
Challenge for today: Ask God to work through you to do good to someone in your path today.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

October 14, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day on this rainy day. This morning I did food prep and shopped at Aldi’s and went downstairs for donuts. This afternoon is our Bible Study here at Northern Lakes and then we plan to do some shopping. Not sure if we will be walking outside or down in the underground garage. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Temptation comes to all of us and it is not something we enjoy but have to stand against. Just because we are tempted doesn’t mean we are weak or have done something wrong. In fact, it can mean the opposite for the enemy doesn’t care so much about tempting a person whom he already seems to have won, but tries to get those who love the Lord to trip up and fall. Satan’s way is to deceive us in any way he can and he wants us to doubt that he even exists. But he is a liar and the father of all lies. He tries to put thoughts in our minds that God is holding out on us. Remember how he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and said, “Did God actually say you shall not eat of the tree in the garden?” She took the bait and also Adam and they ate the fruit and ended up being escorted out of the beautiful garden to work the ground. When we fall for Satan’s tactics, we also suffer loss.
There are some things we can do that help us stand against the enemy. We need to be on guard against him and put on the armor of God. We can also do things to deepen our relationship with the Lord by reading the Word, obeying, praying, worshiping, sharing him with others etc. It is helpful to memorize scripture so we can defeat him with the Word of God like Jesus did.  Some Christians make themselves accountable to another believer so that when tempted they may call and ask for prayer and counsel. There are instances when we may need to actually remove ourself from the tempting situation, much like Paul says to Timothy 2:22 (ESV), “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 
Even as as I wrote this last night, I was tempted to quit writing, and the enemy told me I  had a busy day and just do it another time… plus there was a good movie on!
I could hardly believe it, but suddenly the first half of this devotional just simply disappeared and I was not able to get it back. I had to start all over again. The enemy knows our weak areas and what areas frustrate us and he tries to sabotage us. Let us not give in to the enemy for when we do, in even a small area, it becomes easier the next time. But, there is grace when we seek to love and obey the Lord and to resist the enemy’s tactics. Let us walk in the grace and strength He wants to give us.
Challenge for today: Be on guard against the enemy’s tactics and ask for God’s escape plan each time when tempted.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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