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.

July 25, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you arise to the day with an open heart to the Lord. Today is Donut Day here and Bible study and later an auto party and sale next door.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we easily offended, or do we have a Christlike heart that forgives even before being asked? All of us have been sinned against and each time that it happens we must choose whether we will carry resentment in our hearts or if we will plead the blood of Jesus over them and forgive. The decision is weighty for if we choose not to forgive, we will carry a burden of offense that will weigh us down and will color our attitude, our outlook, our conversations etc. We will find that resentment consumes us by wanting to get even and it gives us a very heavy feeling. It can cause us to get physically and emotionally sick as well.

How different it is when we have an unoffended heart, and it seems like we can skip along with joy and a lightness.  I recently saw some footage of deer in the mountains and watched as they jumped straight up to the next height without any problem. It was so cool and so effortless, and they frolicked with one another. All the while they were climbing higher and higher on the rocks but with strength and agility and joy.

All of us have some tough mountains to climb but we can choose to have the right attitude and outlook. Our part is to ask the Lord to show us what needs to change in us to become more Christlike. We have to give up our offensive attitudes with the desire to retaliate and let the Lord give us a heart like His. As the Lord says in Ezekiel 37:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Let us die to the pride of our stoney heart and let Him give us a new heart of flesh. Then let us leap to the higher ground with joy and never stop and quit

Challenge for today: If you are hanging on to unforgiveness in your heart towards anyone, give it up and ask the Lord to give you a new heart and spirit. Then see how much lighter you feel and go to the heights.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 24, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope your heart is filled with trust in the Lord for whatever the day holds. This morning, I plan to do food prep and go to my exercise class and this afternoon Al and I are going to Costco as I never got shopping yesterday.
Devotional from Judy’s heart
Do we trust the Lord? I know we say we do, but do we really trust Him with everything? I usually read each day from the O.T. and N.T, a few different translations, and a devotional book but in all the books recently it spoke of trusting God, and that’s a clue I need to pay special attention.
For example, when the Babylonians took over Jerusalem, they burned down the royal palace and took King Zedekiah and slaughtered his sons, and then put out his eyes before taking him into captivity. But the King of Babylon treated Jeremiah differently and very kindly and gave orders for him to be taken care of. The Lord spoke to Jeremiah and told him he would not die in the war but. ”You will escape with your life because you trusted me.” (Jer. 39:18)

When I read from Eph. 3, Paul was writing from prison and he tells the Ephesians that his life work is to help people to understand and respond to the message that all are welcome into God’s family, both Jew and Gentile. He tells them, “When we trust in Him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!” (Eph.3:10)

I also read from Genesis how Noah and his family were saved from the flood because they trusted God and did all that He commanded. And in Nehemiah, when threatened by the enemy to quit building the wall, they did not quit, but prayed and trusted God and set a watch against their enemy day and night.

We say we believe in the Lord, but do we really trust Him if we are filled with anxiety and worry? If we spend time dwelling on the “what-ifs” will happen, we are not resting in Him. Joyce Meyer shares from Heb. 4:3, “For we who have believe (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest…” She gives ways of how to get our mind off of mauling over our problems and instead to choose to think of other things. Maybe we can simply do something like go for a walk, try a new recipe, or read a book. We get our focus on things other than our problem and trust God to work in our situation. Let us pray and give God our circumstance and wait in Trust.

Challenge for today: Don’t feed worry but trustingly give your situation to the Lord in prayer and rest in Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 23, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine! I made pumpkin pancakes and bacon for supper last night and the apt is still full of the wonderful aroma. Today I am still deciding whether to deep clean some cupboards or closet, or to shop or study! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Who is our power source? If it is us, we will soon run out of juice but if it is the Lord, we can sail through our day with strength and purpose. It’ doesn’t take very long for our own strength to petter out and we end up quitting before reaching our goal; but God’s strength will give us power to go all the way and reach the finish line.

I have a cordless vacuum that I love, and it works wonders. It has a see-through canister, so I know when it needs to be emptied of all the dust and dirt that it picks up. If I fail to empty it, soon it backs up and becomes clogged and then takes longer to empty. It only runs so long and has to be plugged in and recharged. There are times that it quits on me and I know it’s time for recharging and I plug it in to the power source and wait. When we first got our new vacuum, I couldn’t believe all the dust, hair, and dirt as I clean rather often, but the evidence was there! It continually reminds me of the sin in my own life that is not always so obvious but present and needs to be delt with. If I don’t go to the Lord in repentance and ask to be made clean, things will only get worse, and I will be all “plugged up” and not useful. Sometimes the vacuum picks up a long string and it gets all entangled in the bristles of the roller brush and I need to stop and repair it. Much like there may be things in my life that are deep and seem to get me off balance, and I need help from someone who will pray for me so I can function freely again.

We all need to be plugged into the power source of the Lord. On our own we will soon give out, but He wants our dependency to be on Him, not ourselves, and then we will have power to do whatever comes. It’s important to start our day with the Lord so we can live in constant awareness of Him and let His love and power flow through us. Time with Him is like getting our battery charged and we will be empowered for all that is in our day. We have only to ask for His help and cleansing and then power will be given us, like Paul said in Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Challenge for today Seek to be cleansed by the Lord and infused with His power and strength.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Get Married

Bard  Wilcox’s new book, “Get Married” has caused quite a discussion regarding the state of marriage in American  culture.  Wilcox points out the single best predictor of long-term happiness is marriage.  “Americans,” notes Wilcox, “who are married with children are now leading happier and more prosperous lives, on average, than men and women who are single and childless.”  In fact, there is a, “startling 30-percentage-point happiness divide between married and unmarried Americans.”  

In an interview given to “Public Discourse,” Wilcox listed five forces behind the diminution of marriage in American life.  These factors, “have been championed by the elites who control the commanding heights of our culture, economy and government,” notes Wilcox.  Here are the five dynamics identified by Wilcox.

First – Expressive individualism – living for the desires and ambitions of the self, rather than for family and community.

Second – Secularization – the decline of religious authority and practice, which has diminished the normative power of marriage and the social supports that sustain marriage.

Third –  the rise of a post-industrial economy – making disadvantaged non-college-educated men, less “marriageable.’

Fourth – Statism – “the modern state’s tendency to supplant many of the functions and much of the authority once held by the family.”

Fifth – Electronic opiates – “Big Tech’s products have left too many young women anxious and depressed and too many men bereft of drive and ambition.”

He adds this observation, “Dominant elites have advanced ideas that devalue and demean marriage, cast aside the normative guardrails that forge strong families, passed laws that penalize marriage for the poor and working class, and superintended the rise of a new economy that benefits them but puts marriage and family out of reach for millions of their fellow Americans.”  He worries that we are facing a “closing of the American Heart,” in a nation where a large number of young adults will never marry and-or never have children. 

Demographer Lyman Stone projects that as many as one in three young adults will never marry and as many as one in four will never have kids.  Wilcox declares, “That’s a lot of kinless Americans.”  So where does this leave us as men who want to make a difference, as followers of Jesus?  Here are some suggestions.

1) God’s view of reality.  I strongly exhort men to view  marriage and family as the foundation of our society.  Don’t listen to the voice of the crowd, “the empty-headed, mindless crowd” (Eph. 4:17 MSG).  Paul says, “They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God, but with reality itself.  They can’t think straight anymore.  Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion” (Eph. 4:18-19 MSG).  

2) Commit yourself to be an exemplar in your marriage.  Pope John Paul IV considered marriage to be prophetic in its expression of the body and sex, proclaiming  “a profound mystery” of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32).  Visualize your marriage as a prophetic expression of God’s love expressed in Christ.  Your marriage can stand as a light in a very dark world.

3)  Know that you are in a fight with the enemy of our souls.  The Pope noted, the union of the sexes, “is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love.”  As we commit to our marriages, we will be fighting a significant battle against the enemy

4) Be joined to and committed to a group of believers who will encourage, support and interceded for your marriage.  

5) Commit to be available to younger men, who so desperately need exemplars in their lives.   

 

 

 

July 22, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Today I plan to make banana bread and G.F. cookies and then off to my exercise class. What beautiful weather we have been having and love our walks on the Paul Bunyan trail.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How many of us are aware that we are being watched each day. If we know the Lord, others are looking on to see if our actions and attitudes match up to what we confess with our mouths. They may never say anything but all the while they are observing and tabulating in their minds and hearts if Jesus is real and does He make a difference in our lives.

A friend from my nursing school days emailed me recently about how she was taken by surprise as she appeared in the guest pastor’s message at the small country church she attends. He had been a classmate of hers many years ago and his sermon was about living out our faith. She was a studious student and rarely talked to him but had a class or two together; but evidently, he was observing her life. The pastor lost his father at age 14 and became a very angry young man. He and his family were regular “church goers” but he hadn’t had a personal relationship with Jesus. He had seen his dad became a “changed person” at some point, and he would often ask his dad questions about God and the Bible. The Pastor said that in high school he would watch four classmates—one being my friend and her best friend and another gal and guy. He saw Jesus in them. When one of them went to summer camp at Asbury College between her junior and senior years of high school she became truly born again and witnessed to this young man. He however went off to a state school for his freshman year of college. Then he thought he had to go to Asbury to get what he saw this gal had. So, he transferred to Asbury his second year and thought all the students were crazy because they were so happy. At some point he surrendered his life to the Lord during a revival. He became a pastor and has had a lifetime of serving God in that capacity.

The point of this pastor’s sermon was how important it is live our lives so that people see Jesus in us. My friend had no idea in high school that she was being watched and having a positive influence in a classmate’s life! She was humbled and honored and gave glory to the Lord. We may not have any idea who may be watching us, but it is important that we live like a Jesus follower. A verse I learned as a young girl from Matt. 5:16 says it well, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Challenge for today: Shine for the Lord wherever you are, even when you think no one is watching!
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

July 20, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! Today I plan to bake and clean and walk on the Paul Bunyan Trail. So wonderful to have our A.C. working now and we don’t take it for granted. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We live in turbulent and uncertain times, and it is often hard to know how to pray. So much confusion and conflict in our world and we find ourselves seeking the peace of the Lord to navigate through it all. He is in charge. Sometimes prayers are written online to help us pray with faith and in unison with others. Recently I read on Crooswalk.com prayers by Cally Logan who is an author and teacher, and I chose a couple short prayers she wrote for the church and on for our country to share with you.

  Lord God,
     We pray for the Church during this time. Lord, the Church is not just a building to be visited on Sundays, it is the Body of Believers You came to this earth to save. We pray for the Church to come together and work together in unison to be a vessel of Your Light in this dark World. May we be driven to come before You humbly for direction, guidance, and wisdom in how to navigate these times, but also how we may be the difference during this time. May we be used to encourage, uplift, and bless those around us and may we ever be pointing others to You. As You said, “As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  May the difference in who we are be You, Lord. Please pour out Your Spirit among Your children and lead us in how to be in the world, but not of it.

In Jesus Name, Amen.”

 Let us also pray for our nation and its leaders.
 “Lord God,
     Our leaders in this nation need our prayers. Whether we voted for them or not, and whether we agree with them on every issue or not, they are still Your creation and they have been given a seat in leadership for a reason. Father, we pray for their souls individually. May they be transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit and Lord may they use their positions for Your glory. We pray for wisdom for each of them as they navigate from day to day, we pray for discernment of what is right and what is wrong, and Lord we pray that their hearts would come to know You so intimately that they are like David, men and women after Your own heart. Lord, we pray for them in this age, and we pray for the leaders to come. We know no matter who sits in Oval Offices, Congress, or Governor’s Chairs, ultimately You Lord are Sovereign, and Father we pray those in such seats will seek Your face today and in the days to come.

          In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Challenge for today:  Pray in faith and humility for the Church and our nation!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

      

July 19, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have time to relax and be refreshed. We got home last night from our retreat time and were pleasantly surprised as our A.C. was fixed and apartment comfortably cool again. PTL!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What a wonderful gift we received from dear friends to go on retreat with them to a lovely place in the woods by a quiet lake. We were surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation and enjoyed quiet time with the Lord and also in fellowship with our friends.
Our assignment we were given when we first arrived was to read Galatians 5 and rate ourselves from 1-10 of how much we felt we were in step with the Spirit. Then we were to reflect on the passage and ask the Lord to impress on us the aspects from Galatians 5 that we wanted His input and guidance over. We were also to read Psalm 16 for additional guidance.

  Even before the retreat I felt the Lord speaking to me of not settling for less than what He has for me. I had just read from Genesis 11 of Abraham’s father, Terah, who was told to pack up and go to the land of Canaan. But when he got only as far as Haran he settled there until he died. I have always thought, why didn’t he continue going? He missed out on the Promised Land! In my own life it was a word to me not to miss what the Lord has for me but to keep going into all that He has planned for me, the land of milk and honey! Not only for this retreat but for my life and to finish strong!!

  To enter that land also means keeping in step with the Spirit and to continually die to my own flesh.  More of Him and less of me! That is a daily struggle, but it is my desire and prayer. As I meditated on Galatians 5 we were to choose a fruit of the spirit that we wanted the Lord’s input on, and mine was kindness. I want to serve others and stop what I am doing to meet their needs but not always sure what the Lord is asking of me, and whether there is actually time for it. But the Lord reminded me there is always enough time to do what He calls me to do, and I need to listen carefully and stay in step with the Spirit! God initiates and I am just to respond.

  As I meditated on Psalm 16 and it being just after the assassination attempt, I took hold of verse 8, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.” Again, knowing that my life is in God’s hands and no matter what happens in this world, “my flesh dwells secure.” (verse 9)

So much more as the 4 of us shared together and prayed together and Al and I went home filled to overflowing with the joy and peace of the Lord.
Challenge for today: What fruit of the Spirit do you feel lacking in and ask for God’s input! (Gal. 5:22-23)
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

July 18, 2024

Dear Ones,
What a wonderful blessing to be on retreat and have no responsibilities but to just have time with the Lord. We have a beautiful setting as we can even view the lake from our bed because of the huge cathedral windows. I am the first one awake in the morning and can have my coffee as I look out on the quiet lake surrounded by trees. We were given an assignment when we came and spent time yesterday together in discussion, sharing and prayer, as well as time alone with the Lord, walks and simply sitting by the lake.
Devotions from Judy’s heart and more on prayer
Lately I have been reading about prayer… talking to the Lord and engaging Him and all that He is. I love the Psalms and it is like a textbook for prayer and covers all the emotions we may have as we go through our daily lives. It is so wonderful to also know that Jesus is not just listening to us but is praying for us. As it says in John 17:9, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given Me, for they are Yours.”

We can always be honest with the Lord in our prayers for He can read our hearts and knows us better than we know ourselves. We don’t need to pretend but can be our true selves with Him, even when we seem out of sorts. He listens to us and if we are honest with Him, He can change us out of our own selfish worlds into His spacious world of love.  It can change how we think and live and help us to participate in what He has for our lives. Even when we are at the office or busy with the demands of our children, we can be communicating with the Lord.

It’s especially important to be prayerful as we read the Bible. We are to see ourselves in the stories and not just judge others who blow it, but rather asking if we are like that one that is prideful? Judgmental? Vindictive etc.? It’s important that we live what we read in the Word. If we prayerfully read the Bible and ask Him to form our life according to His Word, our lives will be lived from our true self. We can relax and live according to His promptings without trying to take over in our own strength. May we desire to live such a life and be like Mary who said, “Let it be according to your Word.

Challenge for today: Read the Bible prayerfully, listen and remember you are being spoken to and follow with obedience.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 17, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to peace filled day!
I am writing as I look out on a beautiful still lake surrounded by huge trees from our retreat house. Awesome view! We arrived yesterday afternoon and had a delicious supper and time of catching up with our dear friends and much laughter, and prayer as we settled into our king-size bed that we can view the lake from.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We hear so much about prayer and often we feel guilty that we aren’t praying enough. What exactly is prayer? I am reading a book that Catherine de Hueck Doherty wrote about reflections from a life of prayer. She said, “Prayer is love… Prayer is the meeting of 2 loves: the love of God and our love.” Prayer is an expression of our love for God, and it can also be in silence, just as 2 lovers can sit in silence at yet be communicating their great depth of love. When we come to know the Lord in a deep way, I think we will come to know a depth of joy and peace that may surprise us for we will receive compassion for others like we have never known before.

In prayer we are really surrendering ourselves to the Lord for we are welcoming His will over our own. We don’t have to have a set time to pray for we can talk to Him all day long throughout our day. We can pray in our hearts, even when we are serving others and not doing it aloud. In many ways a young mother when she is busy with meeting her children’s needs can be praying in her heart throughout the day. Doherty says, “Real prayer is simply the communication that constantly passes between you and the Lord. Prayer is conversation with Him.”

I think we make prayer complicated and wordy, but prayer is really simple. Where we live there are people with health issues and we can just simply say as we walk down the hall, “God, Cindy is sick. Please touch her with healing.” We don’t even have to know the person, for through our day we may see an accident or someone who needs care, and we can just ask the Lord to look after them. Our lives should never be boring for if we are flowing in prayer throughout our day, it gets exciting. God is so present and in a sense our lives become a prayer.

Paul says in Gal.2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  As we become united with the Lord as He lives in us, I think we will find ourselves praying all the time.

Challenge for today: Talk with the Lord with words and without words throughout your day.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 16, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with expectancy of God speaking to you today.  We are going to be packing up to go for a retreat for 2 nights and days with good friends that did all the planning and preparation. We are leaving early so we can hit a Christian bookstore on the way which makes Al very happy! EmojiWe have already been given a schedule that leaves us time to be alone with the Lord, sharing of the 4 of us, and as couples, and time alone with the Lord. Walks and free time are included and even a nap!! We feel very blessed!!!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love flowers, especially wildflowers even more than a bouquet of roses, as they speak to me of God’s glory. At a women’s church gathering I won a lovely bouquet of a mixture of many kinds of flowers, and I was reminded so often as I passed the floral arrangement of our Creator who made them. When we walk the Paul Bunyan trail, I enjoy the beautiful wildflowers dotting the woods with their brilliant colors and variety; they are free for us to enjoy and also a reminder of Him who created everything.

God speaks to all mankind through the beauty of nature, and even unbelievers can see that God exists and has revealed Himself because of all that He has created. I am reading Psalm 19 and David begins saying that… “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech nor spoken word (from the stars); their voice is not heard. Yet their voice (in evidence) goes out through all the earth, their saying to the end of the world.”

I grew up in a home where the beauty of nature was appreciated and mom would often remark, “Come look and see the beautiful sunset over the lake tonight!” When we are with unbelievers, we can express our faith in sharing how God created so much beauty for us to enjoy etc. The evidence is right there as we might be out star gazing, and the heavens simply declare His handiwork. Let us all be aware of the reminders that God leaves for us to daily renew our faith and trust in Him. If He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it, is He not able to take care of us!

Challenge for today: Throughout your day, thank the Lord for the reminders He leaves for you to know that He is there with you. Also share Him with others!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

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