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.

January 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend and keeping warm. We will have to walk in the underground again today! This morning I did food prep and cleaned the apartment and began to sort out clothes I no longer wear. The big game is on tonight as our pastor is a Packer Fan!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love to eat, especially after I have gone to my exercise class. Even while I am dancing, using our weights and exercise bands, I may be thinking of the meal that awaits me when I get home. Before I go to class, I give Al instructions when to put the meal I have prepared ahead of time, in the oven so it is hot and ready to eat when I return home. It tastes extra good after a workout and satisfies my hunger!
Now wouldn’t it be great if we all felt that way about satisfying our spiritual hunger? What if we woke up each morning with great anticipation of what the Lord was going to feed us from His word; it might cause us to get up earlier, when others are still asleep, to have a special quiet time with the Lord and get our instructions for the day.  Whatever He feeds us, will be the fuel we need for the day and will keep us going.
Even though I have a hearty meal when I come from exercising, by supper time I am more than ready for another meal. Sometimes we might even have a little spiritual snack during the day when we go out with Christian friends. As we share the Lord together over coffee and a roll, it seems like we are refueled to go on our way with renewed energy and even excitement.
Just because we read the Word yesterday and spent some time in prayer, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be spiritually hungry today. We need spiritual nutrition every day or our bodies wear down and don’t perform well. We might even get sick and need special care as a result.
Now maybe you are reading this and you don’t feel your heart is hungry for God. You can pray that He will put that desire in your heart for Him and as He said in Psalm 81:10, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” We can just come to Him and open our heart and He does the rest. He satisfies the deepest hunger of our hearts, that we may not have been aware of or have denied.
We also have the promise in Psalm 107:9 (NLT), “For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Let us not go around spiritually famished but receive the Bread of Life for our hungry souls.
Challenge for today: Spend some time reading your Bible and asking God to feed you just what He knows you need.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 21, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Only -4 today! Burr!Emoji  I made a G.F. Lasagne this morning and took a friend from here to the Dollar Store. I was hunting for prizes for the grandkids that we will see in February.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Don’t you love to see couples in love as they seem to go around with a smile on their face all the time, knowing they are special and loved. They want to tell everyone about their one and only!  One such couple came to Canaan’s Rest when we ran the retreat house and they were newly married. The husband had only good to say about his wife and went on and on about how wonderful she was. Years later they came back again, but by then his conversation showed that he did see areas in his wife’s life that could be improved upon!
I thought of our relationship with the Lord and how when we first come to know the Lord, it’s like our whole world is sparkling and full of love; we can’t keep the joy to ourselves and it just seems to spill over. We spend much time with Him in prayer, reading the Word and talking about Him to our friends and we seem to just float along. We tell others about how wonderful He is. But then when things happen in our lives that are difficult, we feel like our bubble has burst; we can lose some of our zeal for the Lord and we start complaining, God why did you let this happen to me?! But unlike the spouse that came to Canaan, God is love, He is all good all the time, and even when we don’t understand His ways, He has our best in mind. 
The Apostle John writes about God’s love and says in I John 4:10 & 16 (God’s Word), “This is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be he payment for our sins… God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them.” When we remember that Jesus loved us enough to give His life for us, it helps answer our questions about the depth of His caring and gives us the bigger picture of the extent of His love. Even though as spouses we have so much that can be improved upon, the Lord is perfect; He is love and will never will fail us, never! Let us share that love especially with those who have not yet come to know Him.
Challenge for today: When you are tempted to complain, give thanks instead to the One who loves you unconditionally.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 20, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping nice and warm. It was -17 this morning and a cold trip to Aldi’s. Glad I can stay in the rest of the day. I have been busy in my kitchen and enjoyed Donut day and this afternoon we have Bible Study here.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
The Lord is always calling us back to Himself, to draw us closer to Him. Perhaps we all find times we seem to wander off on our own, forgetting He is most important and Number One. When we veer off doing our own thing, we sometimes get an abrupt awakening as something happens that jolts us, like sickness or loss of something important to us. We may also run ahead of the Lord and jump into things that He has not fully prepared us for; so, life becomes more difficult than needs to be.
As I was having my devotions, I read how God used Hosea to call the people of Israel back to God, telling them God wanted their steadfast love not sacrifices. He wants our hearts as well, not our busy activity that leaves no time to actually spend moments with Him.
It reminds me of the dad who is always working but leaves no time to actually spend with his family. But the truth is that his family desires his presence more than his gifts. It is much like the little girl who saved up her money to buy some of her daddy’s time. She knew how much he made an hour so saved up enough for a few minutes of his time. When she broke her piggy bank and gave him the money she had, it was a wake-up call for him; he wept and hugged her, as he realized his daughter really craved daddy time with him and he resolved to do so in the future.
Joel also says in Joel 2:12, “Yet even now, declares the Lord, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’” We can give money, service and gifts to the Lord but He is really after our hearts. Joel goes on to say that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Let us not delay any longer but return fully to Him.
Challenge for today: Spend quiet time alone with the Lord and share your heart with Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 19, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm on this cold day! Burrr! This morning I did food prep and went to my exercise class. This afternoon is crafts, a walk and then Bible Study. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 We’ve all had supernatural interventions in our lives as God is at work, even when we don’t always recognize His hand. When I asked about miracles in your life I was blessed as many  responded and I will share just a few with you that you may also give Him glory. 
My cousin’s wife wrote:
When I was 16 years old, me and my three older siblings (ages 17, 18, and 19) were driving home (to Illinois) from Naples Florida, in early January, after a visit with my grandparents. While still in a southern state, we came upon snowy roads that were very slick. Our car slid off the road and almost fell into a deep ravine, barely hanging on. People stopped to help us right away, even going to find a tow truck to pull us to safety. While waiting for the tow, the bystanders decided it would be safer for us to get out of the car if we could without causing it to fall. The siblings in the front seat had to climb over to the back to be able to get out. We each made it out, the tow truck came pulling the car to safety, no damage to the car and we were on our way again in no time…angels watching over us!  We told our parents about the incident when we arrived home and my mother told us she had felt an urgent need to pray for us at the exact time we were hanging over the ravine.
A good friend from our previous church in Des Moines wrote:
“I’m reminded of a miraculous healing in 1983! Shortly after Josh was born, my hands broke out in wart like sores! It was very unsightly and painful. I would try to hide my hands. I went to the dermatologist and they would try to burn them off, which made them more red and painful. Having a newborn was a challenge as you wash your hands frequently, which irritated them even more! The several weeks of treatment was not working! One Sunday at Redeemer your Husband asked if anyone wanted prayer to come to the altar! I went forward and Denise prayed for my hands to be healed! Praise God, shortly after that prayer, they were completely healed and I did not have to return for further treatment and it has never reoccurred! All Glory to God!!!”
Another friend from our church in Brunswick wrote:
“The first thing that comes to my mind on miracles is of course our little Gibby! Mel and Sam were told that there was very little chance he would survive when she went into labor at just 20 weeks but he didn’t arrive until 34 weeks and Mel was on bedrest the whole time. The Dr couldn’t believe It as he was so close to popping out. We always call him our little miracle boy!! He is now almost 12 years old!!😀”
Another friend wrote, “Our grandson Will born less than 2 lbs. and told his bowels did not connect and now he is 15 years old 6 ft. tall and the picture of strength and health. Drs. told me 7 years ago i would need kidney dialysis in 5 years and the numbers are better today than they were then.”  
There are so many more stories of God’s intervention for He answers the prayers of all who call upon Him. As it says in Deut. 10:21 (Message), “He’s your praise! He’s your God! He did all these tremendous, these staggering things that you saw with your own eyes.”
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord for a miracle in your life and share with another when the opportunity comes. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 18, 2022

Dear Ones,
 My question today is: When have you seen an example of forgiveness at great cost to the one wounded? 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
A verse from the Bible that is not often quoted and may seem puzzling to some is found in Phil 1:29 (NRSV), “For He has graciously granted to you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but also suffering for Him as well.” Suffering is not something we are exempt from simply because we are a believer. In fact, we are to consider it a privilege and told to stand firm and fearless at such times. In fact, we can be strengthened in our faith if we keep our eyes on the Lord. God may use what we are going through to serve as an example for others and can bring glory to Him. Paul could speak from experience for he endured much suffering for the Lord and forgave those who gave him much grief, imprisoned him, beat him etc.

Today I also read a devotional that just gave me goosebumps as I read it, for it was such an example of forgiveness in intense suffering. Ann Spangler writes of what happened in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania at the Amish school. You probably all remember the incident when Charles Roberts IV killed 5 young students and himself. He left a suicide note expressing his anger at God because his infant daughter died: it would seem he wanted to take it out on young school girls. He let all the boys go but had the girls ages 6 to 13 lie face down on the floor as he tied their ankles with wire and plastic ties. One girl asked to be shot first, hoping he would spare the other ones but he went on to shoot 5 of them before himself. There was blood splattered on all desks and bullet holes and glass everywhere.  Think of the sorrow of those parents who kissed their children good by that morning, never realizing they would not see them alive again. But instead of becoming bitter or seeking vengeance they joined as a community and showed grace and forgiveness. One mom even attended the shooter’s funeral and reached out to his family. She also sent meals and flowers to his widow. It’s hard to even fathom such courage and grace and yet only the Lord can give that.

What have we experienced that was devasting and tempted us to get bitter or desired to get even? May this example of this loving community cause us to remember to forgive at all cost because Jesus paid the price for us.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to give you a forgiving heart no matter what the cost. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 

January 17, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  I went to my exercise class this morning and also got a dessert made and egg dishes.
This afternoon Ann is going to give a class on Essential oils on zoom which comes at a good time to help with our immunity.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How open and welcoming are we to children, especially in our churches. Do we see them as special and important in God’s sight or do we think of them as a distraction, especially during the Sunday morning worship?
Pastor Mark Roberts, from Fuller Seminary writes about welcoming the children to come to the Lord, and how Jesus had concern for them. But Jesus’ disciples must have thought children were bothersome and tried to shoo them away when Jesus was speaking to the crowds. In those days, it was a custom for mothers to bring their children to a rabbi for a blessing, and I imagine that is what happened that day. Jesus had a strong response to his disciples and said in no uncertain terms in Luke 18:15 (NRSV), “Let the children come to me and do not stop the for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.” The Message translation says, “Let these children alone. Don’t get between the and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy.” He goes on to say, “Mark this: Unless you accept Gods’ kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
If children are important to God’s kingdom, then we should be welcoming to them as well. Maybe we have small children and we take a deep breath on Sunday mornings and hope they behave in church so we don’t receive disgusted looks. But our churches should be the most welcoming place where children feel accepted and loved and cherished.  Sometimes we admit that we are more like the disciples that want to hush them up and to put them aside.
If you are a parent, the most important thing is helping them to know the Lord personally and modeling for them the life of His love. It helps to take them to S.S. and to let them get together with Christian friends, go on mission trips etc.
Even when our kids are grown, we can encourage parents, teach S.S., help with youth functions, greet them at church and show an interest in them, mentor them, be supportive of youth leaders etc.
We can also learn a lot by watching children for they express faith even at a very young age and they can ask us heart searching questions.
One of our friends from a church where Al was interim, is retirement age, but very active with the youth, She gives children sermons, has over 50 kids on Wednesdays for Release Time, does Christmas programs, has the youth help at Nursing homes etc. She feels so blessed that God has given her this ministry.
Let us not forget the children but as Jesus, let us welcome them and learn from them.
Challenge for today: Go out of your way at church to show a child he or she is important.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

The Mama Bear Movement

All over the nation a Mama Bear Movement is on the rise, impacting the political landscape across America.  According to The Daily Citizen, “these moms are a diverse group of ordinary women motivated to protect their children from an aggressive and progressive agenda being pushed by special interest groups who believe they know what is best for all children.”

The movement gained momentum during the pandemic as moms began to ask questions about the school curriculum, reviewed books in the school library, and learned what was being taught in the classroom.  It became clear to those in the movement that schools “were promoting racist curriculum in the name of racial reconciliation, teaching sexually explicit and abusive material in the name of sexual tolerance, and willfully jeopardizing the safety of children at school in the pursuit of affirming the transgender movement.”

So, Mama Bears all over the country, “motivated by the instinctual need to protect their children…began to courageously push back at school board meetings, write op-eds for local papers, speak at rallies, and organize protests, all the while refusing to be silenced.  It remains to be seen if this will be a lasting movement.” 

I, for one, admire the Mama Bears. It seems they have been encountering deeply entrenched practices and policies, and are also creating a ruckus, for the National School Board Association even asked the Department of Justice for help, fearing that Mama Bears could be “domestic terrorists.” Can you imagine this taking place in America?  Goodness, these are Mama Bears watching out for their cubs.  I submit to you, men, that should the DOJ enlist the FBI to investigate Mama Bears, we are in a real battle for who has final authority in our families.

I pray that Dads reading this blog will say, “enough is enough.”  We need fathers and grandfathers to stand up and fight for their families alongside the Mama Bears.  If there was a parade to protest the intrusion of the state into the family, I hope there would be Papa Bears marching in the front showing the same passion as the Mama Bears

We are to defend and protect our families.  Scripture is clear: children are a gift from God given to parents to raise under the Lordship of Jesus and his kingdom. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.  How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” (Ps. 127:3-5a NLT). 

Deut. 6:4-9 and Exodus 20:12 are devoted to family. Indeed, the fourth commandment is the one commandment with a promise: “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” The implication is undeniable.  When family life is neglected, it will not go well – period.  The breakup of the family means culture crumbles. Repairing the family as an institution is not the task of the state or any other institution. 

The family is the basic building block of human community.  Proverbs repeats in various ways the need for instruction of children.  For example: “My son, keep your father’s commands, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching… For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the correction of discipline are the way of life” (Prov. 6:20, 23).    

I encourage fathers to wholeheartedly join the Mama Bears.  We could use some strong, passionate Papa Bears standing on the frontlines of the battle for the family.  Remember it is a battle.  They are coming for our children. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Januargy 15, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. This morning I made Al’s favorite cookies and went shopping and going to do a little more this afternoon before we go for our walk. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is good to let others know that they are important and make a difference in our lives. No better time than when they have a birthday and to be able to celebrate that God put them on earth at this time and in this place that touches our lives.

We celebrated our daughter’s birthday yesterday with a meal, cake, gifts and balloons. I had so much joy preparing for the celebration as it is a special occasion. Growing up my birthday and my sibling’s birthdays were recognized and celebrated with a party, and we kept that tradition going with our own kids; Everyone needs to know they matter; they are important to us and life would not be the same without them. At the close of our meal. we told Ann some words that describe her that started with her initials, A, M, E, like analytical, aspiring, meditating, methodical, exciting ,exacting (she is a pharmacist) etc.  Of course, she is all of them and far more. 

Some people are very introverted but even their quiet presence makes a difference. Others may be very extroverted but even they need to be assured that life is merrier with them. We don’t want to be prideful but rather grateful for how God has individually made us and then use our gifts to bring glory to Him.
There are gifts He puts within each of us, and as we serve, those gifts come to light and we find joy in using them to bless others.
Let not the enemy tell any of us, that we don’t matter. Though God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, we are still most important to Him. We are the highest creation, and David said in Psalm 8:4-5 (ESV), “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honor.” The fact is, we are important enough to God that he would love us enough to die for each of us.
Maybe today we feel alone and wonder if others really care about us, but let us remember that God our creator, loves us with an everlasting love and cherishes us always and forever!
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord that you matter to Him and ask that you make a difference with your life.  
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 14, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have some time to relax and get refreshed. Today we are having an early  birthday celebration for our daughter Ann. I hope the meal turns out good as it is done in a very hot oven, and last time i made such a meal it set off the fire alarm!! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Our loving Father wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. The closest thing we may compare it to is two lovers who have eyes only for each other and hold one another in their hearts. We were created to have fellowship with the Lord and to be intimately connected in love to the One who is love.
When we read the Word, it should not be to simply get information and learn more about the Lord, but rather to let our heart be open to love Him. It’s more than cerebral, for our hearts need to be engaged as well. When I was young gal in Nursing school, we were not allowed to get married until the last 6 months of our 3 years of training. That was a long wait for Al and me as we were in love and already knew that we were to be married. Al was a student pastor in a church near Colfax, WI and would preach on weekends and then spent the summers there. That meant very little time for us to be together, besides our studies. We didn’t have cell phones then and every long-distance call cost us money that we had very little of as students. So, in the long summer times, we would write each other every day. Now I wanted to know what Al was doing and all about his day and his work in the church etc. but if his letters were just all informational, I would have been disappointed. Instead, they were filled with expressions of love and I would read his letters over and over again. In many ways we got to know each other more deeply, as we shared what was in our hearts, rather than filling our time going places and doing things.
When we think of our relationship with the Lord, He wants to be our first love. Yes, He wants to hear about our day, but even more He wants us to love Him and draw closer to Him. He says in Deut. 6:4 (ESV), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
One of our friends who has a sharp inquisitive mind shares how he is seeing his need to be less rational and to live more with an open heart. Deep emotions have been overflowing as he finds expression and great joy in writing poetry, which has been healing in his life.
We all need to remember to use not only our minds but express with our hearts our love for the Lord and for one another.
Challenge for today. Go for a prayer walk and just unload your heart and express love for the Lord.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 13, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the day. This morning I cleaned the apartment and went to Aldi’s and downstair for coffee and donuts. This afternoon we have our Bible Study here. Tomorrow we are going to celebrate Ann’s birthday early so I am going to do some food prep.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Many of you that receive my e-mails have health problems and are waiting for healing. I hope Rebecca Barlow Jordan’s prayer will express to the Lord much of what is in your heart too.
“God, you know me so well. You created me. You know the number of hairs on my head, and you even know the thoughts conceived in my heart before I ever vocalize them. You’ve told us to come to you and ask for every need of life. You are Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, and you have the final word on my destiny, the number of years I’ll live and serve you on earth.
I’m coming to you today as your child, longing to hear from you and asking for your divine healing. There’s so much I don’t understand about life. But I do know that with one touch, one word, you can make me whole. Please forgive me of my sins, cleanse me of my unrighteousness, and begin your healing from the inside out.
I don’t always know what your will is Lord, especially in times like now, when I desperately seek your face. I offer you no promises, no bargains, no deals to exchange for my health. I simply bow my heart before you to tell you the desire of my heart: that I want to spend as many years as I can loving you here, loving others, and wanting to become more like you. However you choose to accomplish that is up to you—and okay with me. If you use doctors to provide healing, give them wisdom to know what to do. Regardless of how you accomplish it, the healing you give is always miraculous. And you deserve all the praise.

I absolutely believe you have the power to heal. You demonstrated that on earth, and you still heal in miraculous ways today. Even when my faith is weak, you say it is enough, and my love for you is strong. And I know you already hold my heart and life in your hands. It’s up to you. If I can bring you more glory through healing, then that’s what I ask for. That’s what I desire.

But if your answer is no, or not now, I know that your grace is sufficient for me. Ultimately, I want your will to be my will. I look forward to spending an eternity with you. But Lord, if you have planned still more for me to do here on this earth, I not only need and want your physical healing, Lord, but a thorough, deep-down cleansing and strengthening—a whole-hearted renewal of all that I am. Because all that I am is yours. Use this trial to strengthen me from a “what-if” faith to a “no-matter-what” faith. And no matter what, I choose to honor you and give you glory. In Jesus’s name, Amen. “

Challenge for today: Pray this prayer, giving God glory however He answers. 

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