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 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have enjoyed the day. We left early this morning from Mark and Andrea’s after 5 days of fun and food and fellowship together with their family. I felt like I had a real vacation and time with the Lord and them. We are at the Holiday just south of Indianapolis. There is a beautiful outdoor pool but looks like a storm so will wait. Thank you for prayers. Going to Iowa City tomorrow. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What is the most wonderful thing in life? Is it not to be loved? Loved for who we are as a unique person and chosen by God? I am reading James Smith’s book, Embracing the Love of God, and though raised in a Christian home and becoming a preacher and author, he still struggled with comprehending He was loved by God. If we are honest, we have probably all had those thoughts of wondering would others love us if they knew really knew us?! Al commented that he read this book over 25 years ago and preached 10 sermons on it!
   But the truth is, God looks at us and smiles and loves us with a passionate love. He wants us to know it and feel it deep in our souls. Like me, maybe there are days we can really sense that love, but other times, especially after we have blown it, we wonder if He can love us still. But when we are forgiven and truly loved, it not only affects how we see ourselves, but it spills out on others. In many ways knowing we are loved is a process as we journey through life and more and more believe that He loves us and is always with us. Like Paul said in Eph. 3:18-19, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
  God doesn’t love us because we get up early to pray or that we help the poor or try to live flawlessly. But like Smith discovered, “God does not love, God is love.”  He never stops loving us because love is His nature. We can’t say the same about ourselves. We have to learn to love and receive His grace to be able to love like Him. He accepts us and loved us first and loves us every day of our lives. His love won’t ever change for us because it was not based on anything we did in the first place. We can’t earn it; we just receive it. He loves us as we are, not as we should be and want to be. We can’t lose His love for it is a gift. It is His pleasure to fill us with His love,
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to give you heart knowledge of His love for you!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

In the Midst of cultural confusion

In Micah 7:1-6,  the prophet grieves over the condition of Israel.  After being the mouthpiece for the Lord (6:9), Micah takes a figurative  walk through the city (Jerusalem).  He is overcome with what he sees, “What misery is mine!” (v 1).  He becomes aware of the wickedness and the impending doom he can see coming.  “The faithful have been swept from the land” ( v 2).  Wickedness has become deeply ingrained, leading to the unravelling of the whole fabric of life.  The heart of the problem is  one of leadership:  “the ruler…….the judge…….the powerful……the best of them” (3-4) have become skilled in doing evil.

As a watchman, Micah declares, “But your judgment day is coming swiftly now.  Your time of punishment is here” ( 4). It will be  “a time of confusion” (v 4)).  This one phrase seems to describe what is characteristic of the soul of our nation.  There would be social disorder with the brake down of relationships. “The situation is so dire that the people can’t trust a neighbor, a friend, or even a spouse (5).  Close family relations have broken down (6).  Judy and I are experiencing confusion among people we have know for years.  Jesus later used verse 6 to say that following him may also damage family relationships (Matt. 10:35-36) 

Micah pictures a society turned upside-down, in which “a  son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother” (6). It is important to note that Micah’s critic of society is not political but spiritual.  “Political comment on social disintegration today often revolves around the need to focus, not so much on crimes and criminals, but on the causes of crime.   Micah would direct us all back to the way we have steadily ignored, and often directly flouted, the requirements of God for our personal, social and working lives, as well as for our nation.  Defiant rejection of God’s revealed truth is the fundamental reason for the social disintegration we see around us” (Bible Speaks Today)

After the darkness and gloom of contemporary life, Micah straightens up and declares his confidence in God.  “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me” (7:7).  Men, notice three things from this prayer uttered in the midst of a literal brake up of society.  It sure can point us in the right direction, when we stand for Jesus in the midst of significant confusion.  

First, “But as for me” Micah was contrasting himself with the message of other “watchmen.”  He was looking “to the Lord for help” (7).  He was confident of better days ahead. “I confidently for God to save me.”  Remember Jesus taught us to pray, “your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Micah could see beyond the confusion

Secondly, Micah said he would “wait.”  The same Hebrew word is translated “depend” in 5:7.  Micah had faith that God would preserve Israel through the coming judgment.  He saw beyond the headlines. “Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light” (8).

Thirdly, Micah was confident that God would hear his prayer of lament, as he witnessed the brake up of society.  This chapter “began with a cry of mourning (v 1-2) ends with the quiet confidence that God will act.” (NIVZSB)

Then in 7:8-20 Micah looks past the coming defeat and destruction to the future day when the Lord would reverse that judgment.  A repentant people will raise again (7:8-9), the enemies would be defeated and Israel would be rebuilt (vv. 10-11).  “This enemy who kept taunting, ‘So where is this God of yours?”  I’m going to see it with these, my own eyes – my enemy disgraced, trash in the gutter” (v 10 MSG).  


September 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and had time to get refreshed. We are enjoying our time here at Mark’s with many games, good food, lots of sharing together, going to their church and out for dinner, floating little boats on the stream, a good movie and popcorn etc. Andrea will be home schooling all morning and Mark and Al and I will have time together. Then tomorrow we plan to head for home after a wonderful time here. Appreciate prayers again!                                                                                                                                                                                                 Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                          
When I was very young, I use to love to sing the chorus, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before, every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more. Jesus saves and keeps me and He’s the One I’m waiting for. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” As we grow in our walk with the Lord, every day is an opportunity to bring us closer to Him in intimacy as we taste more of the sweetness of His presence.

 We are in Statesville, N.C. as I write this and God gave me the most perfect day with Him on Friday. Al and Mark went out for breakfast and Andrea was homeschooling our grandsons, so I had several hours to myself in such beautiful surroundings. My tummy was full as Andrea provides us with amazing nutritious meals. And this time while here, we have the whole lower level for Al and I to just make ourselves at home, as her parents who usually inhabit it, are gone for a time.  

  Although we use to run a retreat house for pastors, it was seldom that we got to actually go somewhere and also enjoy retreat. So, this day, I felt like I was the retreatant and could spend extended time in quiet with Him. Mark and Andrea have several acres of huge trees, one being 400 years old, and a stream running through their property. I took a leisurely walk and shared with the Lord as I walked. Then I just sat on a big rock by the stream and was just in His presence. No talking, just being with Him. I noticed in the stillness the smallest flowers about me at the water’s edge, that would have been overlooked if walking by. I found several items to use as the boys and I were to give a spiritual talk using 10 things in nature when together for a meal. I felt like that little flower, who is more hidden (since I am an introvert), and I realized how the Lord saw me. I sat in the sunshine and just let Him warm me outwardly as He filled me with warmth inwardly. I didn’t have to rush for I had until a late lunch and no expectations from others. I gave the Lord the things on my heart and asked requests of Him, which later were answered in a more perfect way than I had imagined. The verse came to mind of Jer. 33:3, “Call to Me and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” It is good to give our requests to Him but not tell Him how to do it, for He is infinitely wiser than we are. I even took a short nap and felt so rested when the grandsons were ready for games. Before the day was over, we had deep sharing with family and I went to bed thanking the Lord for the most perfect day with Him, and my heart overflowed.
   Challenge for today: Schedule an extended time with the Lord for retreat with Him.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy



September 23, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! May you enjoy some restful time! The Lord has provided above what I could ask or think about this time away as we are having great times with the grandsons, and deep times together with Mark and Andrea. I may just write about it and send it out to you on Monday! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What gave you joy as a child growing up? What picture comes to mind? I think my favorite thing was to be by the quiet lake and lay in the sun with a yummy book to read and an apple to munch. I could stay there for hours, and recently I had to pay the consequences with putting an anticancer cream on my face each night for a month to rid the precancer cells. But real true joy is not found in perfect circumstances and responding to outward things, but instead comes from within by experiencing the presence of the Lord.
  We discover that deep down joy is not found out there in the world that we need to go look for it, but it is rather already here in our life with the Lord. When we come to know Him, we experience a depth of joy that is hard to describe, and it energizes us and is a fruit of the Spirit. It doesn’t have to do with our outward circumstances or our station in life at all, for Paul had joy even when he was in prison. I read today how Habakkuk expresses all the things that were not ideal for him, like no fruit on the vines or herds in the stalls etc. but then says, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.” (Hab 3:18) Our list might look different as we may say, “Even if I lose my job, even if my health deteriorates, even if my children reject me…yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”  When we choose Jesus, we choose joy!
  Maybe our present life circumstances seem disappointing, and we may ask the Lord to help us find joy in the midst of it all. Some may try spiritual practices, spend more time in scripture and time in nature; or slow down and give more attention to the Lord.   Our true joy is found as we connect with the Lord each day and surrender ourselves to all that He puts before us. There is joy in obedience even when we don’t understand His ways at the time.
  Challenge for today: Begin each day with the Lord and then just bask in His love and let the joy bubble up. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 22, 2023

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Happy weekend to you! We arrived safely yesterday in Statesville, N.C. at our son’s home and thank you for prayers. Our two grandsons have grown, and we have already played several games of Horse, went to the gym. and will be playing many more games today after they have their home school homework done this morning. Wonderful to be together again.

Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How big is our faith? Do we believe God before seeing? Faith is a gift of God, and it comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17). There are many definitions of faith but like Thomas a’ Kempis said, “I had rather exercise faith than know the definition thereof.” When we believe God’s promises we have expectation of what He will do. We might say that is faith, for we can’t yet see it but yet we believe it is coming. We have to get ourselves out of the picture and remember who God is and focus on Him. Faith is “looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. “(Heb 12:2) Faith is looking outward to Him, and not dependent on ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                              
As I am still reading Pursuit of God, I will share some of the things that struck me in a new way. Raphael Simon said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances! To seek Him is the greatest of all achievements! To find Him is the greatest human achievement!” Let us ask ourselves if we pursue God and think of Him often during our day and in our work. If we invite a friend over to visit but didn’t pay attention and simply left him alone, how rude that would be. But do we do that with the Lord? Do we neglect talking to Him and even recognizing His presence with us throughout our workday?                                                                                               

Faith is lifting our eyes to the Lord and it can be done anytime and anywhere. We don’t have to be rich or have any special ritual, but just raise our eyes to Him in believing trust. God, I don’t know how you are going to do something, but I am trusting and believing…something deep inside sees and believes God. It is a joy to teach children as they find it easy to believe, and if you tell them something they have no reason not to believe it will happen. Like Lucie Christine said in such a beautiful childlike way, “My way is very simple-my soul lives in God by a glance of love between Him and myself. By this glance God gives Himself to me, and I myself to Him. This is my habitual state in which God has placed me.”

Let us form the habit of lifting the eyes of our soul to the Lord and listening to His voice and in faith believe what He will do, before we see it with our eyes,

Challenge for today: Lift your eyes to heaven several times during the day and thank Him that He is looking down at you with love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


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.  

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