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.

March 22, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day! We got more snow and our son Kurt from KS is on his way to the cabin and stopping in here this afternoon. He will have to dig his way down to the cabin!  This morning I am very busy in the kitchen making things for company coming. I am going to Aldi’s and Exercise class this morning and tonight  is soup supper and Al sharing at the Lenten service. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   God’s good gifts come to us in many kinds of wrappings. We never know just when He will surprise us but whenever His gifts reach us, we need to acknowledge that He is the generous giver and we are the grateful receiver. I like that He varies how He showers blessings as we don’t know when or how He will meet a specific need; but I’m quite sure He is hopeful we will recognize that it is from Him.
   Maybe we have all have shared with the Lord of a need we have and then He prompts someone to be the answer. They send us a gift that is the exact amount of what we needed to pay a bill or they volunteer to do something we are not able to do etc., and we absolutely know it is Him. Other times it is more hidden and we may not find out for some time that He orchestrated it.
  I had such an experience this week as I have looked for a white dresser for over 4 years to go in our bedroom. Some dressers I looked at were too wide or tall or too expensive but I have kept my eye out. We have Salvage Sisters store just inside the mini mall where I go exercise. It is the first store so I pass it twice a week. Unless an employee opens it a few minutes early, I rarely get to shop there as it isn’t open yet. But the times I have checked and a white dresser comes in, it is sold before I can get Al there to look at it with me. But this week the gal opened the door early just as I was buzzing to my class, and I asked her my usual question, “Do you have a white dresser yet?” She surprisingly said yes, they had one that had just came in; and this time it was the perfect size, fancier than I had anticipated and matches my white desk. I loved it! I hoped no one would buy it before Al came with me to look it over. We both knew, this is it! The one! We had it home in no time and our old one that is dark wood will go to our grandsons. I thanked the Lord for if the gal had not opened the store early and I had seen her at the time, I don’t think it would be in our bedroom now. This is just a small thing compared to life changing needs we may have, but big or small gifts are from Him and no matter how they are wrapped they deserve a big thank you to the Lord. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.”
Challenge for today: Give a need that you have to the Lord and watch and wait for His provision and give thanks.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


March 21, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine and peace. Today we are invited to friends for coffee and fellowship!  Your question this week is: What repeat lesson has the Lord taught you and did you learn from it? 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    Sometimes the Lord just gives us a repeat lesson to be sure that we get what He is trying to teach us the first time; or perhaps it is to take us to a deeper level of understanding that He wants us to get. There may even be times He speaks a similar thing for the 3rd time and we know, pay attention!
   Recently I read in my personal devotions about David and a battle with the Amalekites, next we discussed it at Bible Study and then I read on what Pastor Chris Reed had to say about David in moving from Tragedy to Triumph. David and his men had just spent 3 days of fighting an enemy and when they returned home to Ziklag, they found their city burned and their families and possessions gone. David and his army wept in their grief and his men were ready to stone David but it says in I Sam 30:6 “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” It’s good to let out our emotions and not stuff them all inside. The men cried until they could cry no more. But then we need to go on and ask the Lord what is His plan and what are we to do. The Lord spoke to David and told him to pursue his enemy as he would be victorious. They did win big and came back with all their families and more.
   We can learn from David not to get bitter when tragedies happen to us but to forgive and to ask the Lord what His plan is for us. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, not us. I like what Pastor Reed had to say, ”Victory is a keynote of the Christian life. Victory and peace come not from the absence of trouble but from the ability to overcome difficulties. We cannot control how others respond, but we can control how we respond to tragedies. Our faith ‘is the victory that has overcome the world’ even on our worst day.”
   God will give us grace to overcome whatever we have to go through. But if we go in our own strength and ignore his instructions, we will not experience His peace and victory. Let us grow in faith and with the knowledge and assurance that God will carry us through.
Challenge for today: When you go through hard times, do as David and strengthen yourself in the Lord and ask for His plan.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


Two Baskets of Figs

Soon after the Babylonians took young King Jehoiachin and many of the leading citizens of Jerusalem into exile, God gave Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs. This exile had been smaller than the first exile of 605 BC.  This exile took place in 597 BC, nearly ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.  Those left behind believed they had been favored over those in Babylon. “They could not imagine that Babylon would be the place where the true faith would survive and thrive.  But what the people viewed as a disaster could work for good” (Grace and Truth Bible). 

In the vision Jeremiah saw, “one basket had very good figs” while “the other basket had very bad figs” (Jer. 24:2).  God provided a prophetic meaning to the visual metaphor. “The message turns popular assumptions upside down; if the people thought that those who were carried off to exile were the ones who were headed for extinction like rotten fruit, while those who remained were in for a happier future, they were completely wrong” (Bible Speaks Today). 

The Lord gives this surprising interpretation to the vision: “Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians” (Jer. 24:5).  “The Lord was announcing a remarkable theological concept.  His evaluations are not based on people’s goodness but on his sovereign grace” (Jeremiah – Huey). Those left behind believed they would be blessed by remaining in the land.  But God intended blessing and refinement for those in captivity.

God promised protection and prosperity for those in exile.  He would bring them back after 70 years in captivity. “My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them” (Jer. 24:6).

Even more than prospering, God would give them a heart to know him: “And I’ll give them a heart to know me, God.  They’ll be my people and I’ll be their God, for they’ll have returned to me with all their hearts” (Jer. 24:7 – Message). The people would choose God, while God remained in sovereign control.  “God requires his people to turn but they can no longer turn; but what they can no longer do he will do for them by giving them a new heart which can turn.  His sovereign grace will create a new reality that breaks out of the prison of human failure and inability” (Bible Speaks Today). 

In my opinion, there is an important lesson for us as we navigate the spiritual bareness of our day.  We are in many ways a people going into exile. We will be like strangers in a foreign land.  That time is coming quickly.

There are two major takeaways from this vision, as we will need to faithfully endure what will be happening.  First, we need to believe that we will prosper in exile.  How God accomplishes that is up to Him.  I cling to this promise: “I’ll build them up, not tear them down: I’ll plant them, not uproot them” (Jer. 24:6 – Message). 

Further, and more incredibly, God will give us a heart to know God even better and return to Him with all our hearts.  In words that come close to the “new creation” language of II Cor. 5:17, God promises “a heart to know me.” 

Men: be a man (and seek men) with a heart for God – open and responsive to Him.  




March 20, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend! The oven is going and I am busy making   food prep and soon going to Aldi’s and my exercise class. Yesterday was quite an emotional day but very blessed day. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    One day there will be no more sickness or sadness or death and we will reign with the Lord forever. How I look forward to that day and was reminded of it yesterday afternoon when we went to the funeral of my cousin’s granddaughter, Jensyn, who was only 6 years old. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there and when I paused to think about it, I was amazed that one little girl who had never walked and never talked would be loved by so many and bring so many people together to praise the Lord. She made a difference or this huge number of friends and family would not have gathered to honor her memory.
   I woke up very early this morning with the hymn by Bishop Theodulf (in1851) singing in my mind, “All glory, laud, and honor to you, Redeemer King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring….The company of angels is praising you on high, and we with all creation in chorus make reply…” I could just picture little Jensyn singing with the angels as she is now with the Lord and able to dance and worship the Lord.
  The funeral was not like any I have been to, for as we came into the sanctuary the 7 siblings of Jensyn were up on the platform leading everyone in praise. They sang Goodness of God by Jenn Johnson which is all about loving the Lord and how He is faithful and good even going through the darkest night. We joined them also in singing I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin and the chorus really struck me, “And I will rise when He calls my name. No more sorrow, no more pain. I will rise on eagles’ wings before my God fall on my knees. And rise. I  will rise.”
   I doubt there was a dry eye when they shared about Jensyn’s last hours.  Along with the pastors, both parents and a sibling spoke and gave glory to the Lord. Her daddy said to the pastor while she was dying, that he knew how to care for his daughter but he didn’t know how to say good-bye to her and let her go. For all of us, it is hard to say our good-byes to our loved ones but like the words of the last verse of the last song we sung, Gratitude by Brandon Lake: “ I’ve got one response, I’ve got just one move. With my arm stretched wide I will worship You.” Let us worship Him all our days here on earth as we wait for the day to sing with the angels on high.
Challenge for today: Spend some time in worship no matter if you are going through the darkest night. 
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy


March 18, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a good weekend. This morning I am going to our Women’s Bible study that was postponed last Saturday because of the weather. I suspect that most of you men reading this are into  March Madness and watching the games. Quite an upset when Fairleigh Dickenson, beat Purdue!  
Tomorrow afternoon we have the funeral for little Jensyn who is now home with the Lord forever. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Most mornings when Al and I pray together, I pray for repentance to come to our nation and that the hearts of Christians will rise up and be strong and knit together. Friends sent us a letter from World Challenge by Gary Wilkerson and he writes of his burden for Pastors and spiritual awakening for our nation. He shares from the book of Jeremiah that I am also reading now and I tell Al often that it’s as if he is describing America.
  We have only to look around and see the moral collapse of our nation, perversion and rejection of God. Sometimes it is hard to believe how far we have fallen and we are seen as a pagan culture now. There is so much moral chaos and many advocate mutilation of children who are confused about gender identity. Some are even trying to justify Pedophilia to be acceptable. Even the church is getting just like the world and leaders no longer display integrity; sermons may be more self-help than preaching the truth of God’s Word and often church services are more entertainment than worship.
  Some things are so shocking and like Jeremiah who said, “Here is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones and I am weary with holding it in.” (Jer. 20:9) Jeremiah could hardly hold it in when he saw the condition of his nation and neither should we. What more does it take for us to should be alarmed and on our knees praying and interceding? We need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit to give us a passion for God and His kingdom and the truth of His Word.
  Let us remember that God is all powerful and greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. May we all pray that our nation may wake up, that pastors will be faithful to preach the Word with a renewed passion, and that we will be faithful to intercede and pray for revival. 
Challenge for today: Spend some time in prayer for our nation to come back to God and for your pastors to not hold back but preach the uncompromised truth.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

March 17, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We celebrated last night with a party and dinner for about 25! Fun! I just cleaned the apartment and have S.F. Almond/Craisen bread in the oven. Al is happy!Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   It is a good thing when reading scripture to sit with it a while and let it speak to us; in the Bible it is called meditating. When we rehearse scriptures over and over again in our minds, rather than quickly reading through a portion and forgetting what it says, we are meditating and absorbing the meaning. It is very much like eating and chewing our food slowly and then digesting it I am a fast eater and I must continually remind myself at meal times to slowly eat rather than rushing through it. Our bodies have a hard time to absorb all the nutrients when we eat fast and don’t chew our food well.
   We are encouraged to meditate on God’s word, to chew on it, to think about it even during the day and night, so we get the deeper meaning of what God is saying to us. I read from several Bibles each morning and often from different translations that help me digest what God is saying to me. When I am in a hurry, I miss some of the nuggets the Lord has for me; you might say I am settling for a egg McMuffin from McDonald’s rather than a delicious breakfast omelet with cinnamon toast and butter etc. I am the one that is getting short changed when I rush.
  Joshua was told by the Lord in Joshua 1:8 (ESV), “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all tht is written it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” The message translation also says in Psalm 1:2 that we should chew on scripture day and night and thrill to God’s Word.
   Let us not just quickly rush through reading the Word but give it our full attention, sit with it, ponder it and let it speak to our hearts. But then we need to act on what we read and do what the Word says, for then we will be successful in God’s eyes.
  Challenge for today: Meditate on a small portion of scripture and let it speak to you throughout your day and act on it.
Blessings on  your weekend and prayers and love, Judy



March 16, 2023

Dear Ones
Hope your day is full of sunshine, even though it is an overcast day. I just finished baking cookies for Al as he is at Men’s group. Today is Donut day and Bible Study and then later we have a St. Patrick’s Day super party. Fun! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   My eyes filled with tears as I read about my cousin’s son and wife and as they said their good byes to their 6 year old daughter who died last Friday night. All 7 siblings were there as well, and they hugged their sister good-bye for the last time before she went to be with the Lord. So many tears by all as Jensyn will be missed by their grieving hearts.
    Right afterwards I went on to read what Mark Roberts from Fuller Seminary had written for this day on grief which seemed so perfect in the timing. He referenced Romans12:15, ”Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Right now Jensyn’s family doesn’t need cheering up but rather people to walk with them through their grief. We can’t heal if we bury our grief but we need rather to face it and share it with others who come along side of us.
   When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, He didn’t need to be exhorted and cheered for He knew that a time of extreme suffering was ahead. But what He wanted was that His disciples would accompany Him and to be with him in His time of sorrow. Isn’t that what others need also when they are going through sorrow and loss? We can’t change what happened, but we can let them know they are not abandoned but we will walk with them through it.
  But we also must be open to letting others share our sad times and sorrows with us. That is harder for me to do and perhaps it is for you also. But as we share our lives together with others, the happy and the sad, we experience unity with them and the Lord in a deep way. God’s love is so evident in the hugs and tears and prayers and our hearts are knit together. Tears are precious to the Lord and it says in Ps. 56:8(Message),”You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless night. Each tear entered in our ledger, each ache written in your book.”
   The Lord understands all that we go through and knows the number of our tears; He sends others into our lives to be His hands and heart and help us through those hard times.
Challenge for today: When others are grieving, allow the Lord to use you to share His love and comfort.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 15, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings. I just baked Choc Chip cookies and later going to my exercise class and then Craft Time gathering. Tonight we have soup supper and Lenten service and lay people preaching. Next week Al will be doing it. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  A favorite hymn of mine is Great is Thy Faithfulness, and it is one that I would like sung at my funeral someday. This hymn was written by Thomas Chisholm who was born in a log cabin in Kentucky in 1866. He had no formal schooling but became a teacher at age16. He received the Lord at age 27 during a revival and was ordained Pastor when 37. He wrote 1200 poems and many of them became hymns, and this one seems to speak to me. I often find myself singing it to the Lord while I am in the car driving to my exercise class or on the trail when I am alone with the Lord..
              “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
              There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
              Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
               As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
              Great is Thy faithfulness!
              Great is Thy faithfulness!
              Morning by morning new mercies I see:
              All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
              Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”
    I love to meditate on the faithfulness of the Lord who is the same yesterday, today and forever; (Heb. 13:8) He doesn’t change like shifting shadows. Though people change and everything in our world is changing, yet the Lord remains the same. (This was especially important to me when we were going through a trial in our church some time ago.) His presence is always, always, with us to cheer us and to guide us. He wondrously forgives us and pardons our sin for we are not worthy to come to Him in our own righteousness. We can count on Him to give us strength and hope when everything around us gives way. He is not going anywhere! He is right beside us and is compassionate with us and will see us through. Let us rest in His love and mercy and ask for grace to be a faithful follower of His.
Challenge for today: Sing your familiar favorite hymn to the Lord.
Blessings on your day and prayers and Love, Judy

March 14, 2023

Dear Ones,
 Hope you have a peacefilled day. Al just left for Pine City to have our income tax done. I am stripping the bed down to the mattress and washing everything on the bed. I hope to get downstairs for coffee and Choc covered Raspberries. This afternoon is coming for a late lunch and will be nice to have mother-daughter time. 
 Devotions from Judy’s heart
  If we love the Lord, we will want to seek to do His will and follow the leading of the Holy Spirt, but sometimes we are unsure of what His will is. One thing we can be certain of is that He wants us to be holy and conformed to His image. That is a lifelong pursuit and means daily dying to our own self will to embrace His. But what about the daily decisions we need to make, do we pray to the Lord like David did in Psalm 143:10(ESV) “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
    I don’t know if you are like me but there are times when I am trying to grasp what His will is in a specific situation and at such times, I would love to hear an audible voice. Just like Isaiah said in Isaiah 30:21 (ESV), “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” I can remember once in my life when I heard his voice calling to me while sleeping and it woke me and I wondered at first if it was Al who called but he was soundly sleeping. There were no directions given, simply my name being called.
   There are also times we may sense the Holy Spirit giving us a directive for our life but then comes a period of watching for it to unfold. One friend who recently lost her hubby felt she needed to move to Assisted Living as her eyesight is getting worse. She was told it would be probably a year before there would be an opening. But what a surprise as a couple days later there was a sudden opening and she is moving in. But not all things happen so quickly after we feel like the Lord has spoken; but we can commit it all to prayer and patiently wait for His timing and not rush to make things happen on our own.  God will accomplish His will in His way and in His timing. Let us listen for His voice as He speaks to our hearts and says. “This is the way.”
  Challenge for today: Be open to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading in obedience.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



The Rise of “Toxic Masculinity”

In concluding a recent blog, Aaron Renn offered a quote from Richard Reeves’ new book, “Of Boys and Men.”  Below is the quote and some comments on it:

“Until around 2015, the phrase toxic masculinity warranted just a handful of mentions in a couple corners of academia.  According to sociologist Carol Harrington, the number of articles using the term prior to 2015 never exceeded twenty, and almost all mentions were in scholarly journals.  But with the rise of Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement, progressives brought it into everyday use.  By 2017, there were thousands of mentions, mostly in the mainstream media.  Harrington points out that the term is almost never defined, even by academics, and is instead used to simply “signal disapproval.”  Lacking any coherent or consistent definition, the phrase now refers to any male behavior that the user disapproves of, from the tragic to the trivial.  It has been blamed, among other things, for mass shootings, gang violence, rape, online trolling, climate change, the financial crisis, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and an unwillingness to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

When I began writing this blog back in 2009, I envisioned writing on masculinity because of what I had learned from Leanne Payne.  She wrote in Crisis in Masculinity that “a culture will never become decadent in the face of healthy, balanced masculinity.  When a nation or an entire Western culture backslides, it is the masculine which is first to decline.” I will always be grateful for the healing I found (and continue to find) in her writings. I believe she is a forgotten voice in helping men find inner healing from a biblical perspective.  

In confronting toxic masculinity, I value Payne’s viewpoint: “To think on the transcendent nature of gender is awe-inspiring, for sexuality and gender are grounded in the Being of God and His creation. Masculinity and femininity have utterly transcendent dimensions.” 

Jesus reminds us of the transcendent nature of gender: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:4-5). I am created as a man.  I have spent a lifetime learning how to live out of the unique masculine soul given to me by my loving heavenly Father.  I am who God says I am, and He continues to form who I am as a man.  I am still under construction. 

So when the term “toxic masculinity” began to appear in our cultural consciousness, I knew I had to continue to be voice crying out to men in the modern wastelands of gender confusion.  I refuse to cave to the voices that want to shame me into denying my masculinity.  I will continue to cry out to others in the wilderness. As Payne notes, “Masculinity… is… not a thing to be learned, but rather a quality to be tasted or experienced.  The masculine within is called forth and blessed by the masculine without.” 

Be aware, men, that in our culture, the term toxic masculinity is used primarily as a “signal of disapproval.”  So my advice is threefold:  First, celebrate the transcendent nature of your masculinity. God made you to be a man for a reason.  Second, find another older male, a mentor or coach, who can affirm you in your masculinity.  Third, find a group of men who seek the Lord, hold each other accountable, pray for each other, and practice soul care with each other.  

« Older posts

© 2023 Canaan's Rest

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑