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.

June 13, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with a hunger for God’s word for you today. Al will be meeting with men early this morning and I am going to be busy in the kitchen and trying a new recipe. We have Bible Study this afternoon and missed last week, since we were in KS.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is good to read our Bibles differently than we would read an ordinary book on fishing or home decorating, or a mystery story. Scripture is to be formed in us as we read and meditate on it. Recently I was reading Ezekiel 3 and Ezekiel was commanded to eat the scroll and it would be sweet like honey in his mouth; afterwards he was to go to speak to the people of Israel who did not live according to God’s ways, but they would refuse to listen to him. John was also told to eat the scroll when he was on the Island of Patmos, and it was sweet to his taste but bitter later in his stomach. He not only read the scroll but ate it and later wrote the book of Revelation.

In a similar way, we are not just to read the Word but digest it, let it read us and respond with obedience and prayer and ways of love. That means we don’t read it in a hurry but freely taste it, chew it, swallow it and digest it.   As we assimilate it, our hearts will be affected but not like propaganda that attempts to manipulate us.

Eugene Peterson writes how we are formed by the Spirit as the Scriptures are implanted in us. We don’t work ourselves up into an emotional state as we attempt to get in touch with God for that only puts self at the forefront. Rather we read the Word and let it shape our souls. Peterson says, ”What I want to call your attention to is that the Bible, all of it, is livable; it is the text for living our lives. It reveals a God-created, God-ordered God-blessed world in which we find ourselves at home and whole.” He goes on to tell us not only to read the Bible but eat his book by taking it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized with acts of love.

It’s fine to take notes on the sermon Sunday mornings, but what about letting that word get into us and become what we read and then expressed in our lives. It’s not all about just reading with warm feelings but let it do in us what God intends.

Challenge for today: Pray before reading your Bible and ask the Lord to help you digest what you read and let it bring wholeness to your soul.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 12, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a realization that the Lord’s approval is more important than man’s. Today Al and I are going out to dinner to celebrate our Anniversary after my exercise class. We are thankful  for each day we have to share life together .
Devotions from Judy’s heart
All of us like approval from others, and at times we can sense when others disapprove of something we did or who we are. Although we would like people to think well of us and speak of us in glowing words, that is not what we are to seek. In fact, when we are pleasing the Lord, others may speak evil of us and mistreat us. They did that to Jesus and He did exactly what His heavenly Father told Him to do. We all must decide if we want the praise of men or God’s praise.

We are at peace when our greatest desire is for the Lord and to be loved by Him, not the approval of others. Jesus loved us so much that He paid the ultimate price of His life for us. What more could He do to prove His love? He doesn’t want us to have to strive and struggle to obtain His approval, but to receive His love and relax in it and enjoy whatever He chooses to send to us. We are His beloved.

Paul makes it plain that he doesn’t seek the applause of men but of God. In Gal 1:10 he tells the people at the church in Galatia, “Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God?  Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ.” He was sold out to the Lord and we also can’t be people pleasers and God pleasers at the same time. We must choose.
I recently read a prayer by Mark Roberts who also warns of the importance of not letting the approval of men be more important than the approval of God. The following is his prayer:

“Gracious God, you know me through and through. Nothing about me is hidden from you. You see when I seek human approval above all else. And you know why this desire can be so strong in me. By your grace, help me to grow in the genuine desire to please you most of all. May how I live, how I lead, how I work, and how I treat others give you joy. Amen.”

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to wean you from seeking man’s approval and that your heart would be set on the receiving God’s love and approval.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 11, 2024

Dear Ones,
May you wake to a day filled with the assurance that the Lord is always waiting to hear from you and his ear is open to your cry. Today is our 59th Wedding Anniversary and we are thankful for each day the Lord has given us together. We are invited to friends today and tomorrow we plan to go out for steak dinner and celebrate. EmojiEmoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
While sitting in church on Sunday I was rather surprised when our pastor read the passage of scripture that was the exact chapter from the Bible that I read that morning. It was from Jonah 1 and since it was put before me a second time within a couple hours, it usually means the Lord is wanting to get my attention. Jonah was in a raging storm and from his own doing as he was running from God and avoiding the task the Lord had given him to do. Instead of giving the people of Nineveh a warning that they needed to repent of their wickedness, he chose to go the opposite way and got on a ship to Tarshish, consequently getting in a huge storm. He didn’t obey and was thrown into the water to calm the sea and swallowed by a great fish. Being in the stomach of the fish for 3 days helped him have a change of heart.

After thinking more about Jonah, early the next morning I was awakened about 3 a.m. to pray for someone that is in a tight situation, you might call it the “Jonah hold”. He is floundering and much like one being thrown into the sea of chaos. I got on my knees and prayed and later went to the second chapter of Jonah for it says in Jonah 2:2, “I called to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me. From the depths of my watery grave I called for help, and you heard my cry.” Jonah was desperate and his life was slipping away but when he called to the Lord, He brought him back from the pit. Like many today, if you are now reading this and also in a desperate place and feel like you have no place to go, look up to the Lord and cry out for help. Quit striving to get out of the fix on your own and be like Jonah who asked for God’s help. Jonah concludes his prayer by saying, “But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!  Salvation belongs to God.”

When we live life in selfish ways on our own terms, we get into big messes. But let us not run from the Lord and go on our own, but cry to the Lord and run to Him! He will hear and answer us and take our messes and give us a message to share with others where they may also go. Then like Jonah, we will be filled with praise and thanksgiving instead of watching our life slip away. His obedience also ended up saving a whole city from destruction.

Challenge for today: Make your first response to situations of distress to call on the Lord and then be willing to obey as Jonah.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Tortured Poets

This is the title of Taylor Swift’s latest album.  I read a revealing article in First Things by Isabella Clarke,  entitled, “On Tortured Poets, Taylor Swift dreams of marriage.”  I have never listened to Taylor Swift’s music, but I am very aware of her world wide influence as a pop singer.  What I find interesting in the review by Ms. Clarke, is  Swift’s desire for marriage.  Clarke notes, “Despite its increasing fragility and lack of permanence in the modern West, Swift still desires marriage, which she invokes as the ultimate symbol of enduring love and commitment.”  Swift, who is thirty-four, seems to be giving a voice to many women in their thirties.  “The ‘waste’ of youth is inherently more cutting for women than for men.”  

Swift views her new Album as “female rage, the musical.”  Clarke observes, “she increasingly gives voice to her anger at the inability of men to match her desire to pledge lifelong loyalty…….In Swift’s world, it isn’t her career that gets in the way of marriage, but the men who made grand declarations only to ‘ghost’ her when things get too real.  These experiences make Swift’s songs relatable to many younger women.  ‘Ghosting,’  a Peter Pan syndrome and men who want “long term, distance, low commitment, casual” girlfriends are common in today’s modern dating scene.”

In “The Prophecy” which the reviewer see as the most poignant track on the album, Swift turns her eyes upward and begs an unspecified higher power to change her fate:  “A greater woman wouldn’t beg / But I looked to the sky and said / Please I’ve been on my knees / Change the prophecy / Don’t want money / Just someone who wants my company.”  “This album” suggests Clarke, “reveals that even individuals as powerful and successful as the Taylor Swift can desire the validation of marriage.”  Clarke close her review by saying, “Swift, on Tortured Poets, makes it very clear who she blames for thwarting her dream, namely the men who ‘didn’t measure up / in any measure of a man.’  Perhaps the culture, who raised these men to take women and talk of marriage so lightly, ought also to bear some of the blame.” 

Wow!  This review seems to beg a reply from an older man, who has been married to the same woman for 59 years.  To me it is a sad testament to our confused culture that a young woman of the stature of Taylor Swift felt the need to be so open and transparent with her apparent desire for permanency with a man.  I find it very telling that in the song “The Prophecy” Swift seems to be calling out for help from heaven.  What do the words “Change the prophecy” imply?  My take – Ms. Swift sees little hope except that God would change what could be her future –  one without a fulfilled marriage.

My testimony –  Nearly every morning I say to my wife, “Thank you for staying with me for these 59 years.  You are a long suffering woman.”  What is implied in these words?  First, I take no credit for the blessing of 59 years with Judy.  Marriage is a gift from God.  My wife has responded to me in a very Godly manner.  For that I am very thankful.   2) My marriage is the greatest gift given to me by the Lord, other than my salvation.  3)  I am truly thankful for the companionship, support and the genuine love my wife has for me.  I don’t deserve this gift.  4) I only pray that I might continue to reflect the love of God through my marriage. 

In a day such as ours, a Godly marriage can actually be a prophetic statement.   

June 10, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! We enjoyed our trip to Kansas for our granddaughter’s wedding and it was so beautiful. Both Paige and Devin seemed so relaxed and joyous, and our son did well as he gave the homily and felt the prayers. Thank you!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Haven’t we all been affected by beauty that touches the deep caverns of our hearts. When we look upon something that is so beautiful there are no words, it can bring tears to my eyes. I find it difficult to describe and I wish that others were there to observe for themselves rather than my feeble description. It can be affected by something of physical beauty, or it could be a worship experience where the beauty of the Lord is so evident that it streams into our hearts.

I was reading about Abigail who was a beautiful woman but married to a wealthy man, named Nabal, who was a fool. He had huge flocks of sheep and for a time David and his men provided protection for the herdsmen from rustlers. When it was Harvest time for sheering of the sheep, there was great celebration with much food and drink. David sent 10 men to Nabal, to ask for some share in the food for his men. But Nabal responded rudely and not only refused but insulted them. I don’t read in scripture of David being angry often, but he was livid and got armed and ready with his men to go kill Nabal. Eugene Peterson writes about how God used Abigail’s beauty, inward and outward, to save David from exacting vengeance, which is the Lord’s business, not ours.

Abigail gets together a feast for David’s men and when she sees them approaching, she gets down on her knees and bows with respect and tells David not to murder Nabal for it isn’t worthy of the prince of Israel to do such a thing and it is God’s battle. David listens and her beauty is matched by her words, saving David from taking things into his own hands. He gets in touch again with the beauty of God’s holiness and no longer takes vengeance. Like Peterson wrote, ”Abigail’s beauty—her double-edged beauty of character and countenance, recovered the beauty of the Lord for him.” As you know if you have read the story in II Sam. 25, Nabal died 10 days after, and later Abigail became David’s wife. God used beauty of a woman on her knees to help David to remember the Lord’s holiness.

Challenge for today: Notice things of beauty and give praise to Him who created all.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

June 8, 2024

Dear Ones
Happy weekend to you. We are packing up to go home after the beautiful wedding of our granddaughter yesterday. All went well and Kurt gave them, and all of us, good and motivating words to begin their marriage. What a joy it was to be present! Before we leave, we are meeting for breakfast with a precious couple who are celebrating their first anniversary and then will be heading home. Prayers appreciated.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I read on Facebook a catchy article called DON’T GET MARRIED IF, and it went on to say many things that hinder someone from being a good marriage partner. Well, we have just been to the beautiful wedding of our granddaughter Paige and her now husband Devin and it was a joyous occasion for they were both ready. They know one another well, even their ups and downs, for they have gone together for 6 years and are choosing marriage to share their lives until death parts them.
   So, I will put a positive spin on what I read and share about when someone is mature and ready for marriage. After all it wouldn’t be fun to be married to someone who wants to always be the center of attention and immature and can’t seem to delay gratification. Wouldn’t we all rather marry someone who is selfless and has their heart open to us?  With Paige and Devin, we see such openness and togetherness and have never heard them speak negatively about each other for they see the best.
With maturity both partners need to be united and strong enough to stand against others who may try to meddle in their relationship. Each couple needs to have boundaries and to solve problems between them without interference from others unless asked. You don’t want to be married to someone who needs to ask mom what to do each time you have a disagreement. Both partners need to be financially wise and to pay the bills and not spend when the money is not there. Paige and Devin established a budget even before they were married and want to stay within it.
In marriage both partners need to put each other first before their friends, especially of the opposite sex, so they can truly be each other’s best friend. That means times to laugh lots together, play together, do fun things, listen to one another and enjoy life together.
There are things to avoid also and one of them is to not compare your marriage with the Jones and want to try to keep up with them. You don’t need a yacht when a fishing boat would do. Enjoy the journey the Lord has for you and be content. Also, don’t hold back vital things from your past but be an open book, for the past always seem to catch up one day. Knowing the details of each other’s lives will help to deal with the present situations that may come up. Also don’t expect every day to be breathlessly passionate but find thrill in the everyday normal stuff like loving hugs, shared chores, knowing looks, dreaming together, and just living together.
Marriage is for the mature, for those who choose to give up childish ways and are ready to love and cherish a partner for life. I would add that having the Lord as the 3rd person in your relationship is vital and praying together does wonders for holding a couple together in love. It’s not all about me, me, me, but it’s about the Lord and our partner, and then ourselves. In 3 days Al and I will be celebrating our 59th anniversary and it’s all because of God’s mercy and grace!
Challenge for today: Make the Lord the center of each of your relationships.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

June 7, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Thank you for prayers as we arrived safely in Olathe in plenty of time for the groom’s dinner. It was so lovely with some tender sharing of the couple, a scrumptious meal, time together with friends and family. Today is the big day for the wedding and this will be Kurt’s first time officiating too.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How well do we love? We are told so many times and in so many ways in scripture to Love one another and to love like Jesus. John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I loved you, you also are to love one another.” That is a tall order and as I study King David’s life, I get a glimpse of what that is like. Eugene Peterson goes into detail of how David and Jonathan had a covenant between them, binding them in loyal love and their descendants. At the time, David was on the run for his life because Jonathan’s father, King Saul was out to kill him. When making the covenant neither of them knew which of them would become king. But Jonathan and Saul were killed in battle and David became King. He remembered what he had promised and asked if there were any descendants of Saul left that he could show love to for the sake of Jonathan.

There was such a one, Mephibosheth, and he was crippled from a fall when his nurse was quickly escaping with him after a battle and tripped, leaving him with 2 broken ankles. He lived an obscure life in Lo-debar among exiles and his royal identity was hidden. But he was found, now as an adult and taken to King David. He must have been afraid of the worst, because when most kings were captured or killed, family members and those close to them were also done away with. But Mephibosheth did not know of David’s covenant with his father. David calmed his fears, called him by name, and showed him love. He also gave him all the property that his grandfather Saul had and gave him a servant, Zeba, to manage it. Every day he sat at King David’s table and became family.                                                                                                                                                   At one point, David had to flee because of his son Absalom’s rebellion and after his son’s death, David returns. Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth stayed behind as he hoped to be king, so David gives him Mephibosheth’s land. But later Mephibosheth tells David that he was ready to go with him but Ziba left him behind stranded without transportation. He was in mourning the whole time and had ragged clothes and didn’t cut his beard. We never find out who was telling the truth, although I tend to think Mephibosheth was, but David doesn’t make anything out of it. He just shows love and accepts both of them back and treats them with love.                                              Would we be that forgiving, or would we be sure of who was right, and would there be consequences? But David loved no matter what! “Love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12)

Challenge for today: Love even when taken advantage of and don’t become bitter but better!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 6, 2024

Dear Ones,
I am sending this early for Thursday’s devotional as we will be leaving about 3 a.m. for KS to attend our granddaughter’s wedding. So excited. Appreciate prayers for a safe trip, and for the wedding to be a blessing to everyone who attends.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We may believe in the authority of the Bible and say that it is true, but do we really take it to heart by submitting to it, and applying what we read? Do we live it in out our lives or do we apply it mostly when it seems to work for our own advantage and purposes?  Jesus is the Living Word as John said at the beginning of his gospel, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is the Lord speaking to us through the Word and it isn’t just so we have more information but so we can know Him and grow in our relationship with Him. God speaks but are we receptive listeners?

I love when I read a particular verse of scripture, and it speaks right into the situation I happen to be in or gives comfort or clarity. But not everything is easy and comfortable for there are also many hard words that can jar us. Just like with our own children, we have those fun times and conversations but sometimes when there is disobedience or disrespect, we have to give a hard word and even a consequence. That is not as much to their liking but necessary. Sometimes the Bible asks questions of us, like when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” He also asks us the question who is He to us? Is he really the One who is in charge, the Lord who is over all, or only when we ask Him to be in certain situations we can’t handle on our own? We can’t force His Word to fit what we want it and try to fit into what we are presently experiencing. We need to read it with a willingness to do what it says, as the Holy Spirit directs, not just what seems pleasing to us. If we don’t plan to obey, why are we reading to find out what He wants us to do?

The Lord calls each of us to open our ears and listen and hear as He speaks. He said to the crowd of people, “He who has ears, let him hear.” And later to his disciples He said, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear (Matt. 13:9 and 16) Let us open our hearts and hear what He has to say to us. Success in life is doing what He calls us to do, whatever that is each day.  That becomes living what we read and brings glory to the Lord.

Challenge for today: Live the Word as you go about your day.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 5, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of Hope! We are getting excited as we leave very early tomorrow morning for Olathe KS as our granddaughter is getting married on Friday afternoon. We are coming back home on Saturday Appreciate prayers for our trip! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Have you ever felt like you were in a hopeless situation and saw no way out? Maybe that things would never change and that you were stuck? Those thoughts can plaque us at times and we don’t want to stay there but turn our thoughts to the Lord who hears and understands and has all power. I was reading from Lamentations 3 recently and Jeremiah was sharing all the suffering he had experienced; he was imprisoned and ridiculed and even put in a slimy pit. How many of us wouldn’t feel hopeless and like the bottom had dropped out.

But after rehearsing all the bad things that plaque him. Jeremiah responds with words of hope. He says in verses 21-26, “The reason I can still find hope is that I keep this one thing in mind: the Lord’s mercy. We were not completely wiped out. His compassion is never limited. It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. My soul can say, ‘The Lord is my lot in life; That is why I find hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to anyone who seeks help from Him. It is good to continue to hope and wait silently for the Lord to save us.”  Jeremiah is realizing that God’s love and mercy never runs out and He is totally faithful and can depend on Him every day, and so can we.

Sometimes in His mercy, God sends us a friend in the midst of our seemingly hopeless situation, that just listens to us with compassion. They hear us and try to understand and reflectively listen without interruption. Somehow as we share our hearts and are heard, the answer may come to us from the Lord. Or knowing that they understand our pain and will pray for us, lifts us from the slimy pit to a place of hope. Whether we are the person in despair or the one listening and giving encouragement, we all can hope in the Lord who is faithful and merciful. In the Message translation Jeremiah says in verses 28-29, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.” No situation is hopeless when our hope is in Him!

Challenge for today: When you feel despair, go to the Lord and receive His mercy and wait in hope.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 4, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a restful night and that you will experience the kind of rest you need. Today I have Women’s Bible study and will do some cooking, studying and packing.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We all know rest is important and yet we are often exhausted and have failed to stop and get the rest we need. Since I am an early bird and up at 4, I have to work at going to bed earlier than others. Recently while reading Just Between Us magazine, I came across an article that Catriona Futter wrote about the 7 kinds of rest that medical Doctor, Saundra Dalton-Smith identifies in her book, Sacred Rest. I had never thought of the various kinds of rest because physical rest pops up in my mind immediately, for we know our bodies need to rest to be restored. But if we’ve been in stressful situations, there are times we can get 7 or 8 hours of sleep and yet still feel tired so we might want to also include things like breathing and stretching exercises, along with rest in other areas.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I will briefly share what other kinds of rest we may need, the next one being mental rest. Perhaps it is even more necessary than it was for our parents years ago. We are mentally overloaded today with demanding work, long lists of things to do, and many hours in front of the computer etc.; we need to take breaks, time for silence briefly and pray short breath prayers.
Thirdly, we need sensory rest and that means turning off the electronics and music and background noise and having a time of silence. We might want to just listen to the birds or go for a walk. I like to look out on our courtyard and the tree right outside my window.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fourthly, is creative rest and that means getting away from our bland environment or cluttered space and be inspired by something beautiful like music, or art or scented candles. Beauty can inspire our creative juices and awakens our creativity and turn us to our Creator.
Fifthly is spiritual rest as we focus on the Lord who gives us purpose and meaning and belonging. We may just sit quietly in His presence and be still and not read or say anything but just be with Him.
Sixthly we need emotional rest and it is a time we can express our how we really feel, without trying to please others or feeling judged. We give ourselves space to validate our own needs and be vulnerable.
 Seventhly we need social rest from those around us who deplete us and have a negative effect. Instead, we need time to be ourselves and have positive support from those around us who are life-giving and supportive.                                                                                                                May we be wise and plan times of rest that will help restore us when we are weary and heavy laden. (Matt. 1128)
Challenge for today: When you sense your weariness, respond to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him for the kind of rest you need and let Him restore you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


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