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 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to anticipation of another day to share with the most important One in your life. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Soul care is very important in our lives and we need to give great consideration to it. I was reminded of that recently as I read from Day by Day, by Billy Graham and he quoted Isaiah 58:11, “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought.” He was expressing how our soul needs attention and demands fellowship with the Lord. When it doesn’t get fed and exercised daily, it begins to shrivel and get weak and restless. Some people may try to satisfy that longing with drinking or sex or even accumulating things but it will never work. Our souls were meant for God.
When I continued on with my personal devotional time, up popped another reference to the soul from Psalm 42:1-2a (God’s Word), “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” The Psalmist goes on to say his soul was discouraged and restless but then he remembers God’s mercy and goodness and love; he focuses instead on God’ ability to help and puts his hope in the Lord and begins praising Him again.
When we neglect our souls, we become spiritually thirsty and can only satisfy that longing when we drink in God’s presence. Maybe it seems like God is silent or far away and we feel separated from Him.
Like the writer, let us not rest until our relationship is restored. We need to take time alone with Him, meditate on His word, and get our focus back on Him, remembering His goodness and mercy to us.
Let us not go around thirsty and feeling down but rather drink deeply from the flowing stream of living water.
Challenge for today: Spend time with the Lord and let Him satisfy your soul.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend.  It is -4  and itis likely we will be walking in the underground again! This morning a I made S.F. Peanut Blossom cookies and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Joy is a fruit of the spirit and is not dependent on our circumstances. We can experience deep joy, even the midst of our suffering. I have been reading Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, and he tells them in I Thess.1:6 (God’s Word), “You imitated us and the Lord. In spite of a lot of suffering, you welcomed God’s word with the kind of joy that the Holy Spirit gives.” The Christians were being persecuted and suffering for their beliefs and yet they had joy. The Message translation says, “Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit-taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.”
When we believe in Jesus, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps us think His thoughts and view things from His higher perspective. This can look quite different than the outlook the world would give and in the midst of our trials, we can have deep down joy.
Recently, we received a beautifully written poem by our friend David who is losing his wife who is in her sixties, to late-stage Alzheimers and he titled it “Treasure from Love”. It is only God that can give peace like a gently flowing mountain stream when we see our partner slipping away a little more each day. He and his wife had a bucket list with their future dreams but their worldly bucket had a hole in it. Now it is replaced with a spiritual bucket list that has to do with God’s goal with treasures in heaven.
He also writes about how he goes to God in silence to listen to what the Holy Spirit would tell him and to shine His light of God’s love. “Love becomes like a heart-shaped stepping stone, giving a new appreciation for the cross and blood.”
Satan wants to tell him God’s love is fragile and weak but He is experiencing that God’s love is strong and powerful and available to all who seek. He goes on to write,
“Jesus, darkness has emerged. I need strength to stand alone.  
Your spiritual bucket treasure will have everything needed and known.
The treasures that we learned from yesterday will be with us today.
The spiritual treasures are eternal and will never go away.”
He closes saying that only Jesus has the power to lift our darkness and set us free and we need to have faith and to believe.
May each of us find his deep joy and freedom even in the midst of dark times.”
Challenge for today: Make a spiritual bucket list.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

Arrogance and the Pandemic

Brad Littlejohn recently wrote a revealing article in World magazine entitled, “One lesson of the pandemic? Humility.” “The Covid-19 pandemic has been an invitation for humility,” notes Littlejohn, “the humility to know that we are only part of nature, not its masters, and the humility to remember that whatever choices we make are constrained by the choices of countless others.”

We need to remember that we live in a “world of tragedy.” This idea is hard for our culture to accept since we see ourselves having mastery over the forces of nature. Instead of being humbled by the virus, we have played the blame game, insisting that someone else is responsible. We prefer to believe that what happens in our world must be the product of human causes.

As a nation we went into management mode, assuming that Covid was simply another problem that modern science and government could solve. But we are slowly realizing we are not in charge. We are, submits Littlejohn, “at the mercy of the awesome forces of nature, which God wields in judgment to remind us of how small we humans are.”

The word that comes to mind is “arrogance.” Merriam-Webster gives the following definition: “exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner; showing an offensive attitude of superiority; characterized by arrogance.” The Psalmist warns, “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong” (Ps. 5:5).

God will not allow the arrogance of men to go unanswered: “The arrogance of man will be brought low, and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear” (Isaiah 2:17). Covid could be evidence of this taking place. In Isaiah 13:11 the Lord tells us, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.”

We cannot hide our arrogant intentions from the Lord. “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?'” (Is. 29:16). The pandemic is opening our eyes to our arrogance. “You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you say, ‘I am the only one and there is no other'” (Is. 47:10 NLT).

Men, we are witnessing the humbling of our nation. The pandemic has only exposed the “whitewashing” we have done, by ignoring the cracks in the very foundation of society. “Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall…When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you covered it with?'” (Ezekiel 13:10-12).

In our corporate arrogance we continue to believe the message of peace, while our flimsy walls are covered with whitewash to hide the cracks. Men, this kind of whitewashing cannot go on. Joel warns us, “For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:15).

Take heart, however, because we belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Heb. 12:28-29).

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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