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 27, 2022

 Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  Today is sunny and nice and able to have the windows open and no A.C.  I baked brownies, cleaned my spice cupboard, and went to Exersize class this morning.                                                                                                          Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                           Don’t we love to be around grateful people as they are upbeat and positive and exude joy. It’s not that they deny they have struggles but they focus on the good and are thankful.                                                                                                                                                        I have been reading what Pastor Mark Roberts from Fuller Seminary had to say about Colossians 3 as it is a chapter that I memorized a long time ago. He points out things I have missed as he takes it word by word in verses 12-17. I see that Paul tells us in 3 consecutive verses to be thankful (verse 13), to have gratitude in our hearts (verse 15) and to give thanks to God. (verse17). He does not want us to take things for granted or be known to be complainers. That is not becoming to a child of God. Christians should be the most joyful people of all for we have been forgiven and set free and have eternity with the Lord awaiting us. Paul must have focused on that for when he writes about being grateful, he is in a cold prison in Rome and was not surrounded by any comforts.                                                                                 But sometimes we all need reminders periodically to be thankful and to remember that all our gifts and blessings are from the Lord. That helps us not only to be joyful but healthier as well.  Some situations we may not feel grateful for at all when going through it, but we can thank the Lord He is with us in it. Often later we can give him thanks from a grateful heart, as we see the good He has been working in our hearts through the hard experience.                                                                             We need the power of the Holy Spirit to keep our focus on the positive and not give in to complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves. Let us live each day expressing gratitude, and giving thanks to the One who gave us all things! Today I am especially thanking the Lord for my husband and for each day He gives us to love and to serve the Lord together.                                                                                            Challenge for today: What are you most grateful for today? Thank Him!                               Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

Deep People

As a young pastor back in 1978, I read Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline.”  It was a kind of spiritual awakening for me.  I felt like I was breathing “fresh spiritual air.”  I was concerned about matters of the heart and soul, but there were few evangelical leaders speaking to the issues of “soul care.”  Foster opened new doors for me. 

I was captivated by the opening words of Foster’s book: “Superficiality is the curse of our age.  The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.   Foster went on to say, “the spiritual life calls us to move beyond surface living into the depths.”  He was talking about soul life.

Recently I watched a video of Foster giving a presentation in 2018 at the celebration of the 40th anniversary of his book.  What was true then is true today: “The need for the growth of the soul.”  In Foster’s view, “The most lasting work is accomplished in the depth of the heart.”  All real spiritual formation is “heart work.”  The focus is on the purity of the heart (Proverbs 4:23).  “We must not neglect this work,” he warns, “Spiritual formation is not a tool kit to fix things.”

When Foster looks at our culture, he listed four areas of concern:

First, information technology.  We are all wired to the information age.  The changes have been rapid and all pervasive.  The demands on each of us can be a spiritual drain.  The inner life can easily be neglected.  Soul care takes time and attention.  Foster cautions us with one word: distraction.  “We need,” he maintains, “a discerning, life-giving ascetism.”  We need practices to help us “unplug” so we can listen and learn to just be.

Second, the loss of Christian consciousness.  The Christian story and culture are being lost in the collective consciousness of our nation.  How do we minister to people who have no roots in Christianity?  We need to focus on spiritual formation and the growth of the soul.  The inner life of many is an empty, confused spiritual space that needs to be addressed.

Third,  learning to live courageously through dark times.  We live in what Foster calls, “a wilderness of cultural unbelief.”  We may be witnessing “the beginnings of a new dark age.”  Evangelicals in our day are considered “hypocrites.”  How are we to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land?  Foster’s advice is stark: “Shut up” and “listen.” Talk less. Listen more.

Fourth, narcissism is the spirit of the age.  Culture has changed in this regard over the last 40 years.   We live in the age of “expressive individualism” (Carl Trueman).  It is the very air that we breathe.  Only inner transformation of the soul can help us to be “other-centered” rather than “self-centered.”  Jesus is our model in a life of surrender. 

Recently I came across a review written by Foster.  He mentioned a prayer that he was using in his devotional life.  I have memorized it and use it both in prayer and during the day.  “Lord Jesus, please/Purify my heart/Renew my mind/Sanctify my imagination/Enlarge my soul/Amen.”  This is a prayer that helps us focus on our inner life.  

Notice: a purified heart comes first, then the renewal of the mind.  I continue to need much sanctifying of my imagination.  Recently, I have become aware of the Spirit enlarging my soul as I focus on Jesus at the center.  May the Lord help us all to do this (Hebrews 12:1-3).

 

 

June 25, 2025

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good weekend. It is raining out now but not storming. This morning I baked cookies on a stick and cleaned the apartment before Kurt stopped by on his way home from the lake. Was so good to catch up.
. Devotions from Judy’s heart
  I’m quite sure we have all be in situations where one person does all the talking. We listen and listen and get weary of what may seem to be empty words and no chance to interject comments. Al and I remarked to each other, after getting together with a couple we hadn’t seen for a couple years… they never asked us one question but only talked about their own family. They went home never knowing more than what they came with.
   In talking we all must be careful that what we say and to guard our mouths for Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6:45 (ESV), “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” By our speech, others see what is hidden inside us…it spills out in our words, as well as, our actions. Our words should be truthful and humble and gentle and uplifting and not full of empty words and gossip. Let us not fall in love with the sound of our own voice!             
    I was reading what Michael Casey, a monk from Australia had to say of what a good conversationalist is. He doesn’t do all the talking but draws others out; he listens with empathy to what is said and appreciates where the other person comes from. He practices self-restraint and respects the one who is speaking. We may be surprised of what God can teach us through others, if we stop talking and listen.
    How about at church are we good listeners when the gospel is read or the pastor is preaching, are we really paying attention or is our mind elsewhere?
    If we are honest most of us need to listen more and speak less; perhaps that is why we have two ears and one mouth! We can hear what is being said when we stop talking and make room to welcome what others are saying.
 David said in Psalm 39:2-3 that he would guard his mouth with a muzzle so he would not sin with his tongue.
 Challenge for today: Be aware of when you interrupt others and listen to them with an open heart.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

June 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
  More rain and thunder this morning  and now it is starting to clear up for the weekend fishermen. We saw a beautiful rainbow  about 6 am.Emoji I studied this morning, made soup and Al and I went to Costco for the Birthday cake. I have the tables set up and decorated for the 4th of July and soon we will have the party. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Sometimes we just know it is the Lord! Maybe we walk out of a meeting or a service and we have such a vivid awareness that the Lord was present and we are filled with a sense of awe.
 I felt that way yesterday as we had our weekly Bible study here at Northern Living. We had only 11 residents present as some were out of town and others that had engagements; so we closely gathered around a long table and Al began our study. We had left off in John 17:20 as Jesus had just prayed to His Father before He leaves this world. But then He goes on to pray for us to be one as He and His Father are one. The Message translation says, “The goal is for all of them to becomes one heart and mind-just as you Father, are in me and I in you, so that they might be one heart and mind with us… The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me.”
   Isn’t Jesus’ picture of unity beautiful as He desires for us to have one heart and mind and not to be divided? That is what He prayed and what He longs for all of us. Al went on to ask each of us to share our individual beginnings with the Lord and what churches we grew up in and where we are at now. It was interesting how diverse we all are and even ages varied from 63 to 94! None of us are in the same church as the others present, and even though we may have started out as a Baptist, we may have ended up Methodist etc. But since we all have the same Heavenly Father, we are family, and are accepted and loved. We can be who He created us to be not try to change one another. Denominations and age are not important, but only that we worship the same Lord and walk together in oneness.
   After Bible Study as I walked back to our apaartment, I felt like surely the presence of the Lord filled the community room we were in. It made me think of the song by Lanny Wolfe: “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place/ I can feel His mighty power and His grace/ I can hear the brush of angel’s wings/ I can see glory on each face/ Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”
   Each time we gather together in unity with other Christians may we recognize His presence in our midst!
   Challenge for today: Seek to be in oneness with other Christian brothers and sisters!
Blessings on  your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

June 23 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a peacefilled day. This morning I made cookies for Al and a veggie stir fry and went down for donuts. This afternoon we have Bible study here and we will soon be through the book of John. It’s another beautiful day for a walk on the trail and the wild flowers are so pretty.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Haven’t we all heard people say that they wished they had the life of someone who outwardly seemed to have a golden life…no big problems or setbacks but just rather a life of ease. It is very unlikely that it is true of another for we only perceive from afar. Life is not all happiness and peace but it is also about sadness and suffering. In fact, there are coffee cups that are imprinted with the words, “Life is hard and then you die!”
   It is true that life can be very hard and right now the people in Ukraine have had their lives turned upside down and have nowhere to call home. There is suffering all over the world and it is the most universal human experience. Just because we know the Lord doesn’t mean we get a pass from sufferings but rather a way to go through them with the Good Shepherd by our side.
   When we walk through the worst times of our lives, we may discover what is most important in our lives, and Who is most important. It can be a time of cleansing as we ask the Lord to remove those things within us that are pulling us down and putting distance between us. We become more aware of God’s grace to us and realize how dependent we are on Him. Even when we fall, we fall into His hands, so even our hard experience can draw us closer.
   God is not absent or removed when the worst happens to us, but rather this can become a time we experience Him in a closer deeper way. We share in His sufferings and know what it means to endure the cross as Jesus did. For all who know the Lord, we have Someone to walk with us through those times and then look forward to an eternity with Him.
  Like Saint Bernard said in 1134, “If sadness were our continual state, who could bear it? If, on the other hand, things always went well, then who would not think little of them?” When we experience both, he said the joys are more appreciated and difficulties more readily endured.
  No matter what happens in our lives, let us say, as with the Psalmist in Ps. 71:14 (Amplified). “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”
   Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you hope and rejoice in Him in all of life circumstances.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

June 21, 2022

Dear Ones,
Yesterday I wrote some personal e-mails and forgot to put this one on the webs site. Some of you will get this for the second time but others of you got nothing yesterday. Sorry.
 
Hope you  wake with your eyes wide open to what the Lord has to teach you today? The question for today is: What lessons have you learned in the past, from His creation? 
This morning I am going to study and go downstairs for coffee and choc covered raspberries and this afternoon we are having friends come over for fellowship and prayer. 
Dd you have a Father’s day celebration?
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The Lord has so much to teach us through all that He has made and we can learn much if our hearts are open and teachable. I remember when we lived at the lake and I often went berry picking, how many lessons the Lord taught me as I picked raspberries and blackberries. I would go home and write it all down and often more insights would come.
  Recently, I read what Steve Porter, founder of Refuge Ministries and Deeper Life press, learned as he asked the Lord what lessons he could glean from the Blue Jay. He had a special love for birds, passed down from his grandma, and his yard was full of bird feeders, bird houses, and bird baths. Now Blue Jays have never been my favorite birds as I often looked at them as noisy, squawking birds that chase away others. But as it says in Gen 1:21, “He created all the many living things in the sea and every kind of bird that flies in the air. And God saw that it was good.
   I never knew before all the good qualities of the resourceful Blue Jay. They are highly intelligent and know how to solve problems, can mimic the calls of other birds like the hawk, know how to store food and can recall where they have placed thousands of seeds and retrieve them. They know just the right place to build their nests in a safe location etc.
   Porter writes how they are brave, aggressive fearless warriors and will attack their enemies without hesitating. They even dive bomb if an enemy tries to invade their territory and will do anything to protect their young and won’t retreat. The Lord wants us to be strong like that and not back down or be afraid of the enemy. He will give us courage to fight for He is with us to defeat the enem
   Blue Jays also are like an alarm that warns other birds and animals of any threats, so they have time to get to safety. We also are to sound the alarm when we foresee an attack of the enemy coming and warn those in the Body of Christ. Together we can stand strong and be encouraged.
  These birds are very intelligent problem solvers and resourceful. They can recall every location of their hiding places. We too, as Christ’s Bride, can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us generously to help us know what actions to take, and how to stand strong. 
   Blue Jays are curious and attentive and may follow us where we go, as a welcoming sign. We are also to be interested in others and compassionate, with our focus on God. Our lives are to display His love and to help the needy, giving loving care to them. Porter goes on to write how the Lord is raising up a Bride who cares what He cares about and who will overcome the enemy and stand together. May we become just like that learn from the Blue Jay.
  Challenge for today: Ask God to teach you something through His creation and write down the lessons you learn.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

June 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
  It’s a beautiful sunny day and hope you are enjoying it. This morning I made lasagne and went to Aldi’s before exercise class. This afternoon Al and I will get a walk in on the Paul Bunyan and later we have Bible Study at church. 
 Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The Lord wants us to be wise and discerning and not fall prey to the enemy. Satan is always on the prowl and trying to trip us up and cause us to doubt God’s goodness and mercy and love. We need to be alert of his tactics as Paul warns in Eph. 6:11 (Amplified), “Put on God’s whole armor (the armor of a heavy armed soldier which God supplies), that you may be able to successfully stand up against (all) the strategies and the deceits of the devil).”
  The enemy tries all kinds of strategies and we need to be dressed in our spiritual armor each day and yield to the power of the Holy spirit who lives within us to stand against the enemy. I pray each day to put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith and feet shod with gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:14-17
   It’s good to become quickly aware when we have a sense that something is not right; maybe it doesn’t feel like something that would come from the Lord and we try to discern. The enemy tries to keep us from one another for there is great power when 2 or 3 are gathered in Jesus’ name. Just recently we had a situation that seemed strange. Every two weeks or so we get together with another couple for sharing and prayer. This time it was our turn to host and so I texted and invited them over but I got no response. That was unusual as the wife gets back to me within a couple hours. So next I waited a couple days and emailed her and extended the invitation again. I thought maybe they were sick or gone on vacation without our knowledge… so I e-mailed once more. When it got to be the day before they were to come, I called her on her cell phone and got the answering machine. Al and I were both perplexed and so Al called her hubby on his cell phone and don’t you suppose he got through right away. His wife had got none of my other messages and it is a total mystery as they remain in my sent box and on my phone. I’m quite sure the enemy does not want us praying together but that is not going to detour us but cause us to pray more! I should have called there sooner rather than wondering if we had offended them or thinking they were very sick etc. It taught me I need to react and act quicker and not wait.
  Let us be aware when something seems off a bit and fight the battles with our spiritual weapons in His power!
  Challenge for today: Be on the alert and arm yourself with His spiritual weapons.
Blessings on  your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

June 20, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend! We enjoyed time at the lake and saw family, went to church together, played games, celebrated Father’s Day and had big yummy steaks etc. This morning I made egg dishes and S.F. choc chip cookies, and went to my exercise class. I am baking a new dish now and is in the oven.
Devotions from Judyy’s heart
   How good are we at looking at others through the lens of love? Do we see them as they really are or do we view them through a selective lens, distorted by our own perceptions that are often judgmental? If we truly love others as Jesus wants us to, then we need to look at others with respect and openness of mind, and without judging.  We can only do that if we are first willing to listen to them and see where they are coming from. Each person is unique so we must not jump in and think we will know what is good for them without really listening.
   We are told to love God and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. Teresa of Avila once said that our relationships with others are often a more clear indication of our relationship with the Lord than our actual mystical prayers. John, the disciple close to Jesus, said in I John 4:11 (ESV), “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” No one has ever seen God: If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”
   When we love others with His love, we help them also discover the good they may have overlooked in themselves. Everyone is a mystery however, and even though I know Al so well and can probably finish his sentences, I can never know everything about him.
   It is a disservice to paint an image of another and think that we know them through and through; but yet if we don’t deal with the true person, and only the image, we cannot see the uniqueness of their true selves. Sometimes we also project on others what we are not willing to deal with in our own hearts. When we have reactions that are out of proportion, it is often a sign that we are projecting our problem on them.
   Let us not judge others but look at them in love and openness and see them as they are.
   Challenge for today: Ask God to help you to see others as He sees them.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

Jeremey’s Razors

Recently, I got an e-mail from my number one son in North Carolina that included an ad for Jeremy’s Razors.  When Mark wrote, “This advertising is causing more conversations in my world here than anything in the last few years,” I knew I had to see it.  Then Kurt, my second son, responded to the e-mail string, saying, “One of my favorites.  Some of my buddies have bought these razors.”

The company and the ad are both “old school.” See the ad on YouTube: “Jeremy’s Razors: the greatest commercial ever.” I consider the ad “slapstick” comedy, the kind that I enjoyed in the 70’s and 80’s (like I Love Lucy or Red Skeleton), when we were less concerned about being offensive and hurting people’s feelings.  But in our day of “cancel culture” many would deem it offensive.  The ad was a little too “edgy” for me as a more seasoned guy, who has stuck with an electric shaver all these years and doesn’t really prefer to see all the flesh.  But it still carries some insights for us.

Jeremy’s Razors started as a protest against a woke culture in which ads are pulled or walkouts are staged simply because the ads are deemed “offensive.”  Jeremey Boering launched his company on April first as a protest to the woke culture in advertising. In the first month, the firm already had 60,000 subscribers wanting razors.  The brand attracted more Twitter followers in the first month than Gillette has gained since it went on Twitter in 2009.  The ad has been watched over 15 million times.

With tongue in cheek, the ad asks, “Stop giving your money to people who hate you. Give it to me instead.”  Boering acknowledges in the ad that his company’s values are misaligned with a culture which sees anything masculine as “toxic.”  He wants to celebrate manliness.  He had no idea that he would be an immediate success.

Why?  Here is part of what I wrote back to Mark: “What impresses me about the ad and the response you are experiencing from other guys is the opportunity to identify with someone who says, ‘Enough is enough.’  It shows me there is a lot of pent-up emotion and frustration in men.  Together, guys are able to celebrate and ‘let off some masculine steam.’  Young men feel mistreated and misunderstood by a culture that wants to put them in a box.”  They see the ad as an act of rebellion against the dominant media that gives credence to social engineers who are committed to blending the genders. 

Men respond to the candor in this ad.  As I wrote to Mark, “Each man is unique, but he needs to have his soul renewed and made alive by the Spirit of the living God,  who enables each man to function as a man, not like a “shadow” based on the “broken” rhetoric of the feminine which has lost its God-given uniqueness.”  

My suggestion is for younger men to find male mentors to walk with them.  Along with that, find a band of brothers who are trying to understand manhood from a biblical perspective.  I, for one, have lived through the sexual revolution.  Many younger men only hear part of the story (a bent feminine) and not a strong masculine (tough but tender).  Healthy men, integrated in their masculine identity,  need to come alongside confused younger men who are in danger of losing their masculine soul.  If we don’t, men can easily become weak pushovers who cannot stand against the lies and illusions  of a woke culture.  Pray God guides us in that.

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Happy weekend! We are getting packed and will eat an early lunch and head to the cabin today.We are going to stop to see a friend in assisted living on the way and then on to the lake as our grandson is waiting for a hot scrabble game.Emoji We plan to hear Leif preach tomorrow and then have Father’s Day celebration for dinner. 
 Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all the dads out there! Being a father is a tough job! Dad’s today are facing many challenges as our culture is changing dramatically. Many boys have absent fathers and the results are staggering as many are failing to grow up and become responsible, have addictions, join gangs, and commit crimes.
  I was blessed with a loving father that lived to be 100 years old but resides in heaven now. I am thankful for him and miss him, but not all of you reading this had a father who was there for you. I read an article on Crosswalk.com from Clarence Haynes Jr. who wrote empowering prayers for dads. If your dad was absent maybe your prayer is simply, “Thank you God that you used my dad to give me life.”
   If you are going to be a new father maybe Haynes words could be your prayer today:
“Lord, help me as I begin my journey into fatherhood. Even though I look forward to fatherhood, I face it with excitement and trepidation. Help me to know I can trust in you, and you will be with me on this journey. Remind me often that I don’t have to be perfect, but most importantly I need to be present in the life of my child. Give me new patience and new grace as I walk a road I have never walked before. However, I thank you that you have gone before me and will help me navigate these waters. Help me from day one to set the right example so my child will see you in me and will long for the God I serve to be present in their life. Amen.”
 Or maybe you are an aging father you might pray:
“Lord, as I grow older and the seasons of life have changed, I thank you for my children. You have given me the privilege to raise them, and I have seen them grow into adulthood. My prayer is for them as they must now walk in steps that I had to walk in. Give them grace for the journey and help me to adjust in my new role not just as father, but as friend. Help me to always be the encourager, reminding them to keep their eyes on you and to continue to help them be the person you created them to be. It has been an honor to be their father. Now help me to finish my journey strong. Amen.”
  Or all of you dads may want to pray:
“Lord, give me strength to be a dad today. More importantly help me to recognize my strength comes only from you. Help me to wait before you and to completely trust you because it is in this place that I will find strength. Help me not to run from my weaknesses but to embrace them and bring them to you, because when I am weak before you, I will stand strong before everyone else.”
   Blessings to all of you fathers as your special day is celebrated tomorrow.
  Challenge for today: Thank the Lord for your earthly father and remember you have a Heavenly Father who loves you most of all.. 
Blessings, prayers and love, Judy
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