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.

October 26, 2020

 

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! It was good to be back to worship at our church again. I got our favorite bars made and individual egg dishes and went to Aldi’s to stock up this morning. This afternoon it’s off to the Dollar Store! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are to be lovers of truth and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  I think we all have had experiences of people who talk a good talk but later find out it was all a lie. It makes us feel violated and it’s hard to trust again. I grew up never doubting that my parents would spell out the truth for they knew the Lord and were honest. I’m sure that was the same for many of you; we also had others that we looked up to that were people of integrity. But what has happened to our culture today as truth seems to be relative, and people make up their own truth?  Ron Rolheiser writes about the frightening eroding of truth in our culture. Two plus two is no longer four but whatever you want it to be. He said the truth that anchors our sanity is becoming unmoored. When we refuse to acknowledge the truth but continue to perpetuate the lie, eventually we believe our own lies and see them as the truth and the truth as a lie. Satan is the father of lies and loves to sow his seeds of untruths to cause us to doubt God’s love for us. It’s so sad to hear of people who have believed lies for a good share of their lives and have felt unloved, thinking no one cares. One mom was only protecting her daughter from her abusive husband, but the enemy sowed lies in her daughter’s heart leaving her feeling no one cared for her. Lying is dangerous when we lie to ourselves or when others lie to us, for it blocks our relationship with God. But we have been given the truth of scripture and can rely on God to be consistent and worthy of our trust. We are to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus said in John 8:32 (The Message), “If you stick with this living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” We need to live in reality and pray as David did in Psalm 25, by asking the Lord to take us by the hand and lead us down the path of truth. Let us be done with untruths and seek to be taught truth and live truth.
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal lies you have been believing and seek to live in truth.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

Peace, Peace

I continue to ask the Lord to help me grasp the message of the prophets, so as to apply it to our day.  If God’s word is relevant for our day, the question I ask, “What are the prophets saying in 2020.  Amos assures us “The lion has roared – who will not fear?  The Sovereign Lord has spoken – who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:8)

In two places Jeremiah (6:13-14 and 8:11-13) refers to prophets and  priests  giving  false assurance of peace – “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”  The NLT says, “They offer superficial treatments for my people’s moral wound.  They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.”  The Message says, “My people are broken – shattered – and they put on Band-Aids, saying, ‘It’s not so bad.  You’ll by just fine.’  But things are not ‘just fine.'”

We have endured another long and contentious  political campaign season.  We have been  bombarded by message from both sides, telling us of solutions that will work for our nation.  The slogans and supposed solutions are beyond belief.  They are lies. It just doesn’t fit with a biblical worldview.  We need help.  The prophets call us back to God.  But are we listening.

The notes in the “Bible Speaks Today” Bible (BST) give this analysis.  “There is something astonishingly perceptive and perennially relevant about Jeremiah’s analysis….it is a terrible thing to mislead God’s people into falsehood, complacency and immorality, to be chaplains to the unrepentant and to collude in the culture of lies.” 

“From the least to the greatest” meaning all of society wants to benefit materially.  Add to this impulse in culture, spiritual leaders (prophets and priests) who are not being truthful.  The results is a culture captivated by lies in both religion and politics.  “When such collusion between those who peddle the  lies and those who profit from them becomes established, it poisons the whole culture with greed.” BST)

What is sad in our day is the lack of moral integrity in our public dialogue.  Outrageous moral statements are made, obvious immoral behavior receives approval and there is endless character assassination of political opponents.  There is no longer any “social trust,” observes David Brooks. Biblical moral values are not even tolerated. 

Jeremiah asks, “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?  No, they have no shame at all, they do not even know how to blush” (6:15).  The Message says, “There’s no hope for them.  They’ve hit bottom and there’s no getting up.”  Then God says, “As far as I’m concerned they’re finished.”  

When I think of those who have established  the dominant narrative in our culture, which continue to echoed throughout the dominant media, I think of  hardened hearts that refuses to respond to the Spirit of God, when confronted with the truth of Scripture.  Are we now  beginning to experience the wrath of God upon our society.  Paul give us a warning, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves” (Rom. 1:18 NLT).

Men, I beg you not to be drawn in by those who show no concern for the moral and spiritual condition of our nation.   When a person blushes, they are uncomfortable with their position for fear of being exposed.  This is no longer the case in our public discourse.  So beware.  Don’t be influenced by all the posturing from those who seem to have the right answers.  They are lying to you. Jesus give us fair warning, “”Watch out that no one deceives you” (Mark 13:5). 

 

 

October 24, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying your weekend. No more snow for now but haven’t looked at the forecast. This morning I wrote lots of letters and did food preparations and made chili that will taste good when we come from our walk.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are in desperate times in our culture! Sometimes when I am reading scripture it sounds like what is happening today in our world, is very much like the days of Noah. So many people have turned from God and are filled with hate, lies, greed, lust, selfishness etc.; we have only to watch the news and see this verified. And in the midst of it all, what are we asked as Christ followers to do? We are to walk the way of love. Love is the only salve for our wounded world.  Paul says in Eph. 5:1-2 (The Message), “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” The Lord wants us to be co-lovers with Him to love the world through us. How wonderful to live each day with the knowledge that we are loved extravagantly. It is out of hearts that really know this that we can trust Him for each day; and as we hold out our hand to receive whatever He brings into our lives, we also extend giving hands to others. It is not our love, but God’s love that can bring people together, even people who are divided in many ways.  When we see others as the Lord views them, we can welcome even their differences and let them know they are valued and loved. I’m sure they can sense the difference when we have an attitude that says, “I’m glad for you and I enjoy your presence” verses, “How can you possibly believe such nonsense, I’m here to straighten you out!” Let us follow Christ’s example and delight in others and walk in love. Just as He sacrificed Himself, we too are called to be self-sacrificing for others.
Challenge for today: Do an act of love for someone today who is not easy for you to love.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 23, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! I love looking out our window and seeing the beautiful trees overladen with snow. Everything looks so fresh. This morning  I cleaned the apartment and made stroganoff to share. Today we plan to do our walk outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 I have enjoyed reading “Sacred Fire” and have gleaned so much from the book and will share a few thoughts from it. The author extends the invitation to us to not settle comfortably where we are at, but to grow and to become more like Jesus. There is always room for more growth as none of us have arrived. We are to be rooted in gratitude and recognize everything as a gift. No one owes us life. If you think about it, the most loving person we may know is probably the most grateful person. It is wonderful to be around grateful people and it gives us a sense of godliness. Of course, we will all go through suffering at times and get hurt and be treated unfairly, but it’s how we respond to the hurt that determines what kind of a person we will be.  If we forgive the person our heart becomes softened; if we choose to hold on to bitterness our heart gets hardened. But any time we are humiliated in any way, God can actually use it in our lives to help us grow and deepen our understanding of others and give empathy to them.  We must confess it is not fun at the time but later we may see the fruit of it. The author also encourages us to live openly and honestly, without hiding who we are. He warns us against living a lie for a long time, as our conscience gets warped and we won’t see our need of forgiveness. Therefore, we need to live in such a way that we would have no reason to lie about our behavior. Of course, we are all unique and we need to accept those differences we might have and be open and life-giving. We hear a lot of lies and name calling today when we hold differing views, but that shouldn’t be as Christians. We are to show respect and openness to others for none of us know perfect truth in everything. We are to be like water purifiers that take the anger and bitterness of others, and rather than dishing it back, transform it and transmit love. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4, that as we grow our very lives can become, ”fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fulling alive like Christ.”
Challenge for today: Commit to grow in the Lord and live this day to the fullest.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

October 22, 2020

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we have time for prayer and solitude in our day or has electronic technology taken over our lives? While on our trip to North Carolina we had very little time on our computers or even on our phones. Instead our time was spent with family and we only checked our electronic devices early in the morning and late evening. That felt good as it is easy to get so caught up in these supposedly time saving devices but they end up keeping us distracted and pre-occupied. It is so sad to see families out for dinner together and no one is talking with one another as they are all on their phones. And perhaps sadder yet to be so preoccupied that we are too busy to talk with the Lord, too busy for prayer! But we all need time for our interior life, to be present to the Lord. When we are distracted by phones, computers, games etc. we begin to feel emaciated in our interior lives. But our time alone with the Lord is the most important part of our day. Times are getting worse in our culture and the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 (The Message), “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll be on your feet… God’s word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pay hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.” We need prayer for we cannot stand on our own. But often we get so busy that we feel we don’t have time to just spend talking to the Lord and listening. Now just as in marriage, we don’t always feel ecstatic, sometimes our prayer time seems quite dry; but we are still to set time apart to pray. Even when we feel restless, God still desires to do something in our hearts and imparts what we need for the times. Our part is to show up!
Challenge for today: Take 10 minutes to just sit quietly in His presence with your heart open to Him. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

October 21, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good week. We are so thankful to be home again after our wonderful week with Mark’s family. Thank you for your prayers! We got surprised by snow  but it is truly beautiful out my window. Al had a good men’s group this morning and I’m going to my exercise class now. . The house is full of aroma as I have been busy in the kitchen. This afternoon I am going to get the winter clothes and boots out.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I am so often amazed at God’s perfect timing and how important it is to listen to His instructions. Our trip to North Carolina, was especially a time to pay attention to how He was leading us. We usually take two days to go the 1400 miles although one time we did it in 25 hours straight, but were left feeling very tired. This trip both Al and I felt impressed to be more leisurely and do it in 3 days which made it so enjoyable. We spent late afternoon and evenings at motels relaxing and having mini retreats. In the mornings we also had time for devotions and prayer together before we started out again, instead of heading out early. We specifically prayed to be led to the right motels and most of them had pools where I loved to praise the Lord as I swam; on God’s time there were never other persons in the pool!  We had a blessed time and so much fun with Mark’s family; even the games seem to go over big with the grandsons. We had time together as couples and time alone with the kids too. When we had to go home again, both Al and I felt impressed that we should leave after church on Sunday so as to do it in 3 days rather than two. It’s good we listened or we would have struggled getting home because of snow. We had no knowledge that snow was heading our way as the forecast when we left home was good all the way. But on the last night we got snow in Iowa City and watched the radar for what was coming….the same way we were going. Both Al and I were awakened at 4 a.m. the next morning and impressed to just get up and leave for home. Again, God’s timing was perfect as we got through the cities just as the snow was beginning; and when it started snowing hard and our vision was limited, we were off the freeway without heavy traffic. I kept thanking the Lord for guiding us and instructing us. The Lord says in Psalm 32:8(ESV), “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Now our trip was just a small example of his guidance but He wants to advise us with the best path for our entire life for He is watching closely over us.  Let us pay attention!
Challenge for today: Pray and listen and then follow the guidance the Lord gives you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 20,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a wonderful day. We will soon be heading to MN. and spent last night in Iowa City where there was snow.  I got to swim again and we enjoyed a restful evening. We see the forecast for more snow as we head North, so appreciate your prayers for the last of our journey. We’ve had a  wonderful trip and so grateful to the Lord. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Pride seems to be the root of most every sin. Lately I have been reminded of how we need to guard against pride every day and let the Holy Spirit show us the subtle ways it presents itself in our lives. Maybe we are guilty of name dropping or incidentally inserting into our conversation that we own the company; or how much we gave to a cause etc. I have been reading from the book of Daniel and what a difference there was between Daniel and the King. Daniel was taken captive to Babylon, along with other handsome wise men to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. But Daniel was humble and didn’t think he knew it all; when asked to tell and interpret the king’s dream, he went first to the Lord. When he received the answer he quickly acknowledged where the answer came from and said in Daniel 2;20 (NRSV), “Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are His.” He told the King that it was the God in heaven that revealed mysteries, not him. The king however, was prideful and even though he acknowledged that Daniel’s God was the God of gods he didn’t fear or worship the Lord. He thought of himself as a god and built a statue of himself for others to worship. Even when the 3 friends of Daniel were miraculously delivered from the fiery furnace, he recognized God’s power but didn’t submit to Him. Again, after Daniel interpreted the dream of the great tree that was hewn down, symbolizing the king and a warning to him, he never repented. One day when strutting around on the roof of the palace, he spoke about his own mighty power that had created all the magnificent beauty he saw.  His extreme pride led him to 7 years of mental illness when he became like an animal, eating grass and had nails like claws. It took that long before he could give God the credit and praised Him. When he did, he was restored and said that God rules and is able to bring low those who walk in pride. May we walk in humility and give God the glory. 
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of pride and quickly repent.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 

October 19,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend! We enjoyed our time with Mark’s family so much and had church with them before we left yesterday. Sadly we had to say good-by and then began our long trip home. We went as far as Frankfort, Kentucky and got in heavy traffic, most of the way here. Is everyone out looking at the beautiful display of colored leaves?! Thankful for your prayers for safety! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Time runs out for all of us one day. We don’t know when that exact time is, but it is coming. We just got word that a sweet friend at our apt. complex just died and  5 of her 8 children were with her. Two more of our friends lost their fathers last week and since they were not in a hospital, they were able to be with them until the very end. What a blessing that is to be holding their hand when the Lord reaches out His hand to take them home. When we think of our days in light of eternity, we are left with the question of what is really important. We each have 24 hours in a day and how we spend it is up to us. I don’t think most people on their death bed think, oh I wish I had just made a little more money; or I wish I had gotten another degree. No, I think it is more likely that we wish we would have spent more time with our loved ones and to let them know how much they mean to us. Or that we would have helped more people who were struggling, and shared the Lord with those around us. Even if we are young, we have no assurance that we will live to be 90. None of us know what a day will bring and how many days we will have; we are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. David prayed in Psalm 39:4-6 (God’s Word), “Teach me, O Lord, about the end of my life. Teach me about the number of days I have left so that I may know how temporary my life is. Indeed, you have made the length of my days only a few inches. My life span is nothing compared to yours. Certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind.” He goes on to say his hope is in the Lord. Let us make every day count and use our time with eternity in view.
Challenge for today: Don’t put off what is important to do today.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

Return to the Lord

These are words of the prophet Joel, calling for repentance, knowing that God’s judgment was near.  It has been difficult to either date or trace the prophecy of Joel to a person or place.  “The events  described in it are, at one and the same time, unprecedented and timeless.  The message of Joel is, therefore, relevant to any situation in any generation.  What can it say to us?” (Bible Speaks Today)

Joel warns of judgment.  “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful.  Who can endure it” (2:11).  The land trembled as does America today.  As a nation we have turned from God.  Do we hear the warnings?   Who can save us?  “I don’t see our nation able to go much further unless we repent and call upon the name of Almighty God,” observes Franklin Graham.

Joel saw judgment coming in the form of an invasion of locusts.  God was giving warning that conditions were ripe for judgment. “Joel had the courage to talk of God’s direct and personal involvement in current affairs and to assert that he and he alone had the answers to the national crisis” (Bible Speaks Today).  For us the question would be, “Where are the locusts today in our technologically brilliant but ethically bankrupt society?” (BST)

Joel alerts the people to prepare, “for the day of the lord is coming” ( 2:1). “He is emphasizing as strongly as he knows how that the great and terrible day is imminent” (BST).  It might not be the final judgment, but it will mean  present judgment and change.  “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful.  Who can endure it?” (2:11). The nation needed to wake up and pay heed.  “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming” (2:1).  

Men, I believe the trumpet has been sounding.  Darkness is descending on our nation.  Outright rebellion against God’s moral standard is being openly flaunted, while politicians on both sides bombard each other in ever despiteful language.  I often wonder if there is any hope for the healing of our nation.

Joel’s answer is clear.  It is a matter of repentance and returning to God.  Men, instead of getting caught up in the heated rhetoric of the dominant narrative of our day, especially during this electoral period, Joel tells us to “cry out to the Lord.”  I do that continually throughout the day,  knowing only God can healing what is displayed daily on TV.    

God is looking for a change in heart.  Are we prepared for what is coming. “‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning'” (2:12).  “Rend your heart, and not your garments” ( 2:13).  This is soulful behavior, not just talk, motivated by anger, fear and frustration.  God is looking for heart felt, passionate crying out to him. 

Why would God listen to men, when the culture is being stiff-necked.  Because God cares about the condition of our nation, “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…” (2:13).  Can God be persuaded.  “Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse” ( 2:14 – MSG).  

It could be that God might, “repay you for the years the locust have eaten” (2:25).  God is able to send a mighty “awakening.” “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (2:28).  

 

 

October 17, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. We are enjoying our time with Mark’s family in a big way. The grandsons are delightful, and each their own person. Last night we had a nerf gun war with bullets all over the place and today is more games outside and in the house with prizes. Andrea is better today but still a ways to go, so do keep praying for her ears and dizziness etc. 
We will leave again tomorrow after church and begin the long trip home. But it was so worth coming, even if it was short and sweet! We appreciate prayers for our safety and hope to be home Tuesday evening so Al can do his men’s Soul Care group on Wed. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
God has blessed each of us with so much that we will never be able to fully express our gratitude. His death for us on the cross was the greatest sacrifice ever, and He continues to bless us in so many ways each day. Romans 8:32 Paul says, “He who did not spare His Son, but gave Himself for us all-how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.” It is good at night, before we go to sleep, to review our day and to see how God has been with us and blessed us, and to express our thankfulness. I love to review even the little ways that He surprises me and seems like little miracles. And just like our earthly father likes to give gifts, so our Heavenly Father loves to give us good gifts. My dad was a generous man and loved to give to us kids, as well as, missionaries and unexpecting people.  His gifts often came to us when we were in great need, like when Al was in seminary, and we were so thankful. But our Heavenly Father, even more so, loves to rain blessings on us; and if we pause, we can see His hand moving in our behalf. On our trip to N.C. we intended to go to a certain motel. But when we got there, it didn’t appear very well kept, so we decided to keep looking. That’s when we found one that had a big pool with a glass ceiling, and doors that opened to the patio deck with chairs just waiting for us to recline in.  As I swam, I just praised the Lord for granting us this surprise and enjoyed the afternoon of spiritual reading. There may be times we feel like God is withholding or late in giving His gifts, but He knows what is best. It could be that He is doing a deep work in the transformation process of our lives. But let us remember that the best gifts may not be tangible things we can hold in our hands but peace and contentment and joy that we experience in our hearts.
Challenge for today: As the song goes, “Count your blessings, name them one by one…And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

 

 

« Older posts

© 2020 Canaan's Rest

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑