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.

December 7, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is filled with the closeness of His presence. Al will soon be going to his men’s group and I will have donuts and coffee waiting when he comes home. Today is Bible Study Day here and grandson, Paul, will be coming this afternoon. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The best place to be always is in the presence of the Lord. He desires that we live close to Him in intimacy and to let Him lead and direct our lives. But too often we put ourselves first and soon we find ourselves distant from Him. We may get a warning sign as we are tempted to drift away and we need to pay attention as it is easier to turn back quickly than to go down a slippery slope and then deal with the consequences.

  I was reading today of King David who was walking about on his roof and noticed Bethsheba bathing. She was Uriah’s wife and he should have stopped right then and turned from the temptation; but he committed adultery and had her husband killed in war, and took her as his wife. He tried to cover up his sin, which never works, and God took the prophet Nathan to point it out. There were sad consequences as David and Bathsheba’s son died.

  We all face temptations and when we give in to them, it causes distance between us and the Lord. We may try to blame someone else and as we try to justify our behavior but the Lord sees our hearts and knows. Most of us know what particular temptations cause us to weaken and it is best to avoid places of temptation and situations that may cause us to fall. It is helpful to have a friend whom we can share with and ask for prayer when we find ourselves weakening. But if we fall, we need to come clean, to admit our sin and to ask forgiveness. David’s confession in Psalm 51 asks for mercy and to be washed clean, for he realizes his sin is against the Lord. He asks God to create in him a clean heart and right spirit and to restore the joy of His salvation.  God forgave him and also forgives us when we are sorry and turn back to Him and confess our wrongs against Him. It is a gift of grace, for the Holy Spirit convicts us and we are able to repent and be restored in close fellowship with the Lord. Let us not justify our actions when it is sin, but repent with a contrite heart.

  Challenge for today: Read David’s prayer in Psalm 51 and make it your prayer the next time you sin.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 6, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day overflows in prayer! Today I plan to make cookies and Beef Stroganoff and go to my exercise class, craft class and Bible study.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Soon we will be giving Christmas gifts to our loved ones, and we might take a lot of thought to give something they need or desire. But as nice as it is to seek to find the perfect gift, it may be the intangible gifts that are more valuable. One such gift is prayer for your loved ones and to hold them up often before the Lord.

  There are times we may tell someone that we will pray for them, but do we forget, or do we follow through until that request is granted according to God’s will? I find that with so many of you that receive my daily devotions and ask for prayers, that I have to write them down in a journal or I will forget. It helps me to just pause for a moment when a request comes and send up a dart prayer right then. Afterwards I can write it down and refer to it in my daily prayers. The list that Al and I pray together for each morning is quite long and we also each have our own list that we remember in our individual times with the Lord.

   For some of you it may be most helpful for you to put requests on your mobile phone or your computer or calendar but do whatever works best for you, that will remind you to pray. We are to bear one another’s burdens and praying and interceding for others is powerful. I think we will find it changes us as well, when we lift others in prayer.

  We are told to pray without ceasing, and to also give thanks. Paul tells Timothy in I Tim 2:1 (God’s Word) “First of all, I encourage you to make petitions prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people.” That means even our enemies. Jesus made time for prayer and often went away by himself to pray. How much more do we need to take time to pray.

  I think it is so uplifting when someone tells me they are praying for me and a specific need. I have to say that there are times I can actually sense the prayers of others as I know I would not be as calm in a difficult situation without them.  There is a peace and comfort that I know comes from Him through the prayers of others.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to remind you of those in your life who have asked for prayers and then pray!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 5, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to awe and praise to the Lord. I looked out on fresh snow, and it is so beautiful! The house is full of aroma as I have cinnamon bread in the oven for Al. His bleeding is minimal today from his tooth extraction yesterday so he will be able to eat soft things today. I have Women’s Bible study later this morning, followed by a Christmas luncheon. A great way to begin Advent. Today is our son Kurt’s birthday too!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Is the Lord most important in our lives? Do we value knowing Him above all else or are we compromised? When we are only half-hearted in knowing and serving the Lord, we miss the exciting full life He has planned for us. I read today of one man who lived mostly for Himself and hadn’t made a full commitment to the Lord; but after a while he admitted to his wife that his life was not all that much fun, and he surrendered everything to the Lord.

  Nothing we accomplish in life is worth comparing to knowing the Lord. In fact, the apostle Paul had lots of credentials and could have bragged about them, but he said he was throwing them out with the trash, because of Christ. In Phil 3 (The Message), he says “Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant-dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.” He goes on to say he gave up inferior stuff to know Christ and to experience His resurrection power.

 Knowing the Lord and serving Him is far more important that getting to the top of the ladder of worldly success or accumulating great riches. Those things will one day all pass away but trusting and loving and serving the Lord has eternal value. If we live in His love, we will experience deep down joy and a sense of being fulfilled. As we share His love, it seems to multiply our joy. We can begin by practicing His love at home through sacrificial serving of one another. Sometimes it is costly, but it has eternal rewards reaps peace and blessings. Ajith Fernado wrote, “Love is going to be our preoccupation for eternity. Our present lives are but a training ground for the opportunity to fully experience and apply love.”  May we love Him and also share that love with others He puts in our lives.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you any areas of compromise in your life and make a full commitment to the Lord.

December 4, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. This morning Al is going to get his wisdom tooth extracted as there was a mix up last week. Early yesterday morning Leif’s mom went home to the Lord and is now free of all pain. Thank you for those that prayed as Leif was able to preach a few hours later. Please pray now for family to be comforted as Shirley will be missed.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 Have you heard it said that Christians are prideful and have a tendency to look down on others? That is a sad commentary if we are viewed as arrogant and feel superior to those around us, for then we have forgotten God’s grace to us. It’s hard for love to get through to the hearts of others if we come across as boastful and better than. Pride has a focus on ourselves, but if on the other hand we are full of gratitude, we can focus on others.
 But sometimes we don’t recognize pride in our own lives for we can become boastful in our sharing as we put the emphasis on us rather than the Lord’s strength and power. It may be that we tell others about an honor we received or a victory we overcame, and everyone celebrates with us; but we must also be aware of who we tell, and when to share it and always do it in a humble spirit. The glory belongs to the Lord and the focus is foremost on Him. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he reminds them in chapter 13 that we are not to boast or be arrogant and rude!  When Jesus saved us, we became a new person in Him but not that we get puffed up with self- importance and pride. It is a work of God that we are changed and being changed daily.
   As our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord, we will desire to serve others as Jesus did and gave us an example to follow. He did the work of a slave when He washed his disciple’s feet on the very night He was betrayed. Even Judas’ feet!  Out of love and gratitude to the Lord, He will empower us to serve others in a myriad of ways. There is no place for arrogance and pride. It is good to remember that we are weakest when we feel strong in our own strength and are self-sufficient. But we are truly strongest when our strength and identity is in the Lord, and we go forth in His power.
 Let us not be boastful and proud but have a servant’s attitude towards others, as we serve the One who lifted us up from the lowest place to be with Him.
  Challenge for today: Do a humble deed for some unsuspecting person today.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy


December 2, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have a good weekend and take time to rest too! I plan to clean the apartment today and make a new dish for Al to try. Two of the men of our apartment complex went to the hospital and are needing prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We were not designed to work, work, work with no rest for even God rested after creating the heavens and the earth and all that is in it! Today it seems like people place their importance on being super busy and end up getting stressed out. No time for a sabbath rest! But if we choose busyness over times of rest, we miss that sweet fellowship with the Lord, and in fact are saying our work is more important than Him.
  We are created to work, but when we overdo it and don’t take time to rest, we are really saying other things come before the Lord. In fact, we end up going in our own strength because He has not asked us to overdo. I was reading on and the writer was emphasizing that resting is not laziness or selfishness, but rather a time to refuel and celebrate what God has enabled us to accomplish. When you think of it, why do some executives spend all their time at the office and never get away to enjoy the fruit of their labors? It’s when we rest that we can get fresh vision, get regenerated and ready for all that the Lord has for us next.
   In Matt. 11:28 (Message) Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Ge away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Doesn’t that sound heavenly to live freely and lightly and not be weighted down with heavy pressures and working steady 7 days a week? When we are yoked with Christ, He shoulders our burdens as long as we stay in the harness with Him and keep to His time schedule. Even when we have deadlines to meet, we need to pause in the midst of our work, share our burden with Him and thank Him and then let Him refuel us for the work ahead.
  He often gives us fresh vision, a new way of looking at the tasks before us. Let us not fall prey to the influence of our culture that puts work before God.
Challenge for today: Take little mini rests during your work day, praising the Lord and sharing with Him your concerns.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

December 1, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! I am soon going to bake Choc chip cookies on a stick and then go to get my haircut. There was a mix up in scheduling yesterday as Al had his teeth cleaned and his extraction isn’t until Monday at 10. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  How often do we feel we have to help God, or maybe even tell God what we think He should do in a situation. When that happens, we may find that we actually mess up His plan and leave behind a situation for Him to clean up. It is always good to go with God’s plan and wait until we have instructions from Him before we act. Pray first, wait, and then follow His leading.
  A humorous example that recently happened here at Northern Living I will share with you. A friend who is gifted in crafts made a beautiful Christmas picture out of fine little diamond dots. Since we already have such nice pictures on the walls of our halls, she decided to hang her “masterpiece” downstairs near the elevator in the underground where our cars are parked. We would be able to see it as we come and go and also when we take recycling down there. One morning I was going by to get into our car and I saw her beautiful picture on the floor and leaning on the wall not far from the recycling. I wondered why it was there and also thought maybe someone new would think it was something that was given away and would give it a new “home.” I decided to wait until I came back to do something about it. But when I came back it was gone. The story unfolded as I went to Crafts and the artist herself rehearsed the unbelievable morning she had. She had gone downstairs to put up the picture and needed a hammer and nails so went upstairs to her apartment. When she came back the picture was gone. She panicked thinking someone had stolen it and wrote a note on the elevator doors of each floor of our apt. complex. About an hour later a concerned loving friend texted her who was at Costco and said she had her picture in her apt as she was afraid someone would take it and wanted it safe. What relief and soon it was back and hanging up for all of us to see. We had a good laugh and our friend who took it meant well, but it complicated things for the artist!
  Often, we may “help” the Lord with good intentions in mind, but it may not be in His will, what we set out to do. As it says in Psalm 85:8, “I’ll listen carefully for your voice and wait to hear whatever you say. Let me hear your promise of peace-the message every one of your godly lovers longs to hear. Don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.”

  Challenge for today: Seek the Lord first and listen carefully to how He would direct you. It is not your job to fix everyone or everything!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

November 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day filled with peace. Al is soon off to men’s group, and I will have donuts waiting for him when he returns as it is Donut Day. After our Bible study here this afternoon, he will be going to the dentist to get a wisdom tooth extracted. Emoji Prayers appreciated!  I am going to make a pot of stew and soon the aroma will fill our apartment.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 The way we live and interact is a gift to others!  Today there is a great lack of unity as many people in likeminded groups wall themselves off from others that don’t exactly agree with their way of thinking. Gone is the likelihood of influencing others for good as walls are put up around closed groups that are not open to those with other viewpoints.
 The question arises, how can we influence others for the Lord, if we are secluded and not welcoming to others? When we have Bible Study here at Northern Lakes, we come from so many different backgrounds, and Al is careful that we don’t make an issue of infant baptism or modes of communion, or any kind of doctrinal differences. We are one in the Lord and unity is more important than being right in a doctrinal debate.  Paul says to Timothy in II Tim 2:14 to “avoid petty controversy over words, which does not good but upsets and undermines the faith of the hearers.” He goes on to say we are to avoid all empty, vain, and useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
 So much in the Word speaks of the unity of Christ’s Body for we are one family with many different parts. It says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider and give attentive continuous care to watching over one another studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.” We are also told to gather together to encourage and admonish one another for we are of the same spirit. Yes, we are diverse, but we have One who is our common denominator, and unity is found in Him.  Others outside of Christ, may be drawn to Him, just by observing our unity and oneness of spirit.
  Let us let the Holy Spirit guide our conversations and live with openness to others and also humbly receive from them.
Challenge for today: Purposely have conversation with someone of a different viewpoint and be open to what you may learn.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 29, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you have a day filled with joy-filled moments. I plan to go to my exercise class, then with Al to his post op appointment, home in time for crafts and later Bible Study.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Where does the time go? The older I get the faster time seems to go and the days seem to fly by. How did we get in a new season already when I hardly had a chance to enjoy the former one? I was reading an article by Patricia Engler on tips for making the best use of time. She quoted Charles Spurgeon, who over a hundred years ago said, “Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity.”
   It is important that we use our time for things that really matter and to enjoy each day we are given. Moses prayed that God would teach us to number our days so we would gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) Life is so brief and I don’t want to waste my time on earth investing in things that don’t have eternal value.
  Jesus spent his time doing His Father’s business and he had only 3 short years to prepare His disciples to take over the huge task of preaching the good news of the kingdom, healing the sick, baptizing, teaching them all that they had learned from Him. Yet He took time to be alone with His Father, wasn’t rushed but stayed on His Father’s time schedule and did it His way. way.
  It is good to ask ourselves how we are doing with our time management. Do we come to the end of the day and realize we neglected to spend time with the Lord in the Word, and yet we read the latest on Facebook, had time for games online etc. What are our motives for spending time and are they worthwhile? What things help us to draw closer to the Lord and enable us to share Him with others that they may know Him and grow? As we answer those questions it will help us to say no to things that simply waste our time and are not worthwhile.
 Some people like detailed planning and scheduling, and others may find that too restricting. We need to do what works for us. We may have certain circumstances in our lives that demand more time of us right now, like having a baby, starting a new job, or caring for the sick. God can give us creative ways to accomplish what is needed as we follow His leading.
The Lord looks at our heart and knows our motives. May our desire be to draw close to Him and use our time wisely to enlarge His kingdom here on earth. One day this will be all over and only what we have done for Him will last!
Challenge for today: Before you shut your eyes tonight, review your day and ask the Lord if there are things you need to cut out or add.
  Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of thankfulness! Today I hope to do some baking and we are invited to friends for coffee and fellowship.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Upon waking one morning, the verse came to mind from Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is in me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”  David goes on to list his thankfulness for forgiveness and healing, saving his life, and for grace and mercy. He is full of gratitude for God’s love and compassion and recalls His deeds to his people.

  Just the day before when Al and I were walking together on the Paul Bunyan trail in some fresh snow, we were sharing with one another as we usually do when we walk. We were recalling how God has always been with us, and always provided what we needed at the time. We never lacked or went without a meal; even though poor while Al was in seminary the Lord always gave us enough and even at times enough to have company. We reminisced of how one of Al’s college roommates just happened to be over at our apt at graduation time when Al’s folks were visiting. Al had been thinking we would be going to N.Y. for his seminary training and Terry said, “Have you ever thought of going to Fuller Seminary?” Well, that would be nice but something we couldn’t afford. Al’s dad must have been close enough to hear and offered to pay for his tuition. God’s provision in an unexpected way! We lived paycheck to paycheck on Al’s parttime salary and my babysitting of the pastor’s 5 kids so that I could be a stay-at-home mom. Never did we lack the basics, and we didn’t worry about the “what-ifs.” We trusted God would provide as he had in the past and He did!

  We also recalled one benefit after another of how the Lord had healed us, led us and guided us, but not always the way we thought. After seminary we hoped to go to a church in the poor part of Mpls and instead, we were sent to the rich in Edina. His plan! Yes, there were also hard times and we recalled how God saw us through and gave us His strength to overcome. As we concluded our walk, my heart was so full of gratitude and praise to the Lord.
 Let us not waste time worrying about tomorrow but remember His goodness to us in the past and trust Him for the future.
  Challenge for today: Spend some sharing with someone your story of how the Lord has poured out His goodness on you all the days of your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Men Singing

Recently a group of men in my church sang during our annual Thanksgiving service.  One of them had decided to organize a group of men to simply come up front and lead our congregation in praise to God.  He choose two songs: “O Worship the King” (with) “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” & “Holy, Holy, Holy” (with) “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.”  At least 15 men stood there facing the congregation, joyfully singing to the Lord.  That time of worship seemed angelic.    

The experience prompted me wonder about the battle going on in the spiritual realm.  Our archenemy, Satan, and all his demonic forces do not want to be reminded of the throne room in heaven, where the worship of the Lamb is taking place.  Heartfelt worship reminds the forces of evil of their defeat.  The new song in heaven declares, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).  When a group of men committed to Jesus sing in unison from their hearts, the spell of the illusionary lie of evil is broken.  The spiritual air is cleared and Jesus’ reign is actualized in the hearts of those in worship.

As we sang, I thought of the large “Promise Keepers” events I attended at the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.  A spiritual presence gave men permission and motivation to sing heartfelt praises to God.  It was truly inspiring to be caught up in praise to our Lord in a stadium built for sports team.  In that moment it became a sanctuary of praise to the Lord, as men “let loose” with praise to the Lord.  It felt like are large spiritual pep rally, where men were preparing for battle.

I thought of the spiritual battle we face in our nation at this time.  I remembered King Jehoshaphat, who appointed men to go out ahead of the army, praising God as they went into battle against Ammon and Moab.  They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”  II Chronicles 20:22 tells us, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”  Earlier the king had been told in a message from the Lord, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s… Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (II Chron. 20:15-16).    

I wondered about our experience as men in church singing “unfettered” before the Lord.  By this I mean men oblivious to cultural restraints from voices implying that anything masculine is toxic.  The negative feminine voice is silenced by the unified voice of men lifting their voices to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  On this occasion a group of ordinary men stood before a community of fellow believers, declaring in a strong, unified voice that God reigns.  It was a powerful declaration.

In Revelation 4-5, we have an image of the throne room in heaven, with high praise being offered to the Lamb of God.  After the four living creatures, the next to be mentioned were 24 elders, representing the church.  These were men laying down their crowns before the throne.  They sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).  


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