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.

July 30, 2021

 

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Seems like the air is better today and not so smokey. Yea! I got some egg dishes made and am making chicken soup now. I began preparing for our July Birthday party and  Al and I went to Costco and got the cake. Soon we will go downstairs and celebrate! I have a funny booby prize for it too!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
At Bible study yesterday, were just finishing up sharing about Jesus with the woman at the well receiving living water, when one of the residents here at Northern Living came through the door and joined us. He had just come from the doctor and was holding the written report that he got from his doctor that was not good news. I helped him read the medical terms but the bottom line was he had cancer in two places, and one being the return of cancer in his bowel. His response was not hopelessness for he remarked that he was in God’s hands and ready to go; if God wanted to take him soon, that was alright for he was the Lord’s. At the close of class Al sat by him and we joined him in prayer for this friend’s healing in however God would do it.
When we know the Lord, we can rest that our lives are in His hands. I was mindful of this as I read from Psalm 39 today which David wrote. In verses 4-5 (God’s Word) he says, “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.”
Life is short so why do we spend so much time and energy on things that will pass away? Even if we amass a large fortune, we can’t take it with us and it is left behind to those who may squander it. Since we don’t know when our life is over, we also must guard against putting things off. We might ask ourselves today that if we knew we had only 6 months to live, how would live differently? Would we let others know in very tangible ways how much we love them? Would we share Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him?
David goes on to say in verse 7, “And now, Lord, what am I waiting for? My hope is in you.”
Like the song goes, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus Christ, my righteousness…when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” He is our hope, our solid Rock, and anything else is sinking sand.
Challenge for today: Spend some time thinking of your preparation for eternity.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 29, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day! The air is very smokey today and we may need to wear masks as we walk today. This morning I went to Aldi’s and downstairs for Donut Day. This afternoon we have Bible Study and Ann and Leif may stop in for coffee too.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
God desires each of us to reach out and help others along the way. Sometime there is just a knowing in our hearts that we are to offer specific help to someone and God puts a desire within us to do just that. But there are also times others are used by the Lord to be His angels and give help to us. Al and I were talking about this yesterday as there have been people in our lives that have blessed us in great ways in our time of need. 
Al still calls Robert our archangel as he filled a big need when we were building Canaan’s Rest nearly 20 years ago. It was a place for Pastor’s and wives, missionaries and others to come and rest and share their burdens. We spent what money we had at that time for our first house to be built on the lake, as we had lived only in parsonages prior to this. We planned to settle into the upper level that was finished but didn’t know how we were going to manage to make the lower one into a place of retreat. That’s when Robert (a member of our previous church) said he would answer the call and come and finish off the lower level for us. It meant a long drive for him and many, many weekends and days off; he often brought John along (another member), and other times a whole group from the church came to help. Al and I used every day off and Robert would instruct us in helping to make it into a place where others could come to spend time in quiet with the Lord. We wondered what we would have done without him and our hearts will always be so grateful.
God sent us another angel after the big storm in 2016 that took down over 100 of our trees, as well as, the cabin. Al just happened to see a stranger with a Bobcat on the side of the road looking for firewood and asked him if he would like some of wood from our downed trees. He not only took many huge logs, he let Al use his John Deer tractor, which was an enormous help in the cleanup.
The third angel Al mentioned was Jon who organized 4 men from our church to help us move the big furniture items to our present place. One of the men he asked knew exactly how the U-Haul trailer should be loaded and all of them worked hard; by afternoon everything was in its place in our apt. How thankful we were that each one said, “yes” when God prompted them.
When we have needs, we can ask the Lord for help, and as Paul said in Phil. 4:19 (Amplified), “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Challenge for today: Tell God a need you may have and wait for Him to answer. He may even send an angel!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 28, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you got the nice rain that we got this morning and everything out my window is looking fresh again. Al had men’s group this morning and I was able to clean some in his study while he was gone. I went to Exercise class and this afternoon is Crafts and then Bible Study tonight. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How bold are we for the Lord and what may it cost us?
I read recently about the abduction by Islamists of over 100 students from a Baptist High school in Nigeria. The attackers came on motorbikes and started shooting as they broke through the perimeter fence of the school. Some students were able to escape but 125 were missing and since then some have been returned. There are so many attacks and mass kidnappings happening all over theworld today and in Nigeria this was the 10th one since December.
There are many today who are standing up for their faith and it is costing them their lives. It takes courage to stand up for what is right and not blend in to a culture that wants to keep Christ out. Jesus never gave in to the pressures of the world for He knew His purpose and never wavered in fulfilling it. We are to stand out from our culture and not blend in but to stand on the Rock who is Jesus. Like the chorus of the song by Ruth Caye Jones goes, “This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One; this Rock is Jesus, the only One; Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.”
Shakia Clark writes about ways to help us if we want to stand on the Solid Rock. She said we are to spend time reading the Word and getting our instruction from the Lord. As it says in Psalm 119:105 (ESV), “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” A young man we know and pray for daily, is soon going to get married; both he and his fiancé just recited 60 key Bible verses that they had memorized word perfect. What a wonderful way to challenge one another by committing the Word to memory! 
Clark also shares how important it is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead is in God’s way. That means we will also need to have an obedient heart. Have you ever prayed, “Lord show me your will but don’t make me do…………” You fill in the blank! Obedience isn’t always easy but the Lord asks us to trust Him and obey Him, even when we don’t see the whole picture. Sometimes that may mean standing alone but He is always, always with us. Clark also reminds us to speak the truth but to do it in love and not to fight back and get even.
We will all be tested at times and we need to stand firm on that stable Rock no matter what the cost!
Challenge for today: Memorize Psalm 119:105 and put it to practice by reading the Word daily.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 27, 2021

Devotions from heart
At our last Bible Study here at Northern Lakes, we studied the familiar story of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. The woman was quite surprised when Jesus asked her for a drink because Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. But Jesus went on to tell her He could offer her living water and she would never be thirsty again. In their conversation He unfolded before her the life she was living, having 5 husbands and living with a man who was not her husband etc. Her eyes were suddenly opened to recognize that Jesus was the Christ; she left her water jar and went quickly home to tell her friends. She didn’t waste any time, but wanted them to know Jesus too.
Is that our heart’s desire also, to share Jesus with all those we come in contact with each day?
In our Bible Study, Al encouraged us to share ways we can witness to others of our faith, whether it be on the job or in our family relationships. We need to be sensitive and not come off as preachy and prideful but humble and loving. One man said we need to give others sips of water and not dump the whole bucket on them!
Sharing the Lord can start out as simply having coffee with a friend or two and casually find out where they are at. We look for common ground like if they are interested in art, we can make a comment about the beauty of God’s creation. Or if they are interested in sports, a comment about the character quality of a player.
We can show concern by listening to them and bringing encouragement and we may not even mention Jesus at first. Instead, we wait for the Holy Spirit to create an opening and it may be that we just say we will pray for them or offer to help in some situation they are in.
It is God’s work to draw people to Him and Jesus said in John 6:44a (ESV), “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him.” The Holy Spirit prepares hearts and He may have been at work getting them ripe for just that very time that we are in contact with them; we must be sensitive to the Spirit with our antennae up and not miss the opportunities before us. But let us not use spiritual jargon that makes no sense to them or show shock if they confess something they are sorry for now.
We are wise when we say only what the Holy Spirit tells us and leave the person wanting more.
All of us are called to share Jesus with others, and let us back it up with a life of faith and love. Like St. Francis said, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”
Challenge for today: Listen to the Holy Spirit and share the Lord in some way today. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and knowledge of  how much you are loved, Judy
 

On The Trail

Judy and I have developed the rewarding habit of walking the Paul Bunyan Trail each day. It is built on an old railroad bed that takes us into the woods, giving us a real sense of being with the Lord in nature. We are blessed as we share these little journeys together.  God has given me a wonderful soulmate to walk with through life together.

Often we meet new people on our walks.  In particular, one man (David) has become a new friend to me. David has been going through some significant trials over the past year. But his experience has “awakened” a fresh, new openness to the work of God in his own heart.  What a joy it is to meet a man whose “spiritual receiver” is pointed upward, not bent inward or toward things below.

The metaphor “On the Trail” came to me while writing a note to David.  In him, I have found – on the trail – a male spiritual companion.  This reminds me of the early church.  As believers increased and became more visible in the culture, they became known as “the way.”  We read in Acts 19:9, “…Some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the way.”  Later we are told, “About that time there arose a great disturbance about the way (19:23).”  Paul in his preaching, further acknowledged, “I persecuted the followers of this way to their death” (Acts 22:4).  

Men, I hope you have other brothers on the trail with you, with their spiritual antennas open to the Lord, who are walking in “the way.”  Men tend to be Lone Rangers when it comes to the spiritual life.  But I must warn you: don’t become a casualty in the coming days.   

You could very well become wounded warrior – or worse yet, missing in action, taken out by the enemy of your soul.  You are going to need support to stand firm in the spiritual battle that is coming.  Paul exhorts us, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the evil day comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).

Be vigilant: don’t be taken out by wounds to your soul.  Our enemy works in the hidden life of the soul; in those areas of our inner being buried out of sight because we find them hard to manage.  Our spiritual self-improvement projects will not bring healing to these wounds of the soul.  Men need each other to fight this hidden battle.  The enemy wants to isolate men by enticing them to live life superficially.   

Just for example, how do men deal with pornography?  This curse on our culture is “taking out” a lot of men.  Their thought lives and imaginations have crippled the vitality and light of their witness.  They live in shame and frustration, while pretending to be clean, pure and upright before the Lord.  These men need other warriors who can help with mending their “broken” and “fractured” hearts.  Beyond that, it could be lustful thoughts, anger, unforgiveness, baggage from the past, whatever…  So find a soulful man, a brother in the Lord who is strong and courageous enough to fight the inner battles with you.  

As David, my friend said, “Imagine no lifeline wandering in spiritual darkness, sinking in a runaway ship, no one to pray for you.  God, thank you for bringing a spiritual counselor, whose faith and knowledge opens closed doors.  A light at night whose finest day is yet unknown.”  Thank you, Lord, for my new soulmate. 

 

July 26, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  It is still hot each day but we continue to walk the trail each afternoon. Later this morning we are going to Remer for our dental appointments and it is an all day affair as we take 3 hours for travel time. Hopefully no cavities.Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes the Lord just seems to rain down one blessing after another. Yesterday was such a day as it began with a surprise visit from friends that went to our former church in Brunswick. Al and I happened to be greeters at our church when a couple showed up that we haven’t seen for some time. We worshiped together and then had opportunity to catch up during coffee/fellowship time afterwards. Later in the afternoon Al and I went for our daily walk and met friends that we meet half way on the trail most days. Then as we were visiting, another friend showed up on her bike who is head of a helping ministry. We talked for some time altogether, and it seems that maybe one couple’s need might be met by the other friend, who up to this time had never met before.  We huddled and prayed together right there on the trail and we knew that God brought us together; it was His timing and He arranged it all. We felt like we were part of the Church on the Paul Bunyan Trail! Another friend and her dog joined us after that and added more to the joy.
Let us remember that the Lord is with us everywhere and His Spirit brings people together who can meet the needs of each another. One of the friends on the trail later e-mailed us, “What an exciting time at the church on the Paul Bunyan Trail! I felt God’s presence and was reminded that we serve a living God who is involved with us. What a blessing to have His love.”
Yes, God is in control and we have the words of  King David in Psalm 31:14-15 (ESV), ” But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand.” Each hour of every day, our lives are in God’s hands. We should not take matters into our own hands but recognize that our lives are under His control. I think as we do this, we will stand amazed at how He brings people together at the right place in His timing to accomplish His will. Let us then live fully in the moment and receive all the blessings He is pouring out on us.
Challenge for today: Acknowledge God’s hand and timing throughout your day and give thanks for His blessings in your life.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy
 

July 24, 2021

 

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. Everything looks so fresh again after our much needed rain in the night. Today I cleaned the apt. and made Oh Henry bars, and meatloaf, and did other food prep. So many good aromas!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It’s so important how we start our day, for it can determine to a great degree how the rest of our day goes. If we lie in bed and rehearse in our minds all the many things we have to do, projects that seem impossible to get done in time, and some negative things that may have happened the day before, we will forge into our day with a less than positive outlook. Instead, we need to pause and commit our day to the Lord and remember His faithfulness to us.
This morning I read Psalm 33 and found ways that we can start our day that bring music to our souls and a spring in our steps. First of all, we can lie in bed for a few minutes and just praise Him for His keeping power through the night. As I am writing this, we had a storm last night with lots lightening, crashing thunder and strong winds and I am particularly praising Him that our power did not go out. What a blessing! 
We can also remember how trustworthy He is and know that He sees everything that has happened in our life and will happen today. Verse 18 says, “The Lord’s eye is on those who fear Him, on those who wait with hope for His mercy.” Since He sees everything that concerns us, we can depend on Him for He is able to rescue us any time throughout our day. Recently, I had a lot planned for the day and I committed my day to the Lord before getting up. At the end of the day, I just marveled at the Lord’s timing of everything, even the unexpected company … and yet I got more done than was even on my to-do list. 
The Psalmist goes on to say in verses 20-22, “We wait for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts find joy. In His holy name we trust. Let your mercy rest on us, O Lord, since we wait with hope for you.”  We need to wait for the Lord when we waken and confidently put our trust in Him for all the happenings of our day. My window/screen was plastered with raindrops from last night’s storm so that I couldn’t see out on the courtyard clearly this morning. But when we set our hearts with hope and praise, we will see clearly His hand throughout our day and experience His peace.
Challenge for today: Give the Lord your day upon waking, and rest in knowing He is in charge.
Blessings on your weekend and Prayers and love, Judy

 

 

July 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend! Hope you are already enjoying a little time to relax. This morning I made S.F choc chip cookies and choc covered raspberries that Al loves. We were pleasantly surprised by Kurt and Brenda stopping to see us on their way to the Silver Chateau. Timing was perfect as I had a hair appointment a couple minutes after they left! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As I was reading from Psalm 106 today, I read that the sad words in verse 13, “But they soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel.” The Psalmist is referring to the children of Israel who went through the Red Sea on dry land, who drank the water that flowed out of the rock, and experienced so many miracles but they forgot! They complained and grumbled and didn’t seek His counsel but went their own way. 
Before we judge them though, let us examine our own lives, with open eyes, to see how we are often just like them. We may experience the Lord taking us through a very difficult time and then something minor happens and we complain and go into a funk. God where are you?! Why did you let this happen to me! But the Lord is always with us and our peace rests in being in communion with Him as we walk the journey together. In my own life, I have to watch that I don’t get busy doing too many things that my attention strays from Him and my prayer life suffers. It’s wonderful when our life becomes more a life of continual prayer when we experience Him as we work and go about our day. Each morning I pray that I may be aware of His presence with me throughout all that happens in my day. Also, to slow down when interruptions come and see them as His divine interruptions with purpose. 
I read today of Xochitl Dixon who was helping at church to set up for an event. She noticed a woman crying at the other side of the sanctuary and really wanted to ignore her since the woman had gossiped about her in the past. But the Holy Spirit spoke to her heart and reminded her of all she had been forgiven, and she went over to the woman; she listened to her share about her baby who had been hospitalized for some time and prayed for her; later they became good friends as they worked things out. Often God interrupts our day and wants our attention and to direct us in what He has planned. We need to seek His counsel and listen and not charge ahead as the Israelites did and got off course. Life becomes rather exciting when we don’t forget the Lord in our day but listen and go His way.
Challenge for today: All throughout the day, tune your ear to hear God’s voice and obey.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

July 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. Al went to men’s group this morning and I went downstairs for donuts, made stir fry and went to Aldi’s. This afternoon we have Bible study here and then Ann is coming over as she is in Brainerd today. We had a little rain and hope it helps clear some of the smoke.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How good are we are listening to the Lord and following through with obeying His voice? The way of peace is to listen and to do His will and not our own. The Psalmist said in Psalm 85:8 “I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways.” 
Each day we make a decision whether we will follow God’s way or our own. It is not always easy to surrender our will and go with His plan but it has peaceful dividends! Sometimes we may not be actually sure what His will is and we struggle. We can’t always trust our feelings but need to base the answer on the Word. What God asks of us will not violate what He has already told us in the Bible.  When we don’t have a clear answer, we need to wait and pray and watch for signs from Him. Sometimes He uses circumstances in our lives and it’s like He opens a door before us or shuts the door. It may be good to ask advice from others we respect and also list the pros and cons. But ultimately it is His will that we seek and it doesn’t always make practical sense. When Al would receive a call from a new church, we tried to put ourselves in neutral and prayed and waited and listened. Sometimes it was yes and sometimes the answer was no but we experienced peace in doing His will.
 I smiled this morning as I read about Saul and how surprised he must have been when his life took a radical turn; he was told to go find his father’s lost donkeys. He never expected to have an extreme change take place in his life. He met the prophet/priest Samuel who told him that his donkeys were found but had some life changing words for him; he would prophesy with a group of prophets and also become king. Samuel then anointed him with oil as God changed Saul’s personal plan for his life and he was to become Israel’s first king.  Samuel said to him in I Sam 10:7 (The Message), “When these confirming signs are accomplished, you’ll know that you’re ready: Whatever job you’re given to do, do it. God is with you!”. That is also good words for us for when we are in God’s will we have peace and the closeness of His presence with us.
Challenge for today: Step out in faith for whatever the Lord has for your life. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 21, 2021

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                    Hope you are having a beautiful day. I am making stroganoff and then will be off to my exercise class soon. This afternoon we have Craft time.                                                        Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                        We have friends from Washington coming next month to visit us and I was reminded of Tom when I read Sara Whitten’s words on Crosswalk.com about sailing. She shared about the picture of a sailboat that she saw at a hotel, with the words above saying, “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” For all of us, that means we have to do the adjusting!                              Our friend Tom made his own small sailboat and loves to sail on Washington lake which is 12 miles long. Recently he took his daughter and friend sailing and much to their surprise the small boat motor suddenly conked out. They were 3 miles from where they had launched and the wind was from the wrong direction so they had to tack (go zigzag) and it took 8 hours to finally get back to land. Not a day like they had planned but still enjoyed!         
 Maybe we are in a place where it seems nothing is happening and we feel stuck and frustrated. God doesn’t want us to give up but find the direction the wind is blowing and adjust our sails. Sara writes that it means we need to adjust the positioning of our hearts to be filled with joy from the Lord. It could involve trimming our sails and reducing the drag so we are not slowed and weighed down. Often that means letting go of even good things to pursue what God has for us now. We can ask Him where He wants us to put in our time and energy during this shifting so we don’t capsize spiritually. Even when there is not much wind or movement, we can use the time to prepare for when the wind comes again. We are not to go on autopilot but know there is purpose in the stillness. Usually, the wind increases in the afternoon and Sara recommends taking time to get spiritually fed in the Word early in the day so we are on “wind watch” and ready for what is ahead. During the calm we can look for little signs that our “gust” is coming so we are ready. Small sailboats like Tom’s are more responsive and easier to steer, than large ones that have lower maneuverability. Likewise, we need to embrace what the Lord is trying to teach us in the small steps and then it will help us in the big steps.                                                                   
  Perhaps we feel like the wind is gusting and the sails are flapping now and it seems chaotic but it is a transitional time and we need to make adjustments so we can soon be on our way. Then let us ask the Lord to fill our sails with His Holy Spirit, and as Paul prayed in Rom.15:13b, “so by the power of the Spirit you may abound in hope.”   
Challenge for today: Pray that the Lord will show you what needs to be trimmed and get ready for the wind of His Spirit to fill your sails.                                            Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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