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 2, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a wonderful day. Al had his Band of Brothers group this morning and it is a blessing for him. I made stroganoff and chocolate covered raspberries and did some wrapping of gifts…more this afternoon. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we treat Jesus as good as we treat some of our friends? Do we welcome Him into our lives, into our day, and into our homes? Sometimes I become aware that I have failed as a hostess and have been busy serving but not there listening to the Lord and just enjoying His presence. Every time I read the story of Mary and Martha I get convicted. I can imagine Martha scurrying around, busying herself and trying to serve Jesus, but instead neglecting time she could spend with Him. How many times have I interrupted my prayer time when I remember something that needs to be done and yet a few more minutes would not have mattered really? When we have company, I try to do as much as I can ahead so our time can be spent actually sharing together and not so busy serving. If there is only one person then I tell Al to stay seated with our company so our guest doesn’t feel neglected by both of us busy serving. But how much better when we can give our full attention and just enjoy the time together rather than do, do, do. There are some good things that come out of COVID as it helps us examine our activities and discover what things take us away from our family times and alone times with the Lord. We can have an unhealthy responsibility button that weighs us down with what we should do. Our service can actually become self-serving. But when we take time to be with the Lord, we are changed from the inside by our time with Him. When He calls us to do something, there are occasions we may have to drop everything. It’s much like when the doorbell rings and surprisingly there is our best friend at the door. We don’t say, well I’m busy doing office work and maybe you can come another day. No, we drop everything and enjoy those times together. Like Mary, let us hang on to Jesus every word rather than saying as he did to Martha in Luke 10:42(The Message), “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential and Mary has chosen it.”
Challenge for today: Go through your list of responsibilities and ask the Lord if you need to drop something, so as to spend more time with Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 1,2020

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
There is an assault on marriage and the family today as never before and we must fight for our families. God created the family and He is to be the center of the relationship. How easy our society has made it to enter into marriage and easy to dissolve it quickly as the solution for any problems we encounter; but it says in Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together let no man separate.” God intended our homes would be a sheltering place where it is safe and a place to love and serve others. We don’t just exist for ourselves alone but for God. Our marriages are really a picture of Christ and the church and the enemy is using every tool to destroy the marriage bonds. He wants to destroy the family. We must fight for our marriages, fight for our families and let our homes be places offering freedom to serve God and be ourselves. Now that doesn’t mean that we worship our children and cater to them in everything, but rather help them become what God has intended for their lives and teach them to serve others. It’s important that we live in truth and teach our children to recognize what is right and wrong. The culture is not doing that as children see their parents breaking laws in the name of so-called freedom. We must practice and teach our children that as Christians we are different and won’t fit into the world’s mold. It takes courage to stand up for what is right rather than blending into the crowd. Also, that it is more important to obey God, even when it may bring ridicule from others. In these days Christian families need to be countercultural rather than living like everyone else and hoping our children will turnout okay. We are going to have to teach them more to stand up for what the Bible teaches, no matter what the culture says. We also need to help them understand that the family doesn’t exist for itself but for the Lord and service to others. I have been reading Rod Dreher’s book, Live Not By Lies, and he said, “If you want to love and serve the church, the community, and the nation, you must first learn to love and serve your family.” Let us start at home building strong marriages and loving and teaching our children God’s ways that they may have strength and faith to stand in the days to come.
Challenge for today: Pray daily for each one of your family, and use every opportunity to point them to the God’s ways.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 1, 2020

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
There is an assault on marriage and the family today as never before and we must fight for our families. God created the family and He is to be the center of the relationship. How easy our society has made it to enter into marriage and easy to dissolve it quickly as the solution for any problems we encounter; but it says in Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together let no man separate.” God intended our homes would be a sheltering place where it is safe and a place to love and serve others. We don’t just exist for ourselves alone but for God. Our marriages are really a picture of Christ and the church and the enemy is using every tool to destroy the marriage bonds. He wants to destroy the family. We must fight for our marriages, fight for our families and let our homes be places offering freedom to serve God and be ourselves. Now that doesn’t mean that we worship our children and cater to them in everything, but rather help them become what God has intended for their lives and teach them to serve others. It’s important that we live in truth and teach our children to recognize what is right and wrong. The culture is not doing that as children see their parents breaking laws in the name of so-called freedom. We must practice and teach our children that as Christians we are different and won’t fit into the world’s mold. It takes courage to stand up for what is right rather than blending into the crowd. Also, that it is more important to obey God, even when it may bring ridicule from others. In these days Christian families need to be countercultural rather than living like everyone else and hoping our children will turnout okay. We are going to have to teach them more to stand up for what the Bible teaches, no matter what the culture says. We also need to help them understand that the family doesn’t exist for itself but for the Lord and service to others. I have been reading Rod Dreher’s book, Live Not By Lies, and he said, “If you want to love and serve the church, the community, and the nation, you must first learn to love and serve your family.” Let us start at home building strong marriages and loving and teaching our children God’s ways that they may have strength and faith to stand in the days to come.
Challenge for today: Pray daily for each one of your family, and use every opportunity to point them to the God’s ways.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 30, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend full of thanksgiving! Another mild and sunny day! EmojiI made 2 spaghetti pies and went to Aldi’s this morning to stock up. Ann and Paul are coming over this afternoon as Paul will be on his way back to the cities and shopping too. We had a wonderful time of remembrance and honoring of my aunt last night on zoom. When we can’t physically gather it is the next best thing. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Perhaps we have all had a time or two when we felt our eyelids heavy while at a meeting or in church and our spouse had to elbow us. At such times we had to be jogged awake and maybe it is that time for all of us now to awaken, as we see what is happening in our world. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and told them to wake up and make the best use of time, because the days were evil. He said in Eph. 5:14 (ESV), “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  He was not writing to sinners but it was a message to a good church in the New Testament times. However, he still had to warn them to wake up one another. We can be awake in body and yet spiritually asleep. Sometimes the spiritual weariness comes on so gradually we don’t realize it. Whitney Hopler writes about this problem and gives some ways to help us be alert and awake by discovering God around us. She says we should pursue wonder and pay attention to how God is at work. Notice the signs of His hand moving in so many ways. She encourages us to approach prayer and meditation as an opportunity and not an obligation of something we have to do…we get to do that anytime and anywhere! If we think of it as a duty and something we have to do, it just becomes an empty ritual rather than an awesome experience to be in His presence. We must also be willing to learn every day. I think we will find that God has new things to teach us when we can move out from our old familiar ways to capture what He has waiting. We need to clear our minds and be open and even excited. It is important to ask the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and keep us spiritually alert. Whitney also tells us to use our senses to the fullest. She describes them as tools to access spiritual wonders and be alert to what God is doing. It may be taking time to view a beautiful sunset or listening to music that touches our heart, or just taking time to smell the scent of roses etc. Life is not meant to be a to-do list but to experience the joy of God’s presence. We need to not only wake up ourselves and be spiritually alert but to wake up one another. Time is short and we need to stay awake or we will miss out on the wonders of God’s work around us.
Challenge for today: Intentionally connect with the Lord in doing something new and different.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

November 28, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It’s another beautifully sunny day and we are seeing quite a few people on our walks. This morning I made a big pot of chili and we saw the mass of Christian Burial from St. Michael’s for my aunt who died. It was a beautiful service and so honoring of her life lived for the Lord and others. Tomorrow we will all zoom and share our special remembrances of her as she touched so many of our lives. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
There seems to be a big shift that takes place right after Thanksgiving when our thoughts go towards Christmas. Black Friday is advertised, decorations go up, cards are being addressed and a lot of frantic activity begins. For many the real meaning of Christmas is lost and Jesus is often pushed to the periphery when He is to really be the center of our celebration. That’s one reason why we need Advent, which begins tomorrow to help us prepare for His coming. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, that means visit or coming. We remember Jesus first coming as a baby but we also look ahead to His second coming as we anticipate that awesome day. There are things we can do to prepare our hearts and many churches help us recognize this special time in different ways. Al and I are in charge of the paraments at our church so we took down the green ones and put up deep blue paraments, the color of royalty, after the Thanksgiving service. We also set up the beautiful Advent wreath that is circular to represent God’s infinite love. The four candles set in evergreen branches are: The Prophecy candle for the prophets who predicted His coming; the Bethlehem candle for Mary and Joseph’s journey; the Shepherd’s candle for the joy of finding Jesus; and the Angels candle which represents peace. But the middle Christ candle is white for the One who brought light into our world. If we have small children at home having devotions around the Advent wreath and letting them light and extinguish the candles can help them grasp the true meaning of Christmas. Mark Roberts writes in “Welcome to Advent” suggestions of how to make Advent meaningful and shares Psalm 62:5 (God’s Word) “Wait calmly for God alone, my soul, because my hope is in Him.” We are reminded to wait and Advent is a time of preparation and reflection rather than constant activity and frantic shopping. Our world is such a mess at this time but we can wait in hope because Jesus came and because He  is coming again.
Challenge for today: Take time for quiet reflection and do preparations that help you take in the true meaning of Christmas.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

Father Knows Best

I write this on Thanksgiving Day.  My bride and I are alone in our apartment due to the coronavirus. But we are content since our lifestyle already resembles that of a “monk and nun” living a somewhat atypical monastic life.  Even so, we see that Thanksgiving has changed over the years. 

I happened upon an article about the old TV show “Father Knows Best.”  During Thanksgiving week in 1954, NBC aired the show, which ends with the Anderson family praying before their meal.  After the family gathers at the table, the father leads the family in prayer: 

“Oh Lord, we give thee thanks from the depths of our humble hearts for all the blessings thou hast seen fit to bestow upon us.  We thank thee for this food, which graces our table, the roof, which covers our head.

“We thank thee for the privilege of living as free men in a country which respects our freedom and our personal rights to worship and think and speak as we choose.

“We thank thee for making us a family, for giving us sincerity and understanding.

“But most of all, dear Lord, we thank thee for giving us the greatest gift a family may know – the gift of love for one another.  Amen.”

I was 13 years old when that episode aired.  It sure brings back a lot of memories of growing up in the 50’s.  As I reflect on the evolution of my blogging, I am aware of being a voice of remembrance: “Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths…” (Jer. 6:16).  

Having walked with the Lord for over 60 years, I pray my voice will bring a godly perspective. We desperately need “truth tellers” since much of the past is dismissed as irrelevant or too harmful to remember.

“Father Knows Best” highlights cultural changes our nation has experienced over the years.  I am deeply grateful that I came to faith in the early 60’s and met my future bride in those early days.  Jesus has been the center; Scripture has been our moral compass; and the Spirit of Christ has continually renewed us.  Praise God the center holds and the foundation is secure.  

What are some positive impressions from “Father Knows Best” that could to be integrated into life today?  There are many.  Here are a few,  knowing that the cultural narrative of our day is often hostile to both the Bible and the idea of the traditional family.

First, and foremost is the spiritual leadership of the father. Traditional Christian thought sees the father’s role as spiritual initiator, pointing his family to God, to acknowledging God’s presence in everyday life.  Men, start with being thankful and positive, giving your family a hope-filled future because of Jesus and his kingdom. Your role as father is critical: do your best to keep your family “heavenly minded.” 

Second, we need to be thankful to be part of a nation that “respects our freedom and our personal rights to worship and think and speak as we choose.”  Back in 1954 this was assumed.  In the coming days, men will be called to advocate and stand for religious liberty. Expect to face strong opposition.  Resolve to “stand.”  

Finally, we can thank the Lord for “the gift of love for one another.”  This is a gift God gives to each of us.  Keep your spirit open to receive.  Only then can we pass on the love of God.   I know – I have cried out for mercy often to be able to love beyond my ability to do so. 

 

      

 

November 27,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Today is another sunny beautiful day and makes it enjoyable to walk the trail. This morning I made egg dishes and cleaned the apartment and finished decorating. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I woke early Thanksgiving morning and began remembering the many blessings that have poured down upon me throughout my life and gave thanks. I rehearsed in my mind of the evening before at our Thanksgiving service when Pastor gave time for people to go to upfront and share what they were most thankful for. It was not so much for the physical gifts given us that people spoke of, but mostly for what Jesus has done. One man said he disagreed with apostle Paul who said he was chief of sinners, for he felt like he was; he was so grateful for the gift of forgiveness. It is a most precious gift for we are all in need of forgiveness daily and Jesus paid a tremendous price for all those who are willing to confess their sins and seek His forgiveness. Since that is so, why do we hang on to our sins and refuse to give them up? Today, some pastors don’t even use the word sin, but instead shortcomings and mistakes; but the truth is we all sin throughout our day and need to let go of them in confession and experience forgiveness and cleansing. I remember when I was growing up that we had a clothes chute that went from a little door in the bathroom down to the basement into a closet where they could be taken out and washed. Whatever we put in the chute, we had to let go of; but every now and then, we went downstairs and retrieved something that we wanted to wear again before it got washed. Sometimes sins are much like that for we confess something we have done or said but then hang on to it with feelings of justification that maybe others were more at fault. It doesn’t matter who is most or least at fault for we have to let it go down the chute. When we humble ourselves and ask forgiveness of the Lord and others, we sense a lightness, cleanness, and freedom. In Prov. 28:13 (The Message), it says, “You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.” Let us abandon our sins and let go of them that we may receive mercy and forgiveness.
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sins you are hanging onto and let them go down the chute of forgiveness.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

November 26, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy Thanksgiving and may this day overflow with praise in all of our hearts. We enjoyed the Thanksgiving service last night  and there is so much to be thankful for! We aren’t having the traditional Thanksgiving  dinner  today but rather steak, fruit salad with real whipped cream, roasted Brussels sprouts and squash, choc/almond pie etc. I hope to get out my Christmas decorations later if I don’t need too long of a nap after eating.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As Thanksgiving is now here how truly thankful are in our hearts? It’s easy to give thanks when things are going well; far harder to be thankful when we are going through difficult times. But we are told to give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances for He sees things from a divine perspective and will work together even those hard things for our growth.
I read a prayer on Crosswalk.com by Debbie Przybylski and may it be our prayer too.
“Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life. I long to bring pleasure to Your heart daily. Break the power of the enemy in my life. Defeat him through my sacrifice of praise. Change my outlook and attitude into one of joyful contentment with my present circumstances. I thank You for… [Name a difficult circumstance in your life presently and thank God for it.]
Jesus, I want to be like You who obeyed the Father without complaint. You embraced the chains of humanity when You walked this earth. Convict me whenever I complain or compare myself with others. I know that Your truth dwells in a thankful heart.
I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens’ (Psalm 7:17-18:1). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.’”
Blessings on your Thanksgiving day and love, Judy
 
 

Novemeber 25, 2020

Dear Ones,
A blessed Thanksgiving whenever you celebrate. So many plans have been canceled but our hearts still give thanks to the Lord. I heard from Taylor today who many of you have prayed for and she and her boyfriend have COVID and quite sick. This morning I made a meatloaf for our lunch and a pie for tomorrow. This afternoon we have errands to do and also ice cream treat at Culver’s drive up. Tonight is the Thanksgiving service at church but no pie afterwards like years past.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How do we care for our soul as well as our body? I get e-mails daily about health concerns and ways to detox and to take good care of our body etc. I was fascinated when Craig Groeschel wrote about Soul Detox and how important that is for all of us. Just as we wouldn’t knowingly physically swallow poison, why would we consume hazardous poison to our soul? Everything we allow into our minds has an impact on us and will affect our souls. It’s important to identify lies that we have grabbed hold of especially from our culture that lead us away from God; then we need to replace them with the truth of what God says. Just like our bodies need detoxing, we need to clean our thoughts of what is unhealthy and focus on how God sees things. Craig tells us to choose positive words that create and heal and avoid negative words that destroy. Sometimes we need to analyze words that others have said about us and ask God if they are true. It’s important to deal with our hidden sins and confess them to the Lord and seek forgiveness. If there is bitterness and unforgiveness we need to get rid of it for it is toxic to our souls. Envy of others has to also go, and instead of comparing, thank the Lord for what He has blessed us with. When anger bubbles up, we need to listen before responding and deal with anger productively, not destructively. If we are plagued with fear, we need to break free by trusting the Lord more deeply. Or if we are surrounded by toxic influences like unhealthy people, materialism, media etc. we need to separate from such things and spend time in ways that lead us back to the Lord. Just as it is Thanksgiving tomorrow, let us start today in giving thanks with grateful hearts. Let our mindset be on His goodness to us for as we do this it is as a cleansing flow through our souls. Like wise King Solomon said in Proverbs 3 (The Message), “Trust God from the bottom of your hearts…Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go…Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! “Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal toxic influences in your life and be willing to detox.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 24, 2020

Devotions from Judy’s heart
It seems there is so much fear in the hearts of many as we wonder if we could be next to get COVID, if our job will be eliminated, if we can pay the rent etc. Some cannot sleep at night with worry and if we allow ourselves to go down that road in our thinking, we will find it comes to a dead end. But like I read today the Psalmist asks in Psa.49, “Why should I fear in times of trouble?” If we know the Lord, we need to ask ourselves the question of why we should be afraid when the God of the universe who made us is able to care for us and see us through this crisis. In the next Psalm 50 the Psalmist begins by calling God the Mighty One, God the Lord, and in verses 14-15(ESV) says, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” We have an abundance of promises that can help us attack fear and not let it take over in our lives. Our strength is in the Lord and not in ourselves and during this time of the virus, we are seeing how our lives are in His hands and not our control. One friend e-mailed me that she is at peace during this Covid time. She had spent some time alone with the Lord and concluded that there were two possible outcomes. One that she might get the virus and recover or the other that she would go home to Jesus. She said that either way sounded like a “win” to her. She went on to say that she looked forward to the possibility of death, not necessarily with longing or any immediate desire, but knowing that her joy in the Lord would be complete. For all of us like the Psalmist we can offer to God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. I am reminded of a chorus I learned years ago and a pastor recently had his congregation sing it over and over. “We bring the sacrifice of praise unto the House of the Lord. (4x) And we offer up to you the sacrifices of Thanksgiving; and we offer up to you the sacrifices of joy.” When we feel down and worrisome, then it is a sacrifice to praise the Lord; but we become that sacrifice if we do it anyway. Let us not give way to fear but offer a sacrifice of praise to Him who is worthy of our worship and praise.
Challenge for today: Spend some time just worshiping and praising the Lord and release your fears to Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 
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