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.

September 29,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a beautiful day. The sun has decided to come out here after a fresh rain. EmojiThis morning I studied, did food prep and made some chocolate covered raspberries and brought downstairs for coffee time. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Isn’t it great when the lost is found? It could be something we have treasured and one day we discover it again in a place we had not thought to look before; or it could be a lost child happily   united with parents again. Recently we met a friend on the Paul Bunyan trail who is from our apartment complex. She was sitting on a bench next to another woman and both of them with big smiles and bearer of good news. They were long- time friends, living near one another and doing things together as families when their kids were young. Over the years they moved and went on with life and lost contact. But on this day, both of them were out for a walk and they came upon each other on the trail. They couldn’t believe it and had to sit down to visit and catch up. What they discovered was that they live close to one another now with only one apartment complex in between that is connected by the trail. They are united again! In a spiritual sense, I was reminded of what can happen to any of us. Though we may start out strong, knowing the Lord as a child, we may gradually fall away in the busyness of life. We get so attached to the things of the world that we forget God and do life on our own. But all the while God is not far away, and may use circumstances in our lives to remind us that He is near and wants a relationship with us. When a sheep is lost, the shepherd will go to great lengths to find the lost one, just as the Lord pursues us. When He finds us, He doesn’t chide us for we know we are the one that has strayed. Jesus said in Luke 15: 5-6 (God’s Word), “When he finds it, He’s happy. He puts the sheep on his shoulders and goes home. Then He calls His friends and neighbors together and says to then, ‘Let’s celebrate! I’ve found my lost sheep!” Just as Jesus finds us and puts us back in the fold again, we are restored into fellowship with Him and others in the sheepfold. Our friend who discovered her friend on the trail was so happy but even more so is the joy in heaven when someone comes back to the Lord.
Challenge for today: Reach out and show God’s love to lost sheep.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Inflated Tires

I read Glenn Stanton’s recent article in The Daily Citizen (Focus on the Family) entitled “Atlantic Magazine Science Writer: Men Don’t Have to Menstruate.”  It got my attention.  The article was “about how suffering through the end of their monthly cycle might now be a thing of the past for women.”  But the shocker was, “that men need no longer to have their period either.”  Stanton calls this confusion “a significant cultural indicator.”  

The article demonstrated how an influential magazine like the Atlantic has in Stanton’s words bowed, “low to the new gender theory orthodoxy that yes, both men and women do indeed have periods and no one should think otherwise.”  

The article  highlights how menstruation is becoming an elective bodily process. One expert believes, “We now have the technology to make periods optional.”  While reporting on a personal health issue for women, Stanton points out “the astonishing editorial choices” used in writing the article.  “Her” is avoided, with the use of the gender-neutral “their.”

In order maintain that menses are not solely a female issue, phrases such as “people who have periods” is used,  along with “people who have periods spend an average of 2,300 days of their lives menstruating.”   Then their is this curious statement, “The cost of so-called feminine products can add up to thousand of dollars over a person’s lifetime.”  Why not just say women or female.   Because as Stanton point out the Atlantic, “is following a……wholly novel theory that a man can be as legitimately a woman as any other woman merely by declaring himself one.”

Stanton wonders why “the otherwise fine Atlantic piece didn’t specify whether ‘men’ were included in their analysis.  He replies “it had to do with the difference between doing actual science and pushing a wholly creative ideology that is directly at odds with one of the most fundamental realities of what it means to be a human.”

You know there is confusion when Facebook has listed over 50 gender options to choose from when filling out a personal profile.  This is sure proof that “gender” has become untethered from reality.  The remedy is to go back to the original design, at the beginning, found in the book of Genesis. 

Jesus was definite in telling us, “at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female'” (Matt. 19:4), going on the say that the two in marriage cannot be separated.  The Pharisees questioned Jesus  stand on marriage, saying Moses allowed for divorce.  Jesus was saying in effect, “this is not the way God created it to be.  Something has gone terribly wrong. This was not the way in was in the beginning.” 

Christopher West uses the analogue of  people driving with a flat tire as being normal when it comes to our sexuality.  But Jesus is telling the pharisees that “in the beginning, they had air in their tires.”  We need to go back to the beginning to see how distorted of view of sexuality has become.

Jesus came into the world not to condemn those with flat tires, but rather to re-inflate their flat tires.  West observes, “We cannot actually return to the state of innocence; we’ve left that behind.  But by following Christ we can receive God’s original plan for our sexuality and live it with Christ’s help.” 

I love the analogue of “flat tires.”  Men, turn to Jesus in humble dependence, asking him to fill the deep caverns of your soul, so that you might be affirmed in your fully alive masculine soul.  Jesus can inflate your tires, giving you all the passion and energy you need to be “one” with your bride.  

 

 

 

 

September 29, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend! Today I am writing early so I can do some individual e-mails and also get to Aldi’s and my exercise class. Not sure yet if our grandson is stopping by this afternoon too. Have you had time to just enjoy this beautiful Fall? 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Pray, pray, pray! God is calling His people to humble ourselves and pray and return to Him. As a nation we have strayed so far from God and need to become a Christian nation once again under God. I hope many of you that are reading this were able to watch thousands upon thousands of believers gathered in Washington D.C. on Saturday to pray for our nation. Some joined Franklin Graham and made the 1.8 mile prayer walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the Capital and prayed for spiritual healing. This was not about politics but an outpouring of prayers for our nation to repent and turn back to God. As was said, the best way to battle is not with rocks and stones but on our knees. During the day, we also watched thousands more involved in The Return which similarly was a time of repentance and prayers for our nation. There were many humble and powerful speakers, songs sung, and prayers offered up for all those in government to have wisdom and knowledge. People called on God to be merciful to our nation. turn us back to Him. and heal our land. The apostle Paul says in I Tim. 2:1-3 (The Word), “First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions and prayers of thanks for all people, for rulers, and for everyone who has authority over us. Pray for these people so that we can have a quiet and peaceful life always lived in a godly and reverent way. This is good and pleases God our Savior.” A message like this must have been almost shocking to the readers at that time for Nero was emperor and persecution was growing against Christians. But it was a time to pray and there is great power in prayer. Let us remember that it is also a time for us to pray and seek God, for His ear is open to His children and only He can bring the healing.
Challenge for today: Spend some time praying for all those in authority and for God to direct their decisions.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

September 26, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying your weekend and the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. I cleaned the apartment this morning and we are going out for lunch with friends and to celebrate a birthday. Right now you can go to The return.org and to get in on what is happening in Washington D.C right now.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I woke early this morning and when I went to my desk to write, I read the words in my notebook. “The time is short!” I take notes as I read from the Word and from other books and sources, and try to discern what God is saying to me each day. Underneath were the words to put God first and let Him dominate my thoughts. He is a living loving presence and deserves all glory. It is not time to be asleep but time to be alert and awake and praying. As we see what is happening all over the world, we are brought to our knees and know how much we need to turn to God, to humble ourselves and to seek Him.  Yesterday we had such a wonderful afternoon, sharing the Lord together with friends and today we will have another chance with other praying friends. I think God is calling us together as His followers to be aware of the times, and to encourage one another to stand together in His power against all the evil that is being unleashed. Our only hope is in the Lord. We are not to be fighting one another as Christians but to join together and to pray and stand against the enemy’s tactics. Today is the Prayer March in Washington D.C. with Franklin Graham and it will be live streamed from the National Mall. It is time to unite as never before and pray, pray, pray. As it says in James 5:16 (NESV), “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” The results of our prayers are greater than we can imagine because God’s power is infinite.  Let us join with others and be passionate about prayer for the time is short.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to awaken you  and pray for God to turn the hearts of others to Him before it is too late.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 25, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Seems like the weeks fly past so quickly. Today I studied and made bars and went downstairs for coffee and treats. This afternoon we are invited to friends who live in the woods. We met them on the Paul Bunyan trail some time ago. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Since I sent out yesterday part of a letter to Al when we were young, with his permission I will give you a few of his written words when he was about 21 and writing to me. He was on a team called the “Ambassadors” and over the summer the team went to many Free Lutheran churches from MN all the way out to Washington. Al preached, sang in a quartet, played his accordion and grew a lot spiritually during that time. We only got to see each other one time all summer and that was near Alexandrea so we both wrote letters nearly every day. It was a good way to share our hearts and faith and love for God and each other. He wrote, “’And without faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. (Heb 11:6)’ I thought this was a very good verse on faith. For everything we receive from God and even the nearness that we have to Him depends upon our relationship to Him. Many times, I feel that I can’t get to God because I sin too greatly. But this is not the way that it should be. No, we should be able to come near to God at all times and it must always be by faith. Also, it is only how much I expect from God that I will actually receive from Him. Oh, how I limit God so often in my Christian life and my close walk with the Lord Jesus.” A couple nights later he wrote “For the Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (I Cor 4:20) Oh how true this is. How we need to have the power of God in our life before we can really be effective for Him. Jesus cannot speak through us until we are in a right relationship to Him. We can do all the talking that we want to, but if we don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit we may as well be talking to the wall.” He closes and asks for prayers for his own life and that he could preach with more freedom and power. I think his summer on the team also prepared him to become a fulltime pastor.
Challenge for today: Refer back to how God has guided your life and give Him thanks.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 24, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a peace filled day. I baked cookies and Al and I went through old pictures, letters etc. and threw lots out.  You will get a devotional about that today and maybe tomorrow you will something Al wrote to me so long ago. This afternoon I am going to make cards with several others here in our building. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Yesterday Al and I brought home a trunk load of memories from the days before we were even married. Some years ago, we put all our love letters, announcements, pictures etc. in a big old trunk and stored it in the garage at the lake but now it was time to deal with the contents since we have moved. Al and I met at a Bible School in CA and had a four-year courtship before we could get married. (during nurses training we weren’t allowed to get married or it meant getting kicked out.) We wrote lots of letters to one another as we were often separated and I must have been about 19 or so when I wrote the following to him. “For the Spirit that God gave us is no craven spirit, but one to inspired strength, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, but take your share of suffering for the sake of the gospel in the strength that comes from God. It is he who brought us salvation and called us to a dedicated life, not for any merit of ours but of his own purpose and His own grace.” (II Tim 1:7-9) As I was reading Paul’s words to Timothy, I saw the strength that is ours in the Lord. He has given us His Spirit that inspires us to strength, love, and self-discipline, for this power is not in ourselves but only through Him who is so great and far above us. And when I came to the word dedicated, I always have to stop and examine my own life and heart. We are to be dedicated to Christ for a purpose that doesn’t lie in ourselves but to glorify God. I pray that God’s purpose and will may be fulfilled in my life and that I may not fail my Savior.” I go on to say how I thanked the Lord for such a wonderful godly guy whose love in the Lord we shared. We have stacks of letters and most of them are 6 or more pages long, but in the sharing of the Lord, our relationship was built on a solid foundation and just keeps getting better. We pray that for young people today to base their relationship on the Lord!
Challenge for today: Share your love for the Lord with a younger person who God puts in your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 23, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a glorious day and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. As soon as Al gets through his men’s Soul Care group, we are heading for the lake. But on the way I hope to see my friend at Birchwood for a few minutes and also get my hair done. Then on to enjoy the array of colors of the changing leaves and see family.   
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Success is finding God’s will and following His plan for our lives. Success is not becoming rich and powerful and having a comfortable life but in choosing God’s higher plan for our lives. It may look much different than how the world would view. I was reading Larry Crabb’s book, Waiting for Heaven, and he gives the example of Moses who had power, pleasure, and prosperity for the first 40 years of his life, as the grandson of Pharoah. Others thought he had a mighty bright future but as it says in Heb. 11:24-26, (The Message), “By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.”  Moses made the choice to choose God’s call on his life over comfort, and waited for a greater reward. He had to persevere through some very tough times, 40 years herding sheep and raising a family, and then 40 more years leading a multitude of Israelites who complained all the way to the Promise Land. That was quite different than the life he would have had in Pharoah’s court, but he is an example of one who could wait to satisfy his own comforts for the reward in heaven. Do we settle for second best and try to get what we want right now, going our own way? Or are we open to what God has for us and willing to do what is on His agenda? Too often we want things now with no waiting! We make demands on God and others to meet our needs and look out for our own interests, thinking it will make us happy. But God has a bigger purpose for us and desires that we come to know Him and share in that same deep love that He has for His Son. When we try to find satisfaction any other way, we will be disappointed. Let us choose to go God’s way even as we wait, for what is ahead for us will be worth it all. Like the song goes, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus…so bravely run the race, til we see Christ.”
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to give you a thirst to know Him better and to be willing to follow His plan for your life. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 22, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying another beautiful sunny fall day. Today I cleaned and now our house is full of aroma with stew in the pot, and egg dish just out of oven. Kurt stopped by this morning on his way back to Kansas and had a great time at the lake and caught fish too. We plan to go to the lake tomorrow, as I have hair appointment etc. This afternoon I am going to church to help create decorations for our upcoming Women’s gathering. The theme is Contentment in a Restless World. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What are we doing in our little corner of the world? Are we making a difference and letting our light shine? I am an early riser and each morning I look out from my second story bedroom window and see the breaking of dawn.  Lately I have been noticing that nearly every day, soon after it is light, a woman comes and begins digging and hoeing in a strip of earth between two narrow roads on the other side of our courtyard. She would dig and dig and then take the weeds and throw them on the other side of the road. My curiosity got the best of me and I went outside to find out what she was up to day after day. She simply wanted to create a beautiful space for all of us to enjoy and was planting flowers in the place that had held mostly weeds. I commended her as so many people walk by there and the difference will certainly be very evident. Whatever space the Lord has placed us in, can be made beautiful as we seek to bring glory to Him. Would those around us at the office say we bring a fresh breeze of new ideas and optimism? Or would those at church say we bring encouragement by our uplifting words? Even the smallest things that we do can be like lighting a candle in a dark place. Our changed lives really speak louder than any words that we say. Jesus said in Matt. 5:16 (God’s Word), “In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your father in heaven.” When I was every young, we learned the song at church, “This Little Light of Mine.” We would hold our finger up high and sing about shining our light around our neighborhood, not letting Satan blow it out, and holding it high until Jesus comes. We all must watch that our lights don’t go dim or out but that we shine for Him. Just as most people may never know what my neighbor is doing in the early morning, they appreciate what she has done and all glory goes to the Lord.
Challenge for today: Be a bright light in your corner of the world.
Since I wrote this, I see another gal out my window doing the next strip of land on the other side of the courtyard. Maybe one’s deeds are contagious!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 21, 2020

Dear Ones
Hope you had a great weekend! We had a busy Sunday at church as Sunday School started, with coffee and treats, church service and then a celebration cake and coffee, the dedication of our new addition, and then our congregational meeting. We got home in time to see the rest of the Vikings play but was a disappointing game. Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What happens when God brings major changes to our lives? Do we welcome the new with open arms or do we resist and complain? God doesn’t ask permission, for He is sovereign and knows best what will help us grow and thrive. I was reading an article on Crossroads by Mark Roberts and he shares the parable Jesus told in Luke 5:36-38 about new wine. It seems very fitting for what is happening in our world of upheaval today. “No one pours new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the fresh wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be ruined (destroyed). But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine immediately desires new wine, for he says, The old is good or better.” So much has changed and we can find ourselves longing for the old and grieving over it. We seem comfortable with the familiar and then when change comes it is hard to give up the old. We need to acknowledge and grieve loss of the old wineskins but then we also have to be ready to welcome the new wine. That is not easy. In fact, it’s hard to give up what we have known but like our old wineskins, we must let go. When the new wine comes, it is an opportunity to receive new vision, new ways of thinking and responding. Today whole congregations must find new ways of adapting as we deal with all the restrictions. Our usual ways of relating and worshiping are changing for now and we may long to go back to the old and we grieve. But sometimes it is in the familiar that we can forget God and become rather apathetic. In these more trying times, it forces us to rely on God and set our vision beyond our own little worlds. God uses the new wineskins to help grow us and to see His power at work in and around us. So, let us listen to what God has for us next, trust Him, be open and receptive to the new wine.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to adjust your attitude and receive the new wine into the new wineskins.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy
 

Matrilineal

Recently I read an article in Mere Orthodoxy with the captivating title of “American Evangelicalism isn’t patriarchal or feminized. It’s matrilineal.” The article has got me pondering the criticism of the church being feminized. I have often written about the feminization of the church.

Matrilineal is a verb referring to behavior or characteristics that are based on kinship with the mother or the female.   Anthony Bradley maintains that the Evangelical church is neither patriarchal, nor feminized, nor do they emasculate men in order to appeal to women’s sensibilities or desires.  Evangelical churches are matrilineal.

“Matrilineal societies” notes Bradley, “are centuries old systems that organize community life so that the day-to-day activities of women are placed at the center of social thriving for successive generations.”  In these societies “the outward-facing office does not determine which gender is socially dominant…..Men may hold an office, but women control the operations of community life….women are outward-facing representatives of the community.”

As a pastor, I often said without the organization of the women and their contribution, church life would suffering greatly.  So Yes, I can definitely see where life in the church can be matrilineal.   

Not only were the women the life-givers, but they were also the life sustainers.  Mothers were revered in the community.  Look at the emphasis on mother’s day in our churches and society.  Without the mothers, much of family and youth activities would not happen. “Without women and mothers, life does not happen, ” observes Bradley. 

“In reality” Bradley maintains, “many churches are simply a complemenatrian facade living a matrilineal reality.”  That is why the “felt needs” in the church often reflect the feminine life in the church.  He might be making a valid point. 

The following observation from Bradley certainly holds true from my experience. “Matrilineal societies can exist while men are placed in outward-facing leadership roles (pastor or elder), but the community’s internal life would implode without women’s authority as mothers.  Matrilineal societies are about who does what to sustain life rather than merely looking at who hold which outward facing title or role.  Without women sustaining life, the community dies no matter who has what title in a matrilineal society.”

So what does this mean for the church?  Here is Bradley’s challenge.  [We] may want to make adjustments by reframing who does what to make life work at home, church, and school so that women are freed from the burden of sustaining the family and men move from being passive to becoming actively involved in the spaces that nurture children.”

This article does not do away with the criticism of the church as being feminized, but it does help to visualize why there is such a feminine emphasis?  I would contend one word could nicely address the questions raised by the matrilineal influence in the church.  

It is the word “nurture.”  In the amplified we read in Eph. 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke our children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; not by showing favoritism or indifference to them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

This passage challenges men to be nurturers. It is all about how men relate.  Larry Crabb calls out our “relational poverty.”  Men, it more than doing, thinking and organizing.  It’s about getting down to the level of our children and relating to them from the heart.  It is sharing our hearts with our wives.  May God give men the courage and grace to release what is deep in them, to bring life to others.

 

  

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