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.

May 22, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine! We will soon be leaving Coralville, Iowa today and heading home. We were glad to get here yesterday as there were strong winds and tornado warnings. I had a wonderful swim in the indoor/outdoor pool and some time to retreat. Thank you for your prayers for our time away.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Why are we surprised when difficulties arises when we are serving the Lord?  The first question that usually comes to my mind is, what am I doing wrong to cause this trouble? But when we encounter opposition, it may well be, not that we goofed up, but rather the enemy sees the progress being made for God’s kingdom and wants to sabotage it. In fact, we can expect it. Jesus told us it would happen, and we would be attacked and hated for His sake but also reminds us of His power to overcome. In John 16:33 He said, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

I am reading in the book of Ezra, how Zerubbabel led over 42,000 Israelites back to their land after being exiled in Babylon for 70 years. It was God’s doing that the Persian King Cyrus, gave volunteers permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. They no more got started with the foundation laid and the altar built and sacrifices offered, when they had to face opposition that hindered the building for over 16 years. Zerubbabel was discouraged and the people fearful; but finally, when their hearts received encouragement by words from the prophets and leaders and reading of the scriptures, they were able to finish the temple and worship there again.

We will have those that oppose us and try to sidetrack us from doing God’s will and we may get discouraged. We should not be surprised or feel hopeless, but rather seek God’s help and move ahead. God may use others to come along side of us, and encourage us and pray for us so that we can complete the work given to us. Let us not be slowed down or to give up but to place everything in God’s hands and go in His power, not ours.

Challenge for today: When doing God’s will, don’t weaken by words from the opposition, but feed on God’s word and get prayer to complete God’s task through you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 21, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a beautiful day! We are in Louisville after traveling yesterday from 3:30 a.m to ending up at the Drury in time for a swim and supper. We went out of our way to visit Gethemani Monastery bookstore which made Al happy. Tonight we hope to get to be staying in Iowa and avoid the storms too!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
When Al and I go on a long trip, after having a wonderful time with family and friends, we begin to have a desire to head homeward. Even though we may have explored new places, renewed time with our loved ones, we have a homing instinct.

Likewise, Mark Mc Minn, a Professor of Psychology, writes about longing for home as a spiritual metaphor for a yearning for a spiritual center, and a deeper relationship with God. I read his book, Finding Our Way Home, and he likens it to us being a hitchhiker who leaves home in search for something deeper or exciting, or possibly the discovery of our true self. It would involve us to reflect on our past and make connections with the present and to know more fully God’s secure love. It is much like the Prodigal son, who left home and wandered about and squandered everything. He finally realized all that he had at home, and he had a desire to return; to his surprise he was welcomed royally and restored as his Father’s son..

For all of us, going home takes courage for we have to deal with our pain, as well as the joys of the past. It could mean that we have to make amends, forgive, or give up our false selves in order to return to the Father. However, in giving over our sad happenings that make us blind to God’s love, they can instead become a source of wisdom and strength in our lives.

God puts within each of us a yearning for Him, who is our spiritual home. He welcomes us home to a place of love and peace. If not for God, we would probably all look for love in the wrong places. Our ultimate home is in heaven, and it is a place of secure love for we can rest in the arms of our loving Father.

Challenge for today:  Ask the Lord to help you respond to a deeper longing for Home.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
Thank you for prayers for our travels.

May 20, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. We have enjoyed a wonderful time with our son’s family. and feel spoiled with the delicious meals, movies, many games, fun times, and also worshiping at their church and eating at a buffet. I am sending my devotional for Monday now as we plan to get up very early tomorrow to begin our trip homeward. We would appreciate prayers for our safety and wellness as we travel many miles again.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I wonder if we truly know how much we need the Lord every day; not just when we are weighed down with problems, like facing health issues or difficult circumstances, but in our everyday life. We need the Lord all the time for we were never meant to handle things alone. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) Nada!

When things are going along smoothly in our lives, we may think we can do very well on our own. But can we? Are we aware that the enemy is waiting to tempt us to make unwise decisions, to take the easy way out, to neglect helping others, to bear a grudge or react in anger. We have no idea what each day will hold and our pride says we can do just fine solo. But we sure can mess up royally and quickly when we do it without His help. Besides and more importantly, the Lord wants to share our day with Him, open our hearts to Him and do everything with Him, which then makes our every activity spiritual.

 

  When I was praying what to write, the words to an old hymn came to mind that you most likely know by Anne Sherwood Hawks in 1872. She wrote it when she was away from home but filled with the sense of God’s nearness. Years later the song again spoke to her in her sorrow of her husband’s death at age 55. But both in our joys and in our sorrows. may it be the need of all of us, that every moment of our day we need the Lord. A couple verses she wrote:

“I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord. / No tender voice like thine, can peace afford. I need Thee, Oh I need Thee! Every hour I need Thee! / Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee!
  I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain. Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. / I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee! Every hour I need Thee! / O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee!”

May we invite Him into each day and enjoy every hour and every minute with Him.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you any area of your life that you have not given over to Him and release to Him in faith.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

God is Going to Invade

The title above comes from a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis in The StreamGod is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural  universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?”

“For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature.  It will be too late then to choose your side.  There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up.  That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen; whether we realized it before or not.  Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.  God is holding back to give us that chance.  It will not last forever.  We must take it or leave it.”  

When I read this quote I was reminded of the times in scripture when God is called a warrior.  In Exodus 15:3, after crossing the Red Sea, the people of Israel sang, “The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name.”  Before the people  prepared to cross, Moses had told them, “Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14).  In Psalm 24, the psalmist asks, “Who is this King of glory?”  The answer: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8).

In Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people how the Lord fought for them and carried them.  “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness.  There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deut. 1:29-31). In Zephaniah, the people sang of God’s victory: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves (Zeph. 3:17).  

We need to pray passionately for God to arise and do battle for us.   Psalm 78:65 declares, “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine.” We could now be experiencing the anger of God as a warrior.  The prophet Isaiah describes Jerusalem drunk from the cup of God wrath (Is. 51:21-23).  She staggers through the streets and falls to the ground in a drunken stupor (vv. 17-19).  But then God changes direction, as he removes the cup from her hand and forces her enemies to drink from it (vv. 21-23).

We can pray with the psalmist, “Arise, Lord, in you anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.  Awake, my God decree justice” (Ps. 7:4).  God declared in Isaiah 63:5-6, “I am amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.  So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm and my wrath sustained me.  I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.”

Remember: “If God is for us, who can be against us”  (Rom. 8:31). 

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! We are enjoying this time so much at Mark’s playing games, watching movies, going out for a treat, listening to the grandsons give reports they gave for school, acting out Bible stories, yummy meals etc. Rain is expected today but we won’t run out of indoor games to play.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Yesterday I opened up my computer to find out a gal from our former congregation suddenly died at only 54 years of age leaving behind a husband and 3 children. I stopped to pray for her family and thought of what I read while traveling in the car; it was all about how we should prepare to die and what can make us more ready when our time comes. Sometimes it comes so unexpectedly, and other times death lingers and there is a longing to go home.

Al and I are not getting younger and in our Senior apartment complex, we have experienced seeing friends die and some who have to go to Assisted Living. We want to live to our last days being prepared to leave this world for what the Lord has waiting for us. That means we don’t withdraw from life but enter into each day experiencing it fully. I know I can get caught up in the routine of things and miss smelling the roses about me. Also, so importantly, is that my heart would be continually stretched to love in a deeper way all those the Lord brings into my life. We have such a variety of people where we live from all walks of life and when our hearts are open, we can love and embrace each one with His love. Every person has something to give to us, and express something of God’s creative love that He doesn’t want us to miss. When we have a narrow view, we miss out.

While reading of John Powell in his book, Unconditional Love, a young twenty-four year old man who is dying comes to see Powell to tell him what he learned in his class that is helping him to die easier. “There are only two potential tragedies in life and dying young isn’t one of them. These are the two tragedies: If you go through life and don’t love and if you go through life and don’t tell those whom you love that you love them.” His words helped this young man tell his family and friends how much he loves them and how much they mean to him.

For all of us, let not death catch us unaware but love the Lord deeply and the others He puts in our lives and express it every opportunity we have.

Challenge for today: Today tell someone who is close to you how much them mean to you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 17, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a sunny day filled with blessings. Thank you for prayers as we arrived safely to Mark’s in N.C. and are enjoying our time with family. Lots of fun, food, games and more games (I beat them all at Horse–that’s because I had brothers!) and a good movie etc.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How many of us are faithful? God is faithful but are we found faithful?  Jesus was faithful even to the point of death, but would He be able to call us faithful? The servant who had been given 5 talents earned 5 more and the Master said in Matt. 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” The Lord was pleased with his servant and rewarded him for his faithful work.

Today the Lord is looking for faithful servants who do what He says and are faithful to the commitments we have made to Him, to our families, to our church, to our work etc. Every time we step up to the plate for what know we know we should be doing we find fulness of love and life. But if we walk away from what we know we are to be doing, we feel less and miss His words of commendation and what He may be trying to teach us.

When we commit to something at church, can others expect that we will finish the task? Or if we promise our kids to go somewhere with them, can they rest assured we will carry through? How about at work? Do we do what the boss says and do it to the best of our ability or do we slough off and do the bare minimum. God wants faithful servants who do their best. I am often reminded that the Lord sees our very motives and if we do things with a bad attitude, it rather forfeits the work we are doing.

Wouldn’t we all love to hear His words on judgement day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you not to betray your commitments but to do them from a willing and loving heart.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 16, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a wonderful day! Today is the day we plan to get to Mark’s and we will be leaving Knoxville to go to Statesville, N.C. So excited!  I had another great swim and time to read and write at the hotel yesterday.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
On our trip I read another book, a small remarkable book called Domestic Monastery, and I was so intrigued by the author’s comments as I have had some similar thoughts. I have always considered the home as the most important place for children to be introduced to the Lord, to grow in His love and begin to discover what the Lord may be calling them to do. That makes our homes a very special place, almost like a monastery.
  The author’s definition of a monastery is “a place set apart for people to give their lives over completely to the love of God…It is also a place to learn the value of powerlessness and a place to learn that time is not ours but God’s” The monk has a very disciplined life of prayer and when the monastery bell sounds, he is to stop that moment and go on to what is next on their schedule. It could be for prayer, or time to study, go to a service or even work, but he stops and goes on to the next task when he hears the bell. He is obedient and may not always be what he has in mind to do but he obeys.  It sounds a bit like a mother with small children. She has in mind what she would like to accomplish during the day but so often children interrupt the plans, as they need to be fed, bathed, wounds bandaged, scabbles settled etc. In many ways she her life is interrupted by her constant contact with her children and meeting their needs. Each parent has to put aside their own needs so much of the time and it becomes a time to learn empathy and unselfishness, The parent’s needs become secondary and there is a lot of dying to self.
   Carl Carretto, spent many years in the Sahara Desert alone praying but he shared that his mother who spent 30 years raising children was much more unselfish and contemplative than he was. Raising children is a perfect setting if we want to live a contemplative life for our time is not our own but second place. If you are a parent reading this, raising children can be a powerful means to holiness and maturity for it helps break our continual bent towards selfishness. Our hearts get stretched of self-love to be more like God’s love. Let us let our homes be a school of love!
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you let go of self-gratification so that your heart may be more open to love.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

May 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
Greetings from Lexington, KY and we arrived here after a full day of travel in the rain and lots of traffic. Our usual place to stay was filled up and so we kept traveling. I had a wonderful swim and today we will be going to Knoxville and Thursday to Statesville, N.C. So excited.
Devotions from Judy’s heart,
I just finished reading the new book out by my cousin’s daughter-in-law, Kristin Salvevold, “A Quiet Witness”. It was so good that I read the whole 346-page book in one day, as we traveled. It taught me much of how the Lord can navigate His children through the most difficult circumstances in life and shower them with His goodness, binding them together as a family in God’s love. I can’t even imagine the painful circumstances this family endured as Kristin and her husband Chris first lost one baby by a miscarriage, and then had 8 children; one was a special needs daughter, Britlyn, who had a rare condition of a deletion in her tenth chromosome which hindered her from growing as other children and required surgeries and lots of therapy.
 The latest 8th child that was rather a surprise, was Jensyn with an even rarer condition that only a few in the world have. It is called Trisomy 5p which resulted with many multiple problems that required constant care, much of it being in the hospital ICU. But she was loved so much by her parents and all her siblings that I think they would all say she was a gift to them and helped each of them to cling to the Lord in deeper ways than they ever would have, without caring for her. Often mom or dad had to miss birthdays or games of her sibling because she was in need of emergency care. Since Chris is a pastor, their church stepped up to help often and prayed much. Miracles were evidenced when they prayed, and Jensyn would suddenly get better. Jensyn was a silent witness as she never learned to talk or walk but communicated God’s love in other ways.
The family was all able to be with Jensyn when she was near her homecoming and through tears, they each sat at her bedside and cradled her and said their goodbyes. They sang and worshiped together and before her last moment they sang Chris Tomlin’s song, as the words became very real, “I will rise when He calls my name; No more sorrow, no more pain.”

Although she lived only 6 ½ years she touched many hearts, even of the doctors and nurses. There were 550 at her funeral, and Al and I were among them and very touched. It was a funeral we won’t forget as Jensyn’s siblings were the worship team and lifted their hands and hearts in praise to the Lord for His gift to them. Jensyn wasn’t a burden but God’s gift of love.

 

Each person has to deal with pain and death, and it isn’t the same for everyone. Jensyn’s siblings have written letters to her, and they are grateful for what they have learned through her. One said she taught her to how to love without expectation of return. Another felt she learned that she couldn’t rely on her own strength, but the Lord’s. Her brother writes that she brought the family close and now they await being reunited someday.

Challenge for today: Be present to others going through grief and allow them to grieve their way and hold them up in prayer.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
Greetings from Lexington, KY and we arrived here after a full day of travel in the rain and lots of traffic. Our usual place to stay was filled up and so we kept traveling. I had a wonderful swim and today we will be going to Knoxville and Thursday to Statesville, N.C. So excited.
Devotions from Judy’s heart,
I just finished reading the new book out by my cousin’s daughter-in-law, Kristin Salvevold, “A Quiet Witness”. It was so good that I read the whole 346-page book in one day, as we traveled. It taught me much of how the Lord can navigate His children through the most difficult circumstances in life and shower them with His goodness, binding them together as a family in God’s love. I can’t even imagine the painful circumstances this family endured as Kristin and her husband Chris first lost one baby by a miscarriage, and then had 8 children; one was a special needs daughter, Britlyn, who had a rare condition of a deletion in her tenth chromosome which hindered her from growing as other children and required surgeries and lots of therapy.
 The latest 8th child that was rather a surprise, was Jensyn with an even rarer condition that only a few in the world have. It is called Trisomy 5p which resulted with many multiple problems that required constant care, much of it being in the hospital ICU. But she was loved so much by her parents and all her siblings that I think they would all say she was a gift to them and helped each of them to cling to the Lord in deeper ways than they ever would have, without caring for her. Often mom or dad had to miss birthdays or games of her sibling because she was in need of emergency care. Since Chris is a pastor, their church stepped up to help often and prayed much. Miracles were evidenced when they prayed, and Jensyn would suddenly get better. Jensyn was a silent witness as she never learned to talk or walk but communicated God’s love in other ways.
The family was all able to be with Jensyn when she was near her homecoming and through tears, they each sat at her bedside and cradled her and said their goodbyes. They sang and worshiped together and before her last moment they sang Chris Tomlin’s song, as the words became very real, “I will rise when He calls my name; No more sorrow, no more pain.”

Although she lived only 6 ½ years she touched many hearts, even of the doctors and nurses. There were 550 at her funeral, and Al and I were among them and very touched. It was a funeral we won’t forget as Jensyn’s siblings were the worship team and lifted their hands and hearts in praise to the Lord for His gift to them. Jensyn wasn’t a burden but God’s gift of love.

 

Each person has to deal with pain and death, and it isn’t the same for everyone. Jensyn’s siblings have written letters to her, and they are grateful for what they have learned through her. One said she taught her to how to love without expectation of return. Another felt she learned that she couldn’t rely on her own strength, but the Lord’s. Her brother writes that she brought the family close and now they await being reunited someday.

Challenge for today: Be present to others going through grief and allow them to grieve their way and hold them up in prayer.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 14, 2024

Devotions from Judy’s heart
Good Morning from Coralville, IO! We traveled here yesterday and went to a Christian bookstore and then to the Drury for a nice swim, supper and soon breakfast before taking off on our way to N.C. to see Mark’s family. Thank you for prayers and may you have a good day!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How fruitful are we? Do we bless others with what we have been given or do we keep it all to ourselves. We are meant to bear fruit and to give out to others rather than centered on self. It is much like being a conduit, that the Lord can pour his love into us and then let it flow through us to touch the lives of others. I’m sure we have all met people that seem to be continually thinking of others and find many ways to bless them. What they receive, they delight to share. It is good for our souls to not hoard but freely give out.

 Those that keep everything for themselves get all bound up. I have been in a couple houses where there were piles of piles of stuff and so much so, that there was barely a space to find a path to walk from one room to another. How much more would they have been blessed if they gave some away and had space to enjoy what they could see and use. We can’t take it with us, so why not just enjoy the One who gave us everything and wants to spend eternity with us.

  Recently at Bible study a gal shared how her dad did not know the Lord and didn’t want her to even speak about Him. At the end of his life when he was dying, she sat by his bed and told her dad that his life was soon over and he couldn’t take any of the earthly things with him. Even though he couldn’t verbally respond any more she told him if he heard her voice to squeeze her hand. Then she preceded to tell him the way to know the Lord and at the very end of his life he came to faith.

  As Paul prayed in Col. 1:9-10, “For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.”
Let us be fruit bearers and strengthened so we may share and bless others.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
Challenge for today: Use the opportunities God sends to you to bear fruit for His kingdom.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

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