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.

February 4, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Hope you can enjoy some downtime to relax! The weather is warmer so we will be going outside for our walk today!! This morning I have been busy in the kitchen. I just finished making a veggie stirfry,  and a new cookie recipe which I doubt I will try again. Al loves to be the taster and also bowl-licker so will let him give me the final verdict! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Is there a disconnect between what we believe and how we live? Does our walk match our talk about the Lord? We all fail and fall short and we have so many examples in scripture of men of God who blew it many times but confessed their sin and were forgiven and used of God. We have only one life to live and we can’t do it over, but we can learn from our mistakes and failures and let Him restore us.
  It’s good to acknowledge our weaknesses and insufficiencies and rely on the Lord and not our own strength. We can never measure up on our own but He makes us new creatures in Christ and we are righteous in His sight. As the apostle Paul wrote in Eph. 2:8-9 (ESV). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works. So that no one may boast. “I am so thankful that we don’t have to try and try on our own and become discouraged when we fail again and again. But salvation is a gift that we receive by faith and then daily walk it out in our lives.
  We can trust the Lord to take care of us, and the deeper our trust is in Him, the closer it brings us to Him in intimacy and dependency. Sin is refusing to trust God and vitally connecting to Him. We need the Lord and when we try to protect ourselves, rather than rest and trust in God, we lose ourselves and become distant from Him. Yes, we go through hard times as all people, but even in our suffering we can grow through it as He draws us closer to Himself that His glory may be seen.
  Let us always be growing in our relationship to the Lord and know that we are loved without end. May the life we live today match our talk and bring Him glory.
  Challenge for today: Trust God no matter what happens to you throughout your day and let it bring you closer to Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 3, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Do keep warm! My phone says it is -18 and so glad we don’t have to go out today. I’m sure we will be walking in the underground later! I just finished  cleaning the apartment and made porkchops smoothered in apple slices. When it’s cold out I love to bake too. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We were never meant to run our own lives but to lean on the Lord and let Him direct us. I read today from Jeremiah 10:23-24 (Message) “I know, God, that mere mortals can’t run their own lives. That men and women don’t have what it takes to take charge of life, So correct us God, as you see best.” I’m sure if it were up to us, we would take the most comfortable and easy way in life but we would miss God’s best.
   When we think of the children of Israel escaping from Egypt for the Promise land, God’s route for them was much longer than they would have chosen; but God had purpose in the more difficult way. They had a slave mentality and when they saw the enemy coming after them they might have gone back to Egypt. Also, the way through the wilderness that God took them on, was preparation for the battles that they would have to face when they reached the Promise Land. But the hard way taught them to depend on the Lord, knowing they could not go in their own strength. God wanted to let them know that He was with them on this long journey, so He gave them a pillar of cloud by day to lead them and a pillar of fire at night to give them light. When they looked up, it must have soothed their fears to know they were not in this on their own.
    God gives us assurance that He is with as for He gave us His word and the Holy Spirit. It may seem like He is taking us through the wilderness, the longest and most difficult way also; but we can rest assured that He has things to teach us through it all. I know I thought it took God so long to move us when we were in a difficult circumstance, and I would have preferred moving on much sooner. But yes, God taught us things we may not have learned otherwise and we also found that He is enough. No matter how tough the terrain is, He will guide us through as we depend on Him. 
   Challenge for today: Ask God for a teachable spirit when going through hard times.

 

January 2, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping toasty warm on these cold days and it is so good to see the sun. This morning Al went to Men’s group and I did food prep, washing etc. and went downstairs for donuts and coffee with a few others. This afternoon we have Bible Study here and then I suspect we will walk inside.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Do we live our daily lives our way or God’s way? Every day we have a choice if we will let God lead us or if we will manipulate to go our own way. It works well when we are receptive to His plan and His plan becomes our plan, and we follow as He leads.
   I am reading Ann Voskamp’s book, Waymaker, and she writes things in such a way that I am left to ponder her comments for some time. She said, “Prayer is moving us to do things God’s way on earth—not moving heaven to do things our way.” Like we pray so often in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” do we really mean it?
  God is wanting a relationship and communion with us but maybe we would rather have clarity to know what God is going to do next. Ann asks us why God should give us a road map of what He is going to do when He can give Himself. We need Him!
    The Lord desires that we be receptive and attentive and to wait for His timing, rather than pushing our own agenda. Perhaps we aren’t so good about waiting but Ann says, “Waiting is letting go to let something grow. The waiting need not destroy the soul but grow the soul. Waiting isn’t loss; it’s enlarging.” Our hearts can actually expand as we hold onto what God has for us, if we are willing to wait as grace grows within.
  The bottom line is that we don’t need to know all the answers but we need to trust Him. As Ann said, “Prayer isn’t giving God information to act upon but God giving intimacy to rest in.” We can always be at peace when we remember that He is holding onto us and will show us the way. As David said in Psalm 16:8 (NRSV) “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for His plan for you today and stick with His, not yours!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

February 1, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day. The house is filled with aroma as I just made choc Oh Henry Bars. Soon I am going to my exercise class, crafts, and maybe shopping to spend my Kohl dollars! Tonight is Bible Study at church. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The alarm rings, and it’s time to get up to the start of a new day. But how we begin our day can reflect on how the rest of our day will unfold. If we are selfishly living for ourselves our day can get to be toilsome; but when we put Jesus first, others second and ourselves third, our day will contain deep peace.
  Our friend David has been a caregiver to his wife who has had Alzheimer’s for 7 years and in the late stage now; he has put the Lord first and then his wife before himself. God has given him the avenue of writing poetry to help him find his way through this maze of changes. I want to share this short prayer poem he just wrote that we can also identify with when we go hard situations in our day. Putting Jesus first and ourselves last will move us to a better place.
              POEM: FLICKERING LIGHT
“As a caregiver, God help me to give more light than I take.
God, show me how to mend more than I break.
The candle of one I love is flickering like a river caught in a prolonged drought. 
I know God; only you determine when her candle goes out.
 
God, sometimes I wonder where you have been.
It seems like you show up like a long-lost friend.
Forgive me for doubting that your love is like a never-ending fountain. 
I have been climbing for too long the rough side of the mountain.”
 
 David goes on to mention that he feels that Alzheimer’s is like a hurricane and God has placed him in the eye of the storm where it is calm and beautiful. That can only happen when God is first, others are second and we are third. Let us entrust each day to Him!
Challenge for today: Give God first place each day, and open your heart to the blessings He will rain down on you!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 31, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine! This week the question is: When have you received a perfect gift that you sensed God prompted someone to give you to let you know He sees where you are at and loves you? Maybe it was an encouraging card to lift your spirit and give hope, or a perfect job offer that you didn’t know existed, or maybe an offer to relieve you from caregiving for the afternoon when you wondered if you could go on etc.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  How bright is our light shining for the Lord? Do others observe that we are His children and have the family likeness? One scripture that I learned as a child in Sunday School was Matt. 5:16 and will probably always be remembered as we recited it each Sunday. I will use the Message translation today, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Our lives are to be lived for Him and not for ourselves and our love for Him can be expressed in numerous ways.
   One way is to be generous person that loves to share with others; not just material things, but faith and love and good deeds. I read today King Solomon’s words in Prov 22:9, “Whoever is generous will be blessed because he has shared his food with the poor.” It is exciting when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and He tells us to do something, which later turns out to be exactly what was needed at that moment.
   Maybe we are shopping and we are led to buy something for someone who is going through a hard time. I know a gal that recently went shopping and was led to buy a lovely top for a person new to Northern Living. The new gal has her own health issues and her son is very sick. We pray for her each day but maybe the Lord just wanted her to know He sees her and wants to bless her and encourage her.
   Others may not want to hear about our faith journey but they may recognize a deed done in His name and want to know our Father who is Love.  Let us not dismiss thoughts that come to us throughout our day for if the Holy Spirit is prompting us, let us follow His leading. May our lights not go dim by ignoring the needs of others but shine bright that the glory may go to Him.
  Challenge for today: Be open and willing to help meet the needs of others as led by the Spirit. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

  

Feminine Mystique

Elle Purnell recently wrote an interesting article in The Federalist about an earlier interview Emily Blunt had with The Telegraph. Emily may be best known for her lead role in Mary Poppins Returns, but as a Hollywood star, she often plays “tough girl” roles.  In the recently released Western miniseries The English, however, she does not play such a role. According to Blunt, “It’s the worst thing ever when you open a script and read the words: ‘strong female lead.'”   

Discussing her role in The English, Blunt captured some of the magic of her character as well as some of the magical attributes of womanhood. “I love a character with a secret,” she said. “And I love Cornelia’s buoyancy, her hopefulness, her guilelessness.”  Blunt maintains that strong female lead roles are “written as incredibly stoic, you spend the whole time acting tough and saying tough things. Cornelia is more surprising than that. She’s innocent without being naïve and that makes her a force to be reckoned with.”

Blunt has critiqued roles that reduce women to caricatures of men in the past.  In a 2015 Vanity Fair interview, she said, “I get [told] a lot, ‘You play a lot of tough female roles,’ but I don’t really see them as tough. I think there are plenty of strong women out there and I don’t think they can be compartmentalized as being one thing. ‘You’re tough.’ What, because I have a gun?”

Purnell then comments, “But there’s nothing empowering about burying a female character’s natural strengths under a tough-dude facade. What is empowering is embracing those natural qualities.” Women have a secret. It’s their “feminine mystique.” Purnell describes mystique as “a fascinating aura of mystery, awe, and power surrounding someone or something.”  Purnell closes her article with these words: “[Mystique is] the complex, beautiful, powerful, gentle, unyielding nature that we often try to capture with the world ‘femininity.’ And men spend their whole lives trying to figure it out.”

This hearkens to I Peter 3:4-5: “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” The beauty from within speaks to mystique.  While men are more direct, task-oriented, and analytical, the hearts and minds of women are more beautifully intricate.  The strength of women doesn’t mimic that of men, but rather has its own character.  Those differences between the sexes are designed to complement each other. 

My wife, Judy, is “a strong woman.” She continues to challenge me with her Christian character and lifestyle.  She is the most consistent believer I know. I say to her daily, “Thank you for putting up with me for all these years.” Without her I would not be the man I am today. She has believed in me, supported me, and encouraged me over 57 years of marriage, while accepting my leadership in our marriage.  I know firsthand the mystery of a strong inner spirit that expresses itself in a feminine Christian witness.  Judy is “a complete, natural woman” who has learned to live with a “character” like me. 

Since my wife exemplifies inner beauty and feminine mystique, I do not need to be convinced of the influence and strength that women can express in a feminine manner.  They have a “secret.”  Men, my advice is to not try and figure it out. Rather, learn to appreciate it, while enhancing your wife’s ability to express her unique Christian strength.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and keeping warm.. We have been walking inside lately because of the cold temperatures. Exciting game last night as Kansas State won in the last seconds and we plan to be watching the game at Kurt’s in Kansas! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How well do we love… not just love God but others? I ask myself that question often as I want to grow in love for the Lord and for those God puts into my life. But if you are like me, I feel deficient often times and find myself asking God to increase His love in me for others.
  Recently I read what Mark Roberts from Fuller Seminary had to say about the apostle Paul when he wrote about his concern for the Thessalonian Christians. Paul said in I Thess. 3:13 (NRSV), “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.” He tells them they have been taught by God to love others but do to this more and more.
  Love is not only a feeling but an action and how does that play out in our daily lives? It means that we do what is best for others, even when it is costly to us. Showing love is not always convenient but as the Holy Spirit prompts us to express love to others, we need to follow His leading. We often do not realize what a difference a kind word can make to someone who is lonely, or a hot meal brought to a struggling family, or providing small jobs for someone without work etc. It is important to daily ask the Lord what He would have us do to express His love to others and then follow through. We can start right at home!
  Roberts writes that we can learn more about loving from the examples we observe of others. When we see love modeled, it makes an impression on us and can prompt us to be more loving. I will not forget the mom who impressed me as she cared for her special needs daughter. Our kids were young and we were at the beach in Babbitt and nearby was a girl who was acting inappropriately. Her mom responded with so much love and calmed her with caring and kindness. She was not embarrassed by her behavior but simply showed love. I can remember that as if it was yesterday for it was love in action.
  Love is not just politeness and doing kind things, but it is a matter of the heart. The Lord wants us to express His love in and through us as we are willing to lay aside ourselves. Let us increase and abound in love, as Paul encourages the Christians in Thessalonica.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord, who you would express His love to and do it in His way?
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

January 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
 
Hope you are enjoying the weekend even though it is very cold here. We may be walking in the underground again! Emoji The birthday party here at Northern Lakes was well attended yesterday and the prize went to someone who shared how she was born in the middle of a snow storm that lasted 8 days! 
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 
 How bright is our light shining for the Lord? Do others observe that we are His children and have the family likeness? One scripture that I learned as a child in Sunday School was Matt. 5:16 and will probably always be remembered as we recited it each Sunday. I will use the Message translation today, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Our lives are to be lived for Him and not for ourselves and our love for Him can be expressed in numerous ways.
 
One way is to be generous person that loves to share with others; not just material things, but faith and love and good deeds. I read today King Solomon’s words in Prov 22:9, “Whoever is generous will be blessed because he has shared his food with the poor.” It is exciting when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and He tells us to do something, which later turns out to be exactly what was needed at that moment.
 
Maybe we are shopping and we are led to buy something for someone who is going through a hard time. I know a gal that recently went shopping and was led to buy a lovely top for a new person here where we live. The new gal has her own health issues and plus her son is very sick. We pray for her each day but maybe the Lord just wanted her to know He sees her and wants to bless her and encourage her. She expressed her joy at the gift and that it was in her favorite color and her exact size. Of course, He knew!
 
Others may not want to hear about our faith journey but they may recognize a deed done in His name and want to know our Father who is Love.  Let us not dismiss thoughts that come to us throughout our day for if the Holy Spirit is prompting us, let us follow His leading. May our lights not go dim by ignoring the needs of others but shine bright that the glory may go to Him.
 
Challenge for today: Be open and willing to help meet the needs of others as led by the Spirit.
 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers.
 
Love,
Judy

January 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! We start our weekend here with the January Birthday party. Soon Al and I will go to Costco and get the cake and set up for the party. We have 18 with birthdays this month. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We often need reminders of how important it is to arm ourselves with spiritual weapons. We are in a spiritual war and when we fight with our carnal weapons we will lose; but God has given us an arsenal of spiritual weapons that are mighty through God that can defeat our enemy. Kim Potter, a writer who puts out a teaching every day shares the importance of our spiritual weapons, which the enemy would want us to ignore.
   The first one she mentions is the Word of God which is both an offensive and defensive weapon and Jesus often used it to defeat Satan. The Word is living and powerful sharp and active and we should not neglect it. 
   We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Trinity and the One who gives us power to stand, to witness, and to overcome.
   Prayer is also very important and as it says in I John 5:14-15 that fervent prayers of a righteous person avails much. I often marvel at how God answers when I bring my concerns first to Him. When we pray prayers of agreement with others we will find even greater power is unleashed. We can also pray in the spirit, especially when we don’t know how to pray in particular situations.
  There is great power in the name of Jesus and Al always told our kids that they just speak the name of Jesus when they are in situations of danger. We are told to ask in His powerful name and He will do it.
  The blood of Jesus is an important weapon for His blood not only cleanses us but sets us free and defeats the enemy. If I feel harassed by the enemy I sing the song, “Oh the blood of Jesus”, over and over and it is not long before my spirit is lifted.
  We are also given protection by angels and I believe my dad had such an encounter where his life was spared when hit by a car. I love to think of angels around us that keep us from unseen dangers.
  We also have the spiritual weapon of praise and the enemy hates that one. Praise seems to silence him and I love to sing praises out loud if I am alone in the car etc. I can just feel my spirit lifted and the enemy takes to flight.
   Kim mentions that we have the armor of God as our protection and I love to pray that at the beginning of very day for our whole family. We need every piece of armor as we go out into the world.
    Let us not feel helpless when faced by the enemy but use our arsenal of powerful weapons and stand strong in His name.
Challenge for today. Read Ephesians 6:13-15 and put on the whole armor of God.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are enjoying this day. It is nice and sunny but cold and I have a feeling we will walk in the underground today. Just had a maple donut and coffee!Emoji Friends are coming to look at our apt complex shortly as they  are interested for the future. This afternoon is Bible Study and haircuts. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Al and I love the quiet and he compares our apt to a monastery as even our T.V. Is not turned on until the evening news. We start our mornings with prayer together and then he goes to his study for time with the Lord and I go to my desk in our bedroom where we each meditate and write. But for sometime we have had competition for our quiet life as our refrigerator has been belting out a great deal of noise….not the usual hum but sounds that made us think it was about to die! We told the maintenance man but we had to catch him while the noise was at its height. He then realized our frig had a problem. Two days later a repair man came and installed a new part and put insulation around it so now the frig purrs instead. It is wonderful music to our ears, rather than the loud groaning sounds and makes life a lot more pleasant.
   I thought of the noise of the world that competes for our quiet time with the Lord. It may start with something small that we desire but is not the will of God, and pretty soon it consumes more of our time and thinking. It becomes hard to focus on the Lord and we can feel divided in our loyalty to Him.  It’s good to nip those things at the onset before it gets a hold. Al would try to move the frig over a few inches or rearrange the food in the freezer but to no avail. Just like the hum of the frig, we live in the world and can’t block out everything, but we don’t have to let it rob us of our peace. We could have experienced tranquility and a calmness before if we would have gotten help sooner. Let us not try to get so close and wrapped up to worldly things and try to serve the Lord at the same time. Jesus said in Matt. 6:24 (ESV), “ No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” When we choose to serve the Lord and to allow Him to be the center of our lives, it makes for peace and quiet rest.
  Challenge for today: Rid yourself of things that take your attention off the Lord.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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