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 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.

 

  

September 19, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend and the beautiful fall days. I made zucchini salmon patties from the last zucchinis from Ann’s garden. Emoji We have loved all the fresh produce from her two gardens. Kurt will be stopping by shortly on his way to the cabin for a few days. Tomorrow we will be dedicating our new addition to the church and starting S.S. and having coffee and fellowship time together. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
If you are reading this devotional you are living somewhere between your birth and your death and what does your life show for the years you have already put in? I continue to read Larry Crabb’s book, “Waiting for Heaven” and he asks questions that get me to thinking more deeply of why we are here, and what should we be about as we wait for either our death or the Lord’s Second coming, if that comes first.  We are meant to live for the praise of His glory but how do we do that in this corrupted world that tries to deny that God should have any say in our lives? The only way is to open our hearts to receive His love and then let His love pour out to others and reveal His very essence.  Our reward is coming one day, but in the meantime, we are to encourage one another as we journey home and to live well, and love well; as we are told in Hebrews !0:24 (ESV), “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” As we actively wait for our Homecoming, we are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus and to use every opportunity to share Him with others. Crabb emphasizes that we wait for what is ahead but we don’t demand everything to be good and comfy here and now. We are to enjoy God’s blessings today, but whether we have trials or blessings we can still live well today. Crabb himself, is going through chemo and fighting leukemia, and although he would like life to be easier, it is more important how he relates to others with God’s love. Anything that carries us away from God between our birth and our death is an idol; that can be even the good things that we do to make life fair and better for others. If it becomes our priority rather than our relationship with the Lord, it is an idol. Our real need is for God, and one day He will make things right and fair and good; but we live in the now and may we live well, letting Him form our hearts as we wait for all He has stored up for all eternity.
Challenge for today: Live well in God’s love and care, and share Him with others every chance you get.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 18, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Enjoy these Fall days before the weather gets cold. This morning I was busy in the kitchen and fixed porkchops smothered in apples and onions, roasted Brussel sprouts, and roasted sweet potato roasted coins etc. I brought some choc covered raspberries downstairs and always get a hearty welcome! Emoji  Tomorrow Kurt is coming through on his way to the cabin.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is time to be alert and wake up as a church and prepare for what is ahead. Only the Lord knows what that is, but we are warned not to be asleep. Recently on Facebook, they had several wives who did a little trick on their husbands and all got the same response. Each of them played the music that announces that NFL Monday Night Football is coming on which is sweet music to most men. One husband was dozing on the couch and when his wife started playing the music he immediately woke up and went into the family room thinking the game was starting. Another man was upstairs and as soon as he heard the familiar music came bounding down the stairs and ran into the TV room, only to find the game was not on yet. If he would have looked at the time, he would have known.  I laughed out loud when I saw his reaction and he knew his wife pulled a fast one on him. But if we think of it in a spiritual light, it is very sobering for the enemy has been duping us and lulling us to sleep. It says in Matt.13: 25 (God’s Word). “But while people were asleep, his enemy planted weeds in the wheat field and went away.” Of course, the enemy tells us we have plenty of time to get ready for what is ahead or even to know the Lord, and the church has been believing the lie as well. Just like the husbands who were snoozing, the church has been coasting along and not using the time wisely. The Apostle Paul warns us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night and says in I Thess. 5:6, “Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober.” Taylor who you have prayed for in the past, and her mom are becoming involved in planting a new church in the Omaha area to reach the lost. When we talked to Taylor over Labor Day weekend, she was so excited for what God was doing. On their first in person service Sunday, over 300 showed up and they are excited and focused to reach out into the community to bring others to the Lord. Let us not be asleep and think we have all the time in the world. Instead let us use each opportunity the Lord puts before us every day to share Him with others.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to use you to point others to Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
If you didn’t get your devotional this past week go to www.canaansrest.org/whispers

September 17,2020

Dear  Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. Only 36 this morning but sunny and warming up now. I got an egg dish made and shopped at Aldi’s and have an eye appointment this afternoon and Women’s group tonight. In between I am reading a book that you may get some of my gleanings in the future. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What are we to be learning during this time of isolation and how do we respond? I was reading on Words of Life an article by Susie Larson about “A Future and a Hope.” She said how easy it is when we are in adverse circumstances to respond by shrinking back and hunkering down. But our self-preservation often leaves faith out. Her example was Jeremiah’s word he gave to God’s people who were in exile in Babylon. He sent a letter to them and told them to build houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat the fruit of them, marry and have children, and not to be diminished. He said in Jer. 29:11 (Amplified), “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for your welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” In the future, in due time, God would rescue them and restore them so they were not just to give up.  Perhaps that applies to us in some ways now as we are to be people of faith and to rise above our present circumstances. No, we can’t do so many of the things we did in the past because of rules and distancing but we can grow in our faith. In fact, as our old way of life falls apart, we discover what is truly important and what sustains us. Some of the things we thought were so imperative we find we must let go of. We may actually have more time to seek the Lord as there are so many things canceled and less events to attend. Every day we are given an opportunity to discover the new things the Lord has waiting for us, a chance to grow deeper, a time to thrive and rise above our circumstances. We can learn to trust God in bigger ways and envision the new that He has planned for our future. No, let us not hide as we wait for the virus to disappear, but to use this time to be strengthened in our faith and to grow closer to Him.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how He would have you spend this time of isolation and view it as a gift to grow in your faith.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 16, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. I was on the phone all morning before going to my exercise class. Emoji Still working out things because of my credit card getting used by someone.  Burr it is only 59 out but of course in a month or so that will seem good. Sorry for all those who are dealing with the smoky air from the fires. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Recently I was reading on Crosswalk.com the true stories behind the hymns we sing and so many were written during stormy times of struggle and heartache. It’s in those times of desperation that we give up our control and reach out to the One who is always there waiting for us to lean on Him. One hymn that particularly struck me was written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss in 1876, called, It Is Well With My Soul. Only the Lord could give him words of faith and comfort in his time of intense pain. He wrote it after the death of his four-year-old son and also great financial losses resulting from the Chicago fire which left him ruined. It had been his plan to travel to Europe on the SS Ville du Havre with his family but he ended up sending his family ahead in a last-minute change of plans. But sadly, their ship collided while crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sank quickly, claiming the lives of his four daughters. Fortunately, his wife survived and sent him a telegram saying, “Saved alone…” It was on his way to meet her that Horatio was inspired to write the hymn in the very place that the ship passed near where his daughters died. I can’t imagine the grief he must have felt. Some of the words are: “ When peace like a river, attendeth my way/ When sorrows like sea billows roll/ Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say/ It is well, it is well, with my soul…..It is well/ With my soul.” He goes on to write that even when Satan should buffet him and trials come, he is assured that the Lord regards his helplessness and gave his life for him. It is also true for us, that no matter what happens in this life, the Lord is there for us and will give us His supernatural peace in the midst of it all. Like it says in Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified}, “You will guard him and keep him in perfect an constant peace whose mind( both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confident in you.”
Challenge for today: Tell the Lord it is well with your soul no matter what happens, for your life is held in His hands.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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