Canaans 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.

Month: December 2011 (page 1 of 4)

Dec. 31st

Devotions from Judy’s heart

When we arrived at Kurt’s, Grant greeted us outside and asked if we had a prize for him. (We usually have a prize wrapped for each day we are here for the grandkids.)  At age 4 it is understandable that he would think of a prize and ask for it, but if he were 24 that would have been rude. Are we often that way with the Lord with the attitude of “Give me, Give me!”?  Do we think more about what He gives us than who he is?  Paige and Lily are older and had hugs and kisses first and never asked for a prize. As we grow in the Lord we need to be more focused on Him than on his gifts to us.  As I read today from Ps. 48, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise….we will meditate on your unfailing love.” He is so worthy of our praise and desires that we come to Him, not for what we can get from Him but for who He is.  And just like we like to hear a Thank You from our grandkids, I’m sure the Lord loves when we praise and thank Him for all his gifts to us…. especially for “the gift of God that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23.

Dec. 30th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

My dad loved nature and every tree was important to him. At his funeral my brother Paul made reference to when he and my uncle cut down a small tree behind the outhouse and tried to cover up. But dad found out and was disappointed they took down a live tree.  On our last trip in November, when we drove through the thick forests of Blue Ridge Mountains, we saw trees on high ridges that almost seemed to be growing out of the rocks. We wondered how they could grow in places that seemingly had so little soil. They must have a deep root system as they were growing so tall and straight. Someone told me their secret is that they grow very slowly and push their roots down into the crevices between the rocks.  They look for any little place they can find and have been known to even split apart rocks. It’s so important that we sink our roots deep down into the Lord. As we do this the power of the Holy Spirit with in us will cause us to stand against the devil’s schemes and to break through difficult circumstances. As it says in Ephesians  to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, to be rooted and established in His love, so that we can stand our ground in the evil days ahead.  So let us grow deeper into Him and stand firm and in His power!

Dec. 29th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I think my dad’s passing has prompted deep things inside of me. It has reminded me that time is short and each day is a gift to be used and savored. I need to live in the present moment and not rush through many activities and multitasking. Instead of lingering over a cup of coffee in the morning, I am usually up and at it either cooking or cleaning, exercising or something. But at the end of the day, it isn’t about a clean house, more food, more things… it’s my awareness of being in God’s presence and being sensitive to what His Spirit is leading me to do. We miss many wonder moments by rushing and getting on to the next thing. I keep asking the Lord to teach me in this area, and not to feel guilty if I sit for extra minutes to enjoy the sunset.  In eternity, I don’t think we will be rushing about but rather enjoying everything fully that our Father puts before us. Let us get ready for heaven now by taking the time now!

Christmas and Suffering

 I am writing this blog on the 23rd of Dec.  Tomorrow is Christiams Eve.  We just got word that  Judy’s Dad, Stan Seburg, who was 100 years old,  just passed away. This means that Christmas will be a time of planning for and having the funeral for Stan.  I have had to hold and comfort my wife at this “joyful time of year.”  I loved my father-in-law.  He gave me a wonderful daughter who has been my “soulmate” for 46 years.  I respected my father-in-law.  I have asked and received much good counsel over the years.  Stan Seburg was one of the most generous and kind men I have had the joy of knowing.  Now we all have to face the reality that he is gone.  The last of our four parents.

Now I mention the dilemma of my Christmas  because I got to thinking about pain and suffering and its relationship to Christmas.  Charles Colson had a very interesting blog in which he talks about how we almost force upon ourselves and one another the idea of Christmas being a time to be “joyful.”  He references Michael Knox Beran (unknown to me) regarding  the modern “dream of a painless world.”  Beran calls it the “great illusion…which regards suffering not as something inherent in the very nature of life but as an anomaly to be eradicated by reason and science and social legislation.”  “There is” says Beran a utopian delusion which “appeals to our inner egotism and self-conceit.  When something painful happens, one’s instinct is to be outraged, as though the universe has made a mistake…But there has been no mistake; we have been created to know joy, and also to know misery.”  

The older I get the more I have, by the grace of God, been able to hold together the tension between joy and suffering.  There is paradox and mystery to suffering.  But the more that I have been able to come to rest in “the arms of love” the more grace I have to accept what is before me.  Right now it is the reality that this Christmas my wife’s family is going to have to prepare for and take part in a funeral right after Christmas.  Recently, I have had to face some personal grieving, but by God’s grace have also found joy in the midst of the trial.  Peter’s word help me in this process. “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him.  Think of your suffering as a weaning from the old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.  Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” (I Peter 4:1-2 – The Message).  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the “weaning” process.  The weaning for me has been learning to  “let it be.”  This is what I am doing at this moment.

Remember men, Jesus came to suffer.  It is a modern illusion of a false hope that somehow we are going to get a “handle of evil.”  It will be with us till the end.  You and I will be touched by suffering and pain.  But our hope is that someday it will be taken care of.  Not by illusionary post-modern thinking, but through the victory of Jesus who came to die on a cross. “He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way.” ( I Peter 2:24 – The Message).  Listen to Paul. “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.  The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.  Everything in creation is being more or less held back.  God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.  Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.” (Romans 8:18-21 – The Message).  Stan Seburg is dancing with his bride, Doris in heaven.  Meanwhile, Judy and I live in joyful anticipation of better things to come.

Dec.28th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Yesterday was a day of His grace and blessing as we celebrated dad’s life.  I think who he was, was portrayed well at the funeral. In Rev. 14:13 it says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” Dad can rest from his labor and is now with the Lord FOREVER!  His many acts of love and generosity will live on in our hearts in the days to come. He gave us a wonderful example of joyful giving that I hope will continue on in our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. We feel so rich in the Lord and the Godly heritage we have been given. Thank you for your prayers for us during this time of Home coming for dad.

Dec. 27th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Today is the day we celebrate my dad’s life and I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful dad. I never wondered how he would receive me as I felt his arms were always open with unconditional love. The last time I was with him, I tucked a prayer shawl around him to keep him warm.  His speech was getting hard to understand but he mentioned the picture of Hackensack on his wall, and we talked about the wonderful memories there. Oh how he loved nature and the beauty of the woods. His bed was low so I just knelt by his bed and prayed for him. The last words I said to him were that I loved him and those were his last words to me. I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last time I would see dad here on earth. But even if I did know, that would be the message I would want him to know. Dad you did good. You were the best dad! I love you!  How important it is to let the people around us know how we feel about them, and not just take for granted they know.  God can use our words to bring encouragement, comfort, love, peace, hope, joy, etc. Let us be led by His Spirit to speak words of love and life to others. In Col 4:6 Paul encourages us to “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” When I think of it I don’t remember my dad ever putting me down by his words. Sorry to say I’m sure our kids can’t say the same about me.

Dec. 26th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Yesterday we were all together as family to celebrate Christmas and I passed around a dish of blueberries .. I bought them Tuesday at Sam’s club and had hoped to bring them to dad on Christmas. But he is in a better place and may have all the blueberries he wants now. Blueberries are so tasty and bursting with antioxidants, vit. C  etc. They are so small and yet you put them together and they make a big bowl of scrumptious eating. I think dad’s life was made up many, many acts of kindness and generosity. He loved to give in hidden ways that may seem small, but to the recipient they were big. All of us will remember how he would give each family $20 for gas when we came to visit, missionaries were remembered monthly, ice cream cones for all of us when we went to watch him pitch ball, always paid when we went to a restaurant, gave rides to us and all our friends, etc etc. They add up to a wonderful life of giving to others without expecting in return. I will probably never eat a blueberry without thinking of my dad and with that comes memories of his love and generosity, which has eternal rewards.

Christmas

Thank you,
scandalous God,

for giving yourself to the world
not in the powerful and extraordinary,
but in weakness and the familiar:
in a baby: in bread and wine.

Thank you

for offering, at journey’s end, a new beginning;
for setting, in the poverty of a stable,
the richest jewel of your love;
for revealing, in a particular place,
your light for all nations.

Thank you

for bringing us to Bethlehem, House of Bread,
where the empty are filled,
and the filled are emptied;
where the poor find riches,
and the rich recognize their poverty;
where all who kneel and hold out their hands
are unstintingly fed.

Kate Compston, Bread for Tomorrow

Christmas

A prayer for you as we celebrate the wondrous birth of our Savior

Saint  Theresa’s Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and  love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Dec. 24th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

A few days ago I woke up early and going through my mind was my dad’s favorite song. I thought of how much he liked this one and how he trusted God’s hand to guide him Home. His earthly toil has ended

and he is now in his true home with the Lord with mom, grandma and so many others….O glad reunion!! 

 

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,
When with our Savior, heaven is begun;
Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning,
Beyond the sunset when day is done.

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy;
O day of gladness, O day unending,
Beyond the sunset eternal joy!

Beyond the sunset, a hand will guide me
To God the Father whom I adore;
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.

Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones who’ve gone before;
In that fair homeland we’ll know no parting,
Beyond the sunset forever more!

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