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: January 2012 (page 1 of 4)

Feb. 1st

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I just came back from my prayer walk and noticed my uncle’s road is open and plowed. Last week when it snowed I didn’t venture up his road as I didn’t know how deep the snow cover was. But now his road looks like an open invitation to enter.  It made me think of how important preparation is in our spiritual lives. When we prepare our hearts, it is like an open invitation for the Lord to visit us and bless us and also for others to enter into our lives. When we go to worship, it is good preparation to pray before hand that our hearts would be open and softened to receive what the Lord has for us. And as we prepare for communion to let the Spirit search our hearts to reveal things we are in need of forgiveness of.  Just going to a council meeting we can prepare by putting ourselves in neutral, so we don’t insist on our way but open to what the Spirit desires. Right now I am busy making preparations for a group coming tomorrow morning for brunch. If I waited until they were at the door to prepare the food, think of how much I would miss out on. Let us let the Lord plow the soil of our hearts in preparation of all He has for us. Hosea 10:12

Jan. 31st

Devotions from Judy’s heart

“It’s me, It’s me, it’s me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother, not my sister but me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”  I remember that song as a young girl but the older I get the more I realize how much I need the Lord and His mercy to me. When we blow it, we know it in even a greater way!  The other day I went to the Co-op and a gal was standing in the front of the lentils that I wanted to grab. So I leaned down to reach them, and when I did my bag of flax seeds dropped out of my arms and the bag almost “exploded” spilling the contents on the floor. Oh my!  A very nice man who volunteers there simply said, “I will take care of that. Just go about your shopping.” Just what I needed to hear and music to my ears!  How often are we in need of God’s mercy as we blow it in so many more ways than we are even aware of? And when we really know that in the depth of our being, we will be most gracious in extending mercy to others. ( Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13)  I am so glad God doesn’t give us what we deserve but is merciful!  In Ps. 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  How blessed we are to have such a merciful Father!

Jan. 30th

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Devotions from Judy’s heart

Yesterday I went for my prayer walk and it was rather brisk out.  But every now and then the sun would peek through and I had such a sense of God’s presence with me as I walked. The sun was brilliant through the trees almost like fire. Today as I was having my devotions and just happened to be reading in Numbers 9, it was all about the children of Israel in the wilderness. They followed the cloud over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire at night. If the cloud lifted then they all packed up and followed. They never knew if they would be in one place a day or a month but they watched for this sign. .  I thought of how important it is to walk in obedience and follow the Lord every day. They had a visible sign of God’s presence and had to be ready for what ever He had for them. We need to be open and watching for His signs to know what it is He has for us each day. Is the “cloud” moving and am I willing to change my schedule to fit His?  Life is unpredictable but is exciting when we really know His presence is always with us.  “For it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.“  Deut. 31:8  Let us move with Him!!!!

Blessings on the rest of your Sabbath and day tomorrow. Prayers and love, Judy

Jan. 28th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

The other day I ran into Penney’s while Al waited in the car.  I was just going to buy kaki colored pants that were the same style as a black pair I bought some time ago. They were so comfortable that I decided to get a second pr and knew my size etc. When I began rummaging through the racks, I thought I had the same kind of pants but when I got home, I recognized my mistake. They weren’t quite the same and didn’t fit like the others. They are not going to work! I have to take them back and find the right ones when I shop next week. I thought of how sometimes things appear nearly right but just a little off. We need to pay attention as truth carried to extreme is no longer truth. The enemy may not hook us on something really off but he tries to get us in subtle ways. Often something is close to the truth but just off a bit and is no longer truth.  (Just like my pants were the same brand and similar, but not the same.)  There are so many scriptures on truth and we have been given the Spirit of Trruth. In Ps. 86:11 David says,”Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”  Let us be lovers of truth and walk in truth!

Jan. 27th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

We are so blessed to have a Healer for our souls. And since we live in an imperfect world, I suspect we all need healing. One day I was getting frozen berries out of the freezer to make Smoothies and I noticed some bits of raspberries on the floor. It happened more than once, even though I was very careful. But this time in sealing up the bag I noticed there was a rip in the back of the bag and that is where they were leaking from. I had no idea. I thought of how we are “leaky” too, and even though the Lord pours love into us in so many ways, we leak!  Since all have been wounded, we have many false tapes and things in our lives that need healing. And that means change as we may go into deep territory where we have never been before. But God can give us courage to face the pain from the past and change us in the healing process! We must feel our pain but then comes the healing from Him who loves us soooo much.  I am reminded of  the scripture song from Lam. 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Discharging your loyal soldier

Richard Rohr is his men’s work has a ritual entitled “discharging your loyal soldier.”  It is based on the experience of Japanese soldiers after world war II.  Many soldiers were not fit or prepared to reenter civilian life.  So Japanese communities created a communal ritual in which the soldiers were honored for their service to the country and then told, “The war is now over!  The community needs you to let go of what has served you and served us well up to now.  The community needs you to return as a man, a citizen and something beyond a solider.”  This helped them transition from soldier to civilian.

The point of this ritual for men is to help them make transitions at major times in their lives.  One such transition is navigating the midlife crisis.  We each have a loyal soldier that has served us well in the first half of life, but usually a crisis will call into question the life of the loyal soldier for the second half of life.  Rohr says that in the first half of our life we build a “container,” which includes our loyal solider.  The containers give us ego strength for the first half of our journey.  It has served us well as we go out into the world.  But there will come a time when men realize that ego strength has come at the expense of “”soul strength.”  The container, while outwardly seems strong, is empty on the inside.  There is a prompting during midlife to do the “inner work” of the soul.  It must be done so the second half of life can be lived well. 

At this point a man has to face the fact that he is being called to die, that is, to discharge his loyal soldier.   There now is the awareness of needing to let go.  The container has been built, but it needs to be emptied and refilled. It can be very frightening.  Who want to die to that which is familiar.  Rohr puts it this way. “When you first discharge your loyal soldier, it will feel like a loss of faith, or loss of self.  But it is only the death of the false self, and is often the very birth of the soul.  Instead of being ego driven, you will begin to be soul drawn.”  Men, if we listen to the voice of our soul, we know there is more.  Our container is hallow and needs new life.  It needs living water and the bread of life.

I promise you, based on personal experience, that if you are willing to discharge your loyal soldier, that is,  your image of you think you are and what you want to be, your true self, who you were meant to be from the beginning will come forth.  It will be a process.  With it come greater freedom and authencity.   Jesus spoke of this transition often. For example, in John 12:24-25, “Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.  But if is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.  In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (The Message).  

One more thought about the discharging of the loyal solider.  In our Western culture, we do not have the rituals of transition to help men move into the second half of life.  My suggestion for any struggling with the difficulty of this transition, is to find a group of men who adhere to the principles of the 12 Steps of AA.  If you can’t find a group, memorize the 12 steps and read some devotional material based on the 12 steps.  The 12 steps, if embraced, will help with the letting go of the loyal soldier, so that you can go on into the new.  Life “has become unmangeable…….make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God……entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character” (Steps 1,3,6).  That’s the way you discharge the loyal soldier.

Jan. 26th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Last night when we got home from the cities, I had an e-mail from a friend thanking me for my devotional on healing. She was astounded that it came when it did as she was making a Power Point for the healing service her pastor was giving on  physical healing and healing from inner hurts. She talked about the timing being just perfect and said chills went down her spine when my e-mail came. But the funny thing was that I never meant that e-mail for her.  She has the same first name as another friend, and it got sent to her by mistake. But isn’t neat how the Lord uses even our “mistakes” and can turn them into something good? I can almost picture the Lord smiling and saying, “ You didn’t mean if for her but I did!”  I read from Romans 8 today the familiar verse 28 “Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”  Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to go around on eggshells but can trust Him even in our mishaps?!

Jan. 25th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Have you noticed how some people get hurt by words we might say? Or maybe we have overreacted when something was said to us. Most often it is because we have been wounded in an area and their words “sting”.  One day when I walked to a friend’s house, she handed me a cup of hot choc and when it touched my hand, I quickly said to her, “Don’t let go of the cup!” I had burned my fingers a few days before on our wood stove ash tray and when the hot cup touched my hand it was a real “owie” Ordinarily, I could have handled it but not that day. We need to cut people slack when we unintentionally hit an area of hurt in them, and remember that we also have those areas of woundedness. The Lord is compassionate and wants to bring freedom and healing to every area of our lives. Our healing won’t be complete until glory but He has given us Himself and each other for the healing process. It James 5:16 it says, Therefore, confess our sins to one another and pray for on another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person ahs great power as it is working.” I have found that just confessing my sin to a friend often breaks the power of it and brings healing. Let us receive healing and be bearers of His healing power to others.

Jan. 24th

Devotional from Judy’s heart

Have you ever been given something that was of no use to you? Or have you bought something that didn’t fit your real need?  Last week we were at L&M shopping for some welding gloves for me to handle the ashes from our wood stove. While there the sales person said, “ You should try this Ash Vac  instead as it cleans up all your ashes.”  Wow! Sounds like just what I need in the morning when I take out the hot ashes from the tray below the grate on the wood stove. But after talking to another sales person who actually had one, I found out you couldn’t use this Vacuum until the ashes were stone cold. That is not what I need as we don’t let the fire go out on our stove. Only someone who uses their fireplace occasionally would want this Ash Vac. Spiritually we may think we know exactly what someone else needs but do we really know their heart? Or maybe someone tries to make us feel guilty if we don’t practice their spiritual exercises or whatever works for them. No, our Father is the one that knows just what is right for us at the time and He also knows what is a right fit for others. Let us check with Him for no one knows us like He does. “For you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind.” I Kings 8:39.

Jan. 23rd

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I was reading from I John 2 about when we live in Him we will practice righteousness (good things). Even a small act of kindness is evidence that we belong to Him. (verse 29). Further on in 3:18 it says, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.”  We may not necessarily do Great acts of mercy each day  but often it is in the little acts of kindness that we express His love to others. The other day I walked a mile to a friend’s house on a cold day and I was welcomed and immediately given a hot cup of cocoa topped with whipped cream. It was exactly what hit the spot for me as it warmed up my insides. When I walk there in the hot summer sun, I am always offered a glass of ice water which is just what I need before walking the mile home again. Let us be open to the Spirit and show acts of love as He prompts us. We can be like an oasis to someone in the desert, or like the warm hearth to someone who is out in the cold. Never underestimate the value of small things when prompted by Love.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good.” : Luke 6:45

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