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: June 2012 (page 1 of 3)

June 30th

 

 Devotions from Judy’s heart

Yesterday I took a prayer walk and it was my first one for a while since I have been sick. Everything looked so lovely to me, especially all the white daisies and yellow road-side flowers. I felt like the Lord had prepared a beautiful walk-way for me and even had colorful butterflies accompany me. The birds provided music too.  I noticed everything more clearly and thought every day should be like this. Isn’t it good to start each day seeking the Lord’s presence and recognizing that He has already prepared a path for us to walk on?  There are surprises along the way, much beauty, and often some trials too. But He is with us so let us not miss Him in all that touches our lives.  May He give us a new awareness of His presence and with that comes a gentle peace.  I read from Ps. 141 today, “But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord.”

June 29th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I was reminded how important it is to welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  He gives life and freedom and counsel, and as I read today in Romans 8, He intercedes for us. But we are also warned not to quench the Spirit and sometimes we may do that little by little until we lose our spiritual power. Last night I was all set to do things around the house and work on my computer, and all of sudden our lights flickered and went out. There was no storm but in one moment, we had no power at all. Everything changed and we were in the shadows. When we keep resisting the Spirit and going our own way, He may not feel welcome and our spiritual power diminishes. We may do things over and over again that we know are not in alignment of His will, and He is grieved. But what a difference when the power came on again and there was light in our house!. I felt like dancing! Everything was right again!   May we not resist the Spirit but allow Him to lead us and guide us into the fullness of all that God has planned for our lives!   From the song of Bill Gaither, “Come, Holy Spirit, I need You, Come sweet Spirit, I pray; Come in Your strength and Your power, come in Your own gentle way!”

June 28th

 

Devotions from Judy’s heart

There are many scriptures about hearing and how important it to hear and to understand.  While at Kurt’s Lily got an IPOD for her birthday and she was thrilled. She had it on in the kitchen while she was cutting up veggies and as we were making teddy bears. But there was a problem for us.  She no longer was conversing with us as she only heard her own music and not our voices speaking to her. Kurt used the IPOD too and we couldn’t get his attention until we touched him. What about us? What keeps us from hearing the Lord? Are our spirits dull so we don’t get the message He speaks to us?   Like little toddlers do we cover our ears with our hands not wanting to hear what is being spoken ?  We are told to be quick to hear ( James 1:19), and to incline our ear and hear and apply our hearts to His knowledge. ( Prov. 22:17). Let us be better listeners even as He speaks in a still small voice.

June 27th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Devotions from Judy’s heart Have you ever had company that seemed to just flood your house with joy and delight? Yesterday we had a visit from gracious friends who filled our house with rays of “Sonshine.”  We met them while at the Nevis church and it seemed like the Lord connected us right away. Jan introduced me to Sarah Young’s devotional book but also asked to get my daily devotional that both her and her mom ( Elaine)  discuss  daily. They wanted to see the places I write about so they had a tour of where the retreatants spend time, and then went to the outdoor brick oven, to the labyrinth and to the Point. They had such enthusiasm and questions and it gave both Al and I deep joy. It made me think of how the heart of the Lord rejoices when we get excited about His words and ask lots of questions because we are interested to know more.,,, when we want to experience the things we have read about in the Word…..when we want to give back to Him, even as Jan and Elaine came bearing gifts…….when we want to discuss with others what we read in His word and it gives new ways of seeing things….when we just enjoy the present moment with Him. Elaine could have said, I am 89 years old and I’m tired so I will just look from my easy chair. Or Jan could have said, it is too far to take my mom there. But No, they wanted to see it all. Because of their visit, Al and I were so blessed and we can still savor the sweet aroma of Christ they left behind at Canaan. ( II Cor. 2:14-15).

How To Die

I was in a supermarket with my Son Kurt, when my attention was drawn to a magazine rack with Time magazine avaliable for purchase.  The headline in bold letters said, “How To Die.”  So I had to buy it to see what Time writer Joe Klein had to say about dying.  I was deeply disappointed.  While I learned a great deal about Mr. Klein’s ordeal in the death of his aging parents and how doctors and nurses helpful in the process, there was little about hope after death. I have gone through similiar ordeals especially with my father.  For both Judy and I, the death of our four parents was a deeply spiritual experience.  Mr Klein referred to his experience as a “death panel.”  “My parents died serenely, with dignity. When you are a death panel – when the time and manner of their passing is at least partly in your hands – that is the very best you can hope for.”  No, it is not a death panel.  We need to pray for  ourselves and those we love to have “the gift of a good death.” 

Mr Klein describes his father’s death in this manner. “Dad seemed to sigh at the end.  He inhaled and sighed and was gone.  He was not a religious man, but there was a gorgeous sernity in this moment – and there was a certain satisfaction for me too, surrounded by the caregivers who had helped me through this passage toward my own maturity, caregivers who really knew how to give care.” That was it.  No hope of eternal life or mention of the presence of God in passing to the other side.  But God tells us, “precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his faithful servants” (Ps 116:15).  The whole experience of dying is holy, usually filled with the light of God’s presence.  Many have sensed the presence of angels.  I have experienced a holy presence often in my life as a pastor with those who are dying.

What struck me most deeply about the article was the short exchange between Mr Klein and his father near the end. “‘I really appreciate what you’re doing.  You’re a good son,’ he said for the first time in my life.  I told him he has been a great dad. ‘I could have been better,’ he replied.”  Joe Klein heard for the first time a word of affirmation from his father.  His father died with regret regarding his role as a father.  How sad, but how true of many father and son relationships.  No affirmation or establishing of a deeper relationship until the very end.

So I take away from this article two observtions that I want to say with all the passion I can muster, for the men who are reading this blog.  The first is this.  Think about you dying, prepare for your dying and talk about your dying with your family.  Death is a natural part of living.  As followers of Jesus we have the assurance that we have everlasting life.  Jesus tells us, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).  Men, don’t let anyone or anything in this world, rob you of the joy of going to heaven.  One fine day, you will die.  You will be passing on to something much better.  Celebrate that reality.  Help those you love to also celebrate that reality with you.

The second take away is this.  Don’t wait till the end of life for either you or your father to make things right.  If you are a man with an aging father, do all you can to honor him as your father.  It does not matter whether he has reconciled himself in relationship to you.  Tell your father that you love him.  Be sensitive to the fact that he is in his twilight years.  If you are a father to a son, above all else give your son all the space he needs to grow as a man in relationship to you.  That means you live in forgiveness, giving your son all the affirmation you can give him as your son.  Don’t wait till the end.  He needs your love and affirmation now.  Be the biggest encourager of your son.

June 26th

Devotions from Judy’s heart
Often when we see the whole picture, even some negative things can be seen in a more positive way. I have such gratitude that I didn’t come down with Anaplamosis and Lymes while babysitting at Kurt’s.  Al would have had to take care of the grandkids alone, as well as, get me to the Dr. etc. And I’m sure Kurt and Brenda would not have enjoyed their vacation as much. And what if the Nevis group now coming for retreat had not changed their date by one week?  I would have been spiking a fever when they were here. Just one week made a big difference. I’m sure we have all wondered why certain things happen to us at the time, but He is sovereign over every aspect in our lives. Nothing escapes His notice. As Sarah Young writes,” Trust Me enough to let Me guide you through this day, accomplishing My purposes in My timing…The challenge before you is to trust Me and search for My way through each day. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” ( Psalm 55:9)

June 25th

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Being sick this past week, Al took me to the Dr, and I hoped for a quick miracle pill. The Dr. diagnosed Anaplasmosis and Lymes from my symptoms and tests, and gave me that miracle antibiotic. She told me I would feel better the next day and that was hard to believe since I felt so crummy then. But I did feel amazingly so much better in 24 hours.  It made me think of what is like before we really know the Lord. We are all “sin sick” and need the Great Physician.  People might even say, “Come to the Lord and He will take care of All your problems!”  The step of inviting Him into our hearts may seem small ( like the little pill) and yet it is powerful, for He comes into our lives and changes everything. Our whole outlook is different. But all those changes don’t happen overnight. Just like I am on the mend, but my headaches, nausea and  liver tests etc will show I am still recovering. It takes time for our bodies to be healed, just as it takes time for changes to happen in our spiritual lives. We need to follow the advice of the Great Physician and trust He knows  us best.

June 23rd

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Saturday after our grandson’s soccer game we stopped on the way home to buy balloons as it was Lily’s birthday the next day.  When we got to the store, there was a balloon that had the number 8 on( her age), but was pricey at $8.95.  We decided to get a plain ones and afterwards we were so glad we did as all the grandkids  had so much fun decorating their own balloons. One was painted with the face of Jonah on for their skit. Now if we would have bought the pricey one, it would not have worked out for their play. Sometimes we are hoping for something in our lives that we think will make us so happy, but it doesn’t happen. We can even blame God and others. But maybe, just maybe, God has something better in mind for us down the road and we can’t visualize it yet. Grant broke his balloon on a sharp object but we decided to extend grace to him since he is only 4 1/2. So on the way home from church we bought him another balloon and warned him about being careful. How often do we blow it and yet are extended grace. We couldn’t even count the times. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” II Cor 9:8 Let us trust our Grace-giving God!

June 22nd

 Devotions from Judy’s heart

While at Kurt’s the girls asked questions and we got on sins etc. Paige said, “But grandma, when did you ever sin!?” Oh my, I had to tell her I sinned every day and even my thoughts were not always loving and that is sin too. God looks at our hearts and sees everything and how we need His mercy!  We can outwardly do the right thing but if our attitude is wrong and our thoughts are not loving…it is all wrong!

I memorized Ps. 103 and love the promises of his forgiveness for ALL my sins, and that he has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west. He knows that we are dust and so has compassion on us.
May we also be compassionate towards others and as we see their sin, know that we are so in need of His mercy and forgiveness as well.

June 21st

 Devotions from Judy’s heart

While at Kurt’s I had my devotions early in the morning in his office. I noticed on his desk was a Bible, his printer and work items, and a figure of a muscle man bench pressing a great deal of weights.I thought of how our lives have many facets but need balance. Any one of those things that is out of order can cause us trouble. If Kurt only read his Bible and neglected his work and taking care of his body, he would run into problems. Or if just focused on work, he would soon burn out, without the spiritual dimension. Or if he gave all his time to just working out he could look good on the outside but be deficient on the inside. We need all 3 and in proper balance. I think the monks have a good rhythm of the 3 dimensions and we try to do that at Canaan too…our day starts with devotional time , then  work and we also try to get in time for  exercise and play. We can’t separate them all as they blend together but hopefully we strive for balance.  As we care for our bodies we recognize they are temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19), and we are also told to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. (Matt. 22:37)

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