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: August 2020 (Page 1 of 4)

August 31, 2020

Devotions from Judy’s heart

When we know the Lord, we are called to be lights and we are to let them shine, shine, shine. As a child I and our whole Sunday School, memorized the scripture in Matt.5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” It didn’t seem so dark back then, for our pastor preached the Word as truth, we believed our elders that they would speak truth, and we knew we shouldn’t compromise and go the way of the world.

But today it seems that there is a blurring of right and wrong, lights are flickering and growing dim. Mark Roberts of Fuller Seminary writes about a “flickering light” and how leadership and organizations are flickering and growing dark. In Isaiah 42:6-8 (The Message) it says, “I am God, I have called you to live right and well. I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me., and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations, to make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.” God wants to work through us powerfully and let us not get overwhelmed by the darkness.

When we met recently with 3 couples from our former Board for Canaan’s Rest, Al spoke out about us being lights and what does that mean for us today. All couples are being used in their churches and one couple was especially being lights to their grandchildren. Another couple He is using with Celebrate Recovery and also their house as a place for refuge. Another couple was being used in their workplace and mentoring others, as well as family. We are all called to let our lights shine and come along side others who are discouraged and flickering. Some may be like smoldering wicks or bruised reeds and need the light to shine on them and give them hope. Let us not be flickering ourselves but burning brightly and pointing others to Him.

Challenge for today: When you find yourself flickering, get into the Word and find fellowship with others.

Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

 
 

Shame and responsibility

I spend time daily on the internet, reading news sources and Christian blog sites to make some sense out of our world.  I also am on the look out for articles regarding masculinity, to help me better articulate a healthy male perspective for men and their walk with Jesus.

Every once in a while, I find a new source to help me to write helpful blog for men.  A recent find has been Alastair Roberts, who blog at Alastair’s Adversaria.  He is worth following.  In one of his blog he reflected on the no win situation men find themselves with the feminist view of patriarchy. 

For the feminist, the problem for men is toxic masculinity and  the dismantling of patriarchy.  “Feminists believe,” maintains Roberts, “if men could deal with their weakness, shame, and vulnerability….we could do away with patriarchy.”  They believe men are shaped by damaging messages for their past. 

But for many men the feminist demands are emasculating.  Men many express openness about their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and yet face hostility for  “developing genuine strength.”  Male strength can be a threat.  “Male cultures that celebrate and accentuate male strength are a direct threat to women’s advancement.”   

Men are realizing that focusing  on their faults and weaknesses, “comes at the cost of both alienation from and pathologizing of their own manly strength of agency.”  Men can  easily develop a poor image of themselves as a man.  

Women are portrayed as passive victims of patriarchy.  “This enables them to hold men accountable,” notes Roberts, “to lay blame for problems at their door, and to expect then to turn everything around.”  The responsibility for men can seem negative, since men are the ones that assume blame and are expected to bring about a new paradigm of relationships between men and women 

I appreciate the argument Roberts makes for men having to assume both guilt and responsibility for the unhealthy patriarch of the past.  The following in my opinion is very insightful: “Responsibility always comes attached to blame, as a law that sets up it recipient for condemnation and failure.  The result is a shame and guilt-inflected vision of masculinity, one in which men are always being held capable,  yet have relatively little ways in which they can enjoy the dignity of a positive responsibility.” 

I have three comments regarding shame and responsibility.  First, I am committed to helping men to walk comfortably with the Lord, in the midst of our contemporary “gender wars.”  I am simply a voice crying in the wilderness,  for men to come in  from the darkness of shame and self-loathing, to bask in the light of our Heavenly Father saying to men, “You are my beloved.”  Be affirmed in your god-given masculine self, period.  Receive this as your inheritance in the Lord.  He will help you stand with other brothers.

Secondly, Robert’s word are convicting to me.  I repent and ask for forgiveness if I have in any way shamed a man into making attempts to be anything other than who God has created him to be.  You are unique and have your assignment from the Lord.  Don’t let me or anyone else tell you how you are to celebrate your god-given masculinity.

Thirdly, this is a cry to men to stand tall in their unique masculinity and be responsible.  We get our marching order from the Lord himself, and not from the feminist agenda for men.  We are to give it all up for Jesus.  “Those who love their life in this world will lose it.  Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). 

 

August 29,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We left early this morning for Mora and had a day of fellowship with our former Board members of Canaan’s Rest. It was a wonderful time as we shared our lives together and had a yummy lunch. We are going for a walk now and then having our grandson for church and dinner tomorrow. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do others know we are Christians by our love? Or do others know us ones that need to strongly express our opinions and build walls of division?  A question we need to ask ourselves often is, what is the loving thing is to do in this situation? What will bring us closer together and not divide us? Mark Roberts writes on Crosswalk about breaking down the walls of separation. He uses Jesus example for He made the way by fulfilling the laws demands for us through His death. When he did this, it brought down the wall of hostility that divided the Jews and Gentiles. We become one in Christ when we accept Jesus and His sacrifice for us, even though we way differ in many ways. His sacrifice paved the way and made it possible to end the hostility between us and others, whether it be groups of people or even members of our own families.  When we are members of His Body, we are not to be judgmental and try to convince others to think just like we do, worship like we do, and to view situations as we see them. But we are rather called to peace and to express His love and allow the Holy Spirit direct each person’s life. It’s prideful and unwise to play Holy Spirit for others for how do we know God’s plan for them?  When we do this and it is like putting bricks in the wall between us; they feel the pressure from us and it hurts the Body of Christ. Jesus said in Matt.5:8-9 (The Message),” You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” When we are secure in the Lord, we can accept others and let others be who they really are. We can put down our bricks that cause division and let them be at ease without being just like us or thinking like us. Let us be peace workers and build relationships, not walls.
Challenge for today: Ask God to help you dismantle any walls you have erected between you and others.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy 

 

August 28, 2020

Dear Ones,
 
Happy Weekend to you! Hope you enjoy it and get refreshed. This morning I cleaned our apt. and Al and I went to a funeral Mass of a friend who lived in our apt. building. Al took me out for lunch at Poncho Lefties after which we got a surprise yummy dessert.  (A nearby table  had people from our apt. complex and one of them ordered the dessert for us) Enjoying the day with phone calls which began early this morning and as you may have guessed I am a year older now! If you did not receive devotionals again go to http://www.canaansrest.org/whispers. Sorry and will let Mark know.
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart.
 
Life is not about me, me, me! It is really about the Lord. Just think what it would be like if our identity was found in what others thought of us, or how we performed as a boss, or in being a good spouse or parent. It wouldn’t take long for us to lose confidence for we are sure to blow it. Our lives are meant to revolve around the Lord, and our Identity is in Him; He is our confidence, our source.
 
When we get upset when things don’t go our way or when we have expressed behavior that is not godly, we soon realize that we have strayed from our Source. I don’t know about you, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t sense my need of the Lord and realize that I can’t live life on my terms. When our focus is on ourselves, life becomes very shallow and meaningless. Perhaps this is seen as it is played out when people have a need to put their whole life on Facebook to validate their worth and importance. But when our focus is on the Lord and then others, everything shifts to a life that has meaning. We experience deep joy!  I was reading Psalm 34 today when David escaped from his enemy. Some of his words from The Message translation are: I bless God every chance I get… I live and breathe God…God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears……Worship God if you want the best; Worship opens doors to all His goodness…God seekers are full of God…..God keeps an eye on His friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan….God is listening, ready to rescue you….God is there every time.”  We don’t need to spend time thinking of all our weaknesses or wondering what others are thinking of us, but rather to praise the Lord and rejoice that He loves and accepts us as we are. Our identity is in Him!
 
Challenge for today: The next time someone puts you down, go to the Source and thank Him for his unconditional love.
 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

August 27, 2020

Dear Ones,
 
Hope you are enjoying this day!  So good to see the sun again! The is morning I went to Aldi’s shopping  and made cookies, choc covered raspberries and individual egg dishes.  The house is full of aroma!
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 
Yesterday Al and I went for our daily afternoon walk and I mentioned to  him how good it is when we are pointed home again. We walk almost a mile and a half on the Paul Bunyan Trail through the woods until we get to our marker which is a bench on the side of the trail. Al does a few stretching exercises and then we begin our mile and a half back. On the way there, I look especially at the flowers and changing leaves and any animals we may see, but on the way home, it seems like the time goes faster in anticipation of getting home and having supper etc. I shared with  Al how it is much like life for in the first half we are busy building our careers, trying things out and discovering our gifts. But in the second half of our lives, which some of us are in, we let go of thinking of those things as being most important; we think more of eternal things, rather than the transient. In fact, we begin to get ready for the day we can put aside these earthly bodies and are home with the Lord…that is our true home! We find ourselves anticipating the marriage feast of the lamb and the day of no more tears or pain, but being forever with the Lord and all believers. It’s hard to even imagine what that day will be like but for now we need to stick it out here and now.
 
Paul says in Col. 3:1-3 (The Message), “So if you’re serious about living this resurrections life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ–That’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.” Our lives are meant to be centered in the Lord and then we can see things as He sees them, from His perspective. Let us not be so focused on our temporary lives, but focus on what will last forever.
 
Challenge for today: Let go of those transient things that take up your time and let your focus be on what is lasting.
 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 26, 2020

Dear Ones,
 
Hope you are having a wonderful day. I made a zucchini/choc cake with fresh zucchini from Ann’s garden and also surprised one of the couples here with a huge one that got overlooked!Emoji I wrote cards and went to my exercise class this morning and tonight we have Bible Study. 
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Great things happen when we pray for one another! We are reminded in James 5:16 (The Message), “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”
 
When I have been with friends who ask for prayer and share an area they are struggling with, it draws me closer to the Lord and to them; it lets me also know I can be free to share my own sins and offences as well. This should be a common practice and not something that is rare.
 
Lisa Lakey gives a warning of what our attitude should be, for at times our very tone we may be saying, “O you struggle with that sin. Not me but I will pray for you.” Very self-righteous sounding and where is our humility and love? Instead, we can say, “How can I pray for you?” As husband and wife, Al and I share our areas of weakness and sins that we need to repent of and in doing that we experience forgiveness and freedom. We can’t fix each other, for that is God’s work, but we can all pray for one another and watch God work. The enemy likes for us to bottle things up and work on our problem areas in our own strength. That doesn’t work. God wants us to bring our sins out into the light and if we humble ourselves and confess our need of His forgiveness, the Lord steps in and forgives and heals us. We will find ourselves healthier spiritually but often physically as well.  It is so wonderful to hear the words of absolution, “You are forgiven in the name of the Lord.” As fellow believers we are priests to one another and have that privilege to speak those words to those who have confessed their sins. Let us make confession that we may be forgiven and set free.
 
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to use you in listening to others and praying for them.
 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 25, 2020

Dear Ones,
 
Hope you are having a peaceful day. We left early this morning for the lake and we stopped on the way so I could see my friend in Assisted Living. Then I got to my old Bible Study group which was wonderful and Ann made a birthday cake for me and shared with them. Then we had a delicious  early Birthday lunch on Ann’s deck. It was followed by tutoring on our new phones by our grandson which was a big help. Now we are home with grateful hearts.
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 
We don’t know the exact number of our days on earth for only God knows that; but we can live each day wisely and well, as if it were our last day. Moses prayed in Psalm 90:12 & 14 (God’s Word), “Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom…Satisfy us every morning with your mercy so we may sing joyfully and rejoice all our days”.
 
Recently I read how Pastor Max Lucado prepared himself for heart surgery and had the thought, what if this is my final night? He was having 4 hours of probes inside his heart and asked himself, what if something goes wrong? He spent some time alone the night before surgery and asked the Lord to show him if there were people in his life that he needed to make things right with; he also wrote letters to his wife and daughters in the event he didn’t make it. Afterwards he was at peace and slept like a baby, and his surgery the next day went well. But we all need to face the fact that we will some day die and we may have no warning ahead of time, so each day is a day of preparation.
 
Right now, my very special aunt who is 94 years old, has been in the hospital as she has been bleeding and her heart grows weaker. She has had other times that we thought the end was near when she fell and broke her hip, had pneumonia, or was injured when hit by a drunk driver; but she has always surprised us and bounced back stronger than before. That would be my personal wish again at this time and I am so grateful she was discharged late this afternoon to her daughter’s home.  But like Paul said in Romans 14:8, “If we live, we honor the Lord, and if we die, we honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
 
It is wonderful to know that we are secure in the Lord. When we exit this life, we have so much awaiting us.  No matter if we have few days or many days on earth, we have an eternity with the Lord when we have accepted His gift of salvation. May our hearts overflow with joy as we wait for that wonderful day and let us be ready!
 
Challenge for today: Make preparations for eternity and share the Lord with those around you who may not be ready.
 
Blessings on the rest of your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 24,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend. We are getting ready for our grandson to come for an early lunch as he is on his ways to the city for college. Shortly after that we are getting friends from Tulsa for coffee and looking forward to catching up. Tomorrow we are going to the lake and I will  get to go to my old Bible Study group! Please keep praying for the Matt who has the virus and for my aunt who is in the hospital with bleeding. Both need prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How shall we then live? In this world that is changing by the minute, in this time of upheaval in our nation, how shall we then live as Christians? As I was going to bed night before last, the thought came to me, live in peace, live positively, live in the present. That is often a challenge and not always easy to practice, but is by God’s grace and He will help us. I awoke to the news on an e-mail from our pastor that one of our young members died that night of a heart attack, and I was stunned. He was visiting his brother whose wife is critically ill with inflammation of her brain and he suddenly died. How do we handle those heart wrenching situations? Only with the Lord! He is our peace when everything around us is suddenly taken. Jesus told His followers when He was about to leave this world in John 14:27 (God’s Word), “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.” His peace surpasses all our understanding! We are held secure and can remain calm as we know the end of the story…a life forever with the Lord! We can also live positively because of the assurance that He is with us no matter what we go through. It’s important to not dwell on negativity but to think good thoughts and speak encouraging words. It affects health to our whole body and soul. It says in Prov. 16:24, “Pleasant words are like honey from the honeycomb—sweet to the spirit and healthy for the body.” We are also to live in the present and be fully engaged. There are often times we can be with others or busy doing our own thing but our minds are elsewhere. Instead we need to pay attention! God is present to us, and let us be present to Him and live in the now. I have to tell myself often, just enjoy this moment! Be mindful! Jesus said in Matt. 6:34 (The Message), “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Let us fully enjoy life with the Lord now and seek to listen as He speaks to us positive words of peace!
Challenge for today: Get rid of negative thoughts and live in the present, letting His peace flow into you.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy 

J.R.R. Tolkien and Marriage

I recently read an article by David Mills revealing insights into the marriage of Tolkien, who was married 55 years to Edith.  By all accounts the marriage was successful but not necessarily happy.  Near the end of his life, after Edith had died, Tolkien shared some reflections on his marriage with his son Christopher.

After three of his insights I would like to add my testimony.  At this stage in my marriage, God has wonderfully drawn me closer to my bride (55 years).  I am very grateful and humbled at the work of God in my heart.  I give him  glory and continue to cry out for his mercy. 

First, Tolkien warns that a  romantic view of men and women, can take “the young man’s eye off women as they are.”  Tolkien describes them as “companions in shipwreck not guiding stars.” Not seeing the woman realistically makes young men “forget their [women’s ] desires, needs and temptations.  It inculcates exaggerated notions of ‘true love,’ as a fire from without, a permanent exaltation, unrelated to age, childbearing, and plain life, unrelated to will and purpose. 

Men, your bride needs to know she is “the total package” as you both age.  “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Prov 4:18).  Take this advise from brother Al.  Express your delight and fascination with her as being “your bone” (Gen 2:23).  It will breathe new life and spiritual refreshment into your marriage.  

Secondly, Tolkien refers to marriage as a “great mortification.” In a fallen world, “the best cannot be attained by free enjoyment, or what is called ‘self-realization’ (usually a nice name for self-indulgence, wholly inimical to the realization of other selves); but by denial, by suffering.”    

The early monks thought of marriage as martyrdom (death to self).  “Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged” (I Cor 13:5-6).  I am more sensitive to my failures, especially in my self-pitying attitude.  I humble myself,  rationalize less and ask for forgiveness, knowing I still have a long ways to go.  

Thirdly,  Tolkien speaks of  “self-denial.”  “No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man,” insists Tolkien, “has  lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious of the will, without self-denial.”  In his view, “nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes.”  But he insist “the ‘real soul-mate’ is the one you are actually married to.”  His advice, “in this fallen world, we have as our only guides, prudence, wisdom, a clean heart, and fidelity of will.” 

The Lord is helping me to put  the needs of my “soul mate” forefront in our daily life.  “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (I Cor 13:7).  In our relationship I am more like a yo-yo.  Judy is consistent.  I am becoming more honest with my emotional state, admitting my downward cycles, and asking her to pray for me. 

It is hard to admit my childish ways.  “But when I grew up, I put away childish things.   Now we see things  imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely,  just as God knows me now” (I Cor. 13:11-12).  One day I will understand, but in the mean time I ask for grace to mature in my marriage.  God help me to be your MAN for Judy.    

 

August 22,2020

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! Hope you have time to relax and enjoy the day. Al is going to a breakfast meeting this morning with all the other fantasy football players. Fun! I think our website is running again, and you should have gotten the devotions for the whole week: but if it happens again go to website.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Now is the time to seek God and to draw closer to Him. Every day is an opportunity to know Him in a deeper way for the day is coming when, as the familiar song goes, “Every tongue will confess You are God, One day ev’ry knee will bow.” But now is the time to willingly surrender our lives to God, while we have the opportunity, and then to share Him with others. John says in I John 4:15-16 (The Message), “Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.” People are looking for love but so often in the wrong places. There is a hunger in all of our hearts to know God, for He put it there; that hunger will not ever be satisfied with substitutes of other people or things. Some reach the top of the corporate ladder and realize that it leaves them empty; others are surrounded by friends, but still lonely for the One. Only God satisfies that longing we each have within us and one day we will run out of time to accept Him, so as the song goes why not “gladly choose Him now!” As we come to know Him, we will want to tell others so they can know real love too. We all do this in different ways for we are all different personalities and have various gifts. The Holy Spirit will direct us for He knows the heart of each person, and who is ripe and open. Just recently Al took a young man out for coffee that we have met on the Paul Bunyan trail where we walk each day. We always say hi when we see him and exchange a few words; but one day Al asked him if he would like to meet together. He said yes and really questioned why Al would want to do that. But Al just told him he would just like to get to know him and hear his story as they met outside at Caribou. Maybe down the line, as they continue to meet, Al can share the Lord with him but for now it is a chance to listen and be open to where he is at. May each of us seek the Lord daily and allow the Holy Spirit free reign to use us to win others for Him
Challenge for today: Seek to know God in new ways and ask for opportunities to share Him with others.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
 
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