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: October 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

October 20,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a wonderful day. We will soon be heading to MN. and spent last night in Iowa City where there was snow.  I got to swim again and we enjoyed a restful evening. We see the forecast for more snow as we head North, so appreciate your prayers for the last of our journey. We’ve had a  wonderful trip and so grateful to the Lord. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Pride seems to be the root of most every sin. Lately I have been reminded of how we need to guard against pride every day and let the Holy Spirit show us the subtle ways it presents itself in our lives. Maybe we are guilty of name dropping or incidentally inserting into our conversation that we own the company; or how much we gave to a cause etc. I have been reading from the book of Daniel and what a difference there was between Daniel and the King. Daniel was taken captive to Babylon, along with other handsome wise men to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. But Daniel was humble and didn’t think he knew it all; when asked to tell and interpret the king’s dream, he went first to the Lord. When he received the answer he quickly acknowledged where the answer came from and said in Daniel 2;20 (NRSV), “Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are His.” He told the King that it was the God in heaven that revealed mysteries, not him. The king however, was prideful and even though he acknowledged that Daniel’s God was the God of gods he didn’t fear or worship the Lord. He thought of himself as a god and built a statue of himself for others to worship. Even when the 3 friends of Daniel were miraculously delivered from the fiery furnace, he recognized God’s power but didn’t submit to Him. Again, after Daniel interpreted the dream of the great tree that was hewn down, symbolizing the king and a warning to him, he never repented. One day when strutting around on the roof of the palace, he spoke about his own mighty power that had created all the magnificent beauty he saw.  His extreme pride led him to 7 years of mental illness when he became like an animal, eating grass and had nails like claws. It took that long before he could give God the credit and praised Him. When he did, he was restored and said that God rules and is able to bring low those who walk in pride. May we walk in humility and give God the glory. 
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of pride and quickly repent.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 

October 19,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend! We enjoyed our time with Mark’s family so much and had church with them before we left yesterday. Sadly we had to say good-by and then began our long trip home. We went as far as Frankfort, Kentucky and got in heavy traffic, most of the way here. Is everyone out looking at the beautiful display of colored leaves?! Thankful for your prayers for safety! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Time runs out for all of us one day. We don’t know when that exact time is, but it is coming. We just got word that a sweet friend at our apt. complex just died and  5 of her 8 children were with her. Two more of our friends lost their fathers last week and since they were not in a hospital, they were able to be with them until the very end. What a blessing that is to be holding their hand when the Lord reaches out His hand to take them home. When we think of our days in light of eternity, we are left with the question of what is really important. We each have 24 hours in a day and how we spend it is up to us. I don’t think most people on their death bed think, oh I wish I had just made a little more money; or I wish I had gotten another degree. No, I think it is more likely that we wish we would have spent more time with our loved ones and to let them know how much they mean to us. Or that we would have helped more people who were struggling, and shared the Lord with those around us. Even if we are young, we have no assurance that we will live to be 90. None of us know what a day will bring and how many days we will have; we are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. David prayed in Psalm 39:4-6 (God’s Word), “Teach me, O Lord, about the end of my life. Teach me about the number of days I have left so that I may know how temporary my life is. Indeed, you have made the length of my days only a few inches. My life span is nothing compared to yours. Certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind.” He goes on to say his hope is in the Lord. Let us make every day count and use our time with eternity in view.
Challenge for today: Don’t put off what is important to do today.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

Return to the Lord

These are words of the prophet Joel, calling for repentance, knowing that God’s judgment was near.  It has been difficult to either date or trace the prophecy of Joel to a person or place.  “The events  described in it are, at one and the same time, unprecedented and timeless.  The message of Joel is, therefore, relevant to any situation in any generation.  What can it say to us?” (Bible Speaks Today)

Joel warns of judgment.  “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful.  Who can endure it” (2:11).  The land trembled as does America today.  As a nation we have turned from God.  Do we hear the warnings?   Who can save us?  “I don’t see our nation able to go much further unless we repent and call upon the name of Almighty God,” observes Franklin Graham.

Joel saw judgment coming in the form of an invasion of locusts.  God was giving warning that conditions were ripe for judgment. “Joel had the courage to talk of God’s direct and personal involvement in current affairs and to assert that he and he alone had the answers to the national crisis” (Bible Speaks Today).  For us the question would be, “Where are the locusts today in our technologically brilliant but ethically bankrupt society?” (BST)

Joel alerts the people to prepare, “for the day of the lord is coming” ( 2:1). “He is emphasizing as strongly as he knows how that the great and terrible day is imminent” (BST).  It might not be the final judgment, but it will mean  present judgment and change.  “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful.  Who can endure it?” (2:11). The nation needed to wake up and pay heed.  “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming” (2:1).  

Men, I believe the trumpet has been sounding.  Darkness is descending on our nation.  Outright rebellion against God’s moral standard is being openly flaunted, while politicians on both sides bombard each other in ever despiteful language.  I often wonder if there is any hope for the healing of our nation.

Joel’s answer is clear.  It is a matter of repentance and returning to God.  Men, instead of getting caught up in the heated rhetoric of the dominant narrative of our day, especially during this electoral period, Joel tells us to “cry out to the Lord.”  I do that continually throughout the day,  knowing only God can healing what is displayed daily on TV.    

God is looking for a change in heart.  Are we prepared for what is coming. “‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning'” (2:12).  “Rend your heart, and not your garments” ( 2:13).  This is soulful behavior, not just talk, motivated by anger, fear and frustration.  God is looking for heart felt, passionate crying out to him. 

Why would God listen to men, when the culture is being stiff-necked.  Because God cares about the condition of our nation, “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…” (2:13).  Can God be persuaded.  “Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse” ( 2:14 – MSG).  

It could be that God might, “repay you for the years the locust have eaten” (2:25).  God is able to send a mighty “awakening.” “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (2:28).  

 

 

October 17, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. We are enjoying our time with Mark’s family in a big way. The grandsons are delightful, and each their own person. Last night we had a nerf gun war with bullets all over the place and today is more games outside and in the house with prizes. Andrea is better today but still a ways to go, so do keep praying for her ears and dizziness etc. 
We will leave again tomorrow after church and begin the long trip home. But it was so worth coming, even if it was short and sweet! We appreciate prayers for our safety and hope to be home Tuesday evening so Al can do his men’s Soul Care group on Wed. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
God has blessed each of us with so much that we will never be able to fully express our gratitude. His death for us on the cross was the greatest sacrifice ever, and He continues to bless us in so many ways each day. Romans 8:32 Paul says, “He who did not spare His Son, but gave Himself for us all-how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.” It is good at night, before we go to sleep, to review our day and to see how God has been with us and blessed us, and to express our thankfulness. I love to review even the little ways that He surprises me and seems like little miracles. And just like our earthly father likes to give gifts, so our Heavenly Father loves to give us good gifts. My dad was a generous man and loved to give to us kids, as well as, missionaries and unexpecting people.  His gifts often came to us when we were in great need, like when Al was in seminary, and we were so thankful. But our Heavenly Father, even more so, loves to rain blessings on us; and if we pause, we can see His hand moving in our behalf. On our trip to N.C. we intended to go to a certain motel. But when we got there, it didn’t appear very well kept, so we decided to keep looking. That’s when we found one that had a big pool with a glass ceiling, and doors that opened to the patio deck with chairs just waiting for us to recline in.  As I swam, I just praised the Lord for granting us this surprise and enjoyed the afternoon of spiritual reading. There may be times we feel like God is withholding or late in giving His gifts, but He knows what is best. It could be that He is doing a deep work in the transformation process of our lives. But let us remember that the best gifts may not be tangible things we can hold in our hands but peace and contentment and joy that we experience in our hearts.
Challenge for today: As the song goes, “Count your blessings, name them one by one…And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

 

 

October 16, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Thank you for your prayers as we arrived safely to our son’s after the long trip. Wonderful to see them all and spent time visitng together and playing games both outdoors and indoors with the boys after we arrived. We feel bad for Andrea as she has an ear infection which leaves her feeling dizzy and nauseated. She is on meds and is better today for which we are thankful. We just got back from taking Mark out for a post birthday lunch and soon the boys will be home from school. I am going outside to hide hide candy eyeballs which they must find and pick up with Halloween claws!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Those of us who grew up singing hymns will often find ourselves humming them as we go about our day or singing them as we travel to work. Somehow. we don’t forget the words as they seem indelibly imprinted on our hearts. Many hymns come from scripture so we are really memorizing verses from the Bible as we sing. I read on Crosswalk.com the stories behind the hymns and seems like each one was written in a time of difficulty as the author reached out to the Lord for help. The hymn, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Me, appeared in a children’s hymnal in 1836. It was compiled by Dorothy Thrupp and some think she also wrote the words. The music was written by a teenager, William Bradbury, who was a music student in Boston. God used this hymn to save the life of a Union soldier as I will explain. Ira Stanley was a musician and worked with Dwight L. Moody. Ira sang this hymn at a gathering one night and later one of the guests pulled him aside and asked him an unusual question. He asked Ira if he was on guard duty and named a particular night in a certain place, and Ira replied that he in fact was. The other man said he had served in the Confederate Army and as a soldier he was about to shoot this very Union soldier when the soldier started singing, “Savior like a Shepherd lead us/ Much we need Thy tender care/ In Thy pleasant pastures feed us/ For our use Thy folds prepare/ Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus/ Thou has bought us, Thine we are……” That caused the Confederate soldier to remember his own mother singing that hymn and he couldn’t shoot the Union soldier before him. That very hymn saved Ira’s life. Let us also remember that we are His sheep and He desires to care for us and lead us into all that He has for our lives. As David said in Psalm 95:6-7 (NRSV), “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
Challenge for today: Listen carefully to the voice of your shepherd.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

October 15, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a good day! We are leaving this morning and excited to go to Troutman, N.C. to see our son’s family. We had a fun day yesterday as we traveled to Corbin, Kentucky and found a nice motel that had an indoor pool with a glass ceiling and door open to a sun patio. We loved it and read outside for a while and enjoyed a long refreshing swim. What a nice surprise. We appreciate your prayers, especially as we drive in heavy traffic, and try to be safe from the virus. Thank you!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Our hearts are filled with excitement as we look forward to seeing our grandsons later today, for the first time in a year. Due to COVID we have not made our usual fourteen hundred mile -trips to N.C. to see Mark’s family and we have been lonesome for them.  I have some prizes wrapped and games planned but the best thing will be just being together. When I awoke this morning, my thoughts were on heaven and how we should have great anticipation for what awaits us some day.  Maybe it is because we saw my aunt this week who is preparing for her homecoming. Even now the Lord is making preparations for that day when we will all join Him along with our loved ones who know Him. We can’t even imagine what it will be like. Our time on earth is so short and we are like a passing shadow or a mist that appears for a short while.  David expressed it in his prayer in Psalm 103: 15-16(ESV), “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it now more.” In light of eternity, our time on earth is like a blink of the eye. Why do we spend so much time focusing on temporal things if we really believe we have an eternity with the Lord?  We must remember that when we go through hard times here on earth, for it is only temporary. We may not have a mansion here but we have one in glory; we may not be important in the eyes of this world but we are the “apple of His eye. The Apostle Paul tells us in II Cor. 4:17-18 (The Message), “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebrations prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” Let us anticipate that wonderful day that is coming and live today close to Him and our loved ones.
Challenge for today: Do something today that has eternal benefits. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 14, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a wonderful day. We have traveled 800 miles so far and are in Columbus, Indiana at another Marriott with a pool. Fortunately it is also close to Culvers and we stopped for sundaes when we went for our walk. I am not getting my anticipated reading done on this trip as we have been listening to the Supreme Court hearing and makes the time whiz by as we drive. It is beautiful here as well as leaves have turned brilliant colors.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Prayer is probably the most important thing we do in life. When we lift our minds and hearts to God, we can tell Him anything; not just all the warm fuzzies, but those times we feel afraid, alone, unloved, angry etc. He already knows, of course, but He loves to hear us and for us to acknowledge what is going on inside of us. We can tell Him anything and everything. I like to pray as I scrub the floor, swim in a pool, walk on the trail, and especially times when I am at my desk early in the morning. When we went to see my 94 year -old aunt on Monday, she said that there are so many miracles that happen each day. She had prayed and prayed for a miracle concerning a loved one and God answered her prayer that very day. As I have been reading Sacred Fire, Rolheiser tells about how Jesus disciples asked Him in Luke 11:1 “Lord teach us to pray.” They saw the depth of relationship He had with His Father. They weren’t really asking for a formula but rather how they could love like He did, be self-sacrificing as He was, forgive like He did, have divine energy etc. We are the ones that need prayer the most, especially when we are bored, have doubts, or are full of anger. We can be transparent with Him and we don’t have to stop doing to pray but can go about in the awareness that He is with us. One spiritual mentor who was teaching on prayer said, You  must try to pray so that, in your prayer, you open yourself in such a way that sometime—perhaps not today, but sometime—you are able to hear God say to you: ‘I love you!’” The Lord wants a love relationship with us!  After Jesus death, Mary goes to the tomb and asks a stranger where she can find Jesus.  Jesus answers her by simply saying her name, Mary, with great love. She then recognized him speaking to her. May we also hear Him say our name and respond to Him in love for that is what prayer is all about.
Challenge for today: Spend some time sharing with your best friend, The Lord, what is going on inside you.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 13, 2020

Dear Ones,
Thank you for your prayers. We are having a wonderful trip so far. We especially enjoyed seeing my aunt on the way yesterday and she seemed better. She talked about the miracles in her life and as always she was thinking of others. We had a time of prayer together too and we went  away blessed. We traveled nearly 500 miles  here to Coralville, Iowa where we spent the night at our favorite motel. This Marriott boarders on the woods so we had a long walk and then I had a good swim in the pool all alone. Great for prayer time too. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What does it really mean when Jesus says in Mark 12:30-31(NRSV) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength? The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  How do we love God completely and also others as we care for ourselves? We can’t carry out this command by will power but only by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. In Ronald Rolheiser’s book, Scared Fire, he asks us to picture a mansion with 30 rooms, but we give the Lord only 27 of them as we want to hold back 3 of them for ourselves. God patiently waits as He wants to inhabit all of them, for the deepest joy is found when we are willing to give up all.  Is it easy? No! The rich young ruler couldn’t do it and went away sad. Rolheizer uses the example of Jesus mother, Mary, who didn’t hold anything back. She had great faith and when the angel came to her to tell her she would be pregnant by the Holy Spirit, she just said, “Be it according to your will.” The cost of the misunderstanding she would experience from others did not hinder her from giving her all. It also says she pondered all that the angel told her. In Hebrew ponder means to hold and transform tension so as not to give it back in kind. Mary stood under the cross and was silent. She didn’t try to stop the crucifixion or protest its unfairness but stood there in strength. Her silence and strength spoke a powerful message and she chose not to get caught up in hatred and bitterness of others but radiated forgiveness. Yes, there are times to protest but there are also times that protests aren’t helpful and we need to stand under the cross and refuse to pass on the bitterness. Rolheizer admonishes us not to let the energy of an angry crowd flow through us and become the basis for our actions. Sometimes we are called to ponder and carry the tension within us and respond as Mary did if we want to help take the darkness out of the world. Jesus took in hatred of others, and transformed it and gave back love and forgiveness. Let us also love well!
Challenge for today: Be like a filter that takes what is negative around you and give back only what is good and pure.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

October 12, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Sad for the Vikings though. We had to watch to the very end. We will be on the road shortly this morning and stopping to see my aunt on our way to N.C. So excited we’re going to see Mark’s family since it has been so long and our grandsons must have grown heaps. Not sure how far we will get today but it should be beautiful with the leaves at their peek.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Don’t we love when people tell us they are praying for us, especially when we are going through difficult times? It is so comforting to know that they are asking God to give us strength to help us stand and for His comfort and peace. Holding others up in prayer is also one of the best gifts we can give another. I know we have many friends we pray for daily and rejoice with them when the answers come. We also are so grateful for those who share they daily pray for us. I read a devotional today about how Jesus prays for us and it made me realize in a deeper way, how great that blessing is. It says in Heb. 7:25 (NRSV), “Consequently He is able for all time to save those wo approach God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”  Jesus paid the price for our sins at a great cost of His very life; but He goes on to intercede for us with God. He is our advocate and personally available to us at all times. He pleads our case and knows what we are going through as He was tested in every way that we are. He did not give in to temptation but He totally understands what we go through. Just think of it; every time Satan comes to accuse us or try to get us to fall, Jesus is at the right hand of God to present our case and speak up for us. That is so amazing and comforting!  So instead of hiding the fact that we are being tempted, we are to honestly tell Him exactly what we are going through and ask for His help. He knows we will be tempted and tried and wants us to call for help. When we get a sarcastic remark aimed at us and we want to respond back the same way, we can ask the Lord to help us forgive and answer with kindness. Or if we disagree with someone who heatedly shares their opinion on Facebook, we can pray and let it go rather than giving our feedback. Sometimes all we do is say the name of Jesus and we know that He is right there helping us.
Challenge for today: Thank Jesus that He is your advocate and call on Him in every time of need. 
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

Whining and Complaining Men

This blog comes as another “Wildman” alert. In the days to come, you will be greatly tempted to complain and whine, like the Israelites in  the wilderness – “They whined like spoiled children” (Ps. 78:18 MGS).  More then ever, as the confusion gathers and the dissidence intensifies, God will raise up men whose conversation will “always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [they] may know how to answer everyone” (Col 4:6).   

Jeremiah was called to prophecy to a people who would not listen.  This will also be true for you. “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jer. 1:19).  Jeremiah had God’s assurance that he could persevere.   But He began to falter, being deeply conflicted in his calling to preach to a rebellious people.

In his self-pity he ended up blaming God.  “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?  You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.” (Jer. 15:18).  The Message says, “You’re nothing, God, but a mirage.” “How well he must have known God to feel free to speak to God with such desperate honesty” (Bible speaks today).  Men, be honest about your disillusionment that is sure to affect you in the days to come.  Be prepared for opposition. 

In his disillusionment God warns Jeremiah not to be tempted to speak “worthless words.”  This could certainly include whining and complaining. “If you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman” (15:19).  God saw the heart of Jeremiah.  Knowing he was having a hard time, he asks him to repent.  “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me” (v. 19).  He was being asked to check his attitude and repent.  You and I will be asked to do a lot of repenting before the Lord as the darkness intensifies.

Jeremiah was not to speak “worthless words,” that is, being negative and destructive in his speech.   Men, we need to keep a check our patterns of speech.  Through repentance and lament God will keep calling us back to himself.  “God calls us up and out and back from such ‘worthless words.'” ( Bible speaks today).

God comes along side of his repentant prophet.  “Let this people turn to you” is God’s advise.  Don’t let them control the narrative.  “…….but you must not turn to them” (15:19).  I have to continually do an “attitude check” so that I don’t get negative.  For men it is so easy to fall into complaining about the condition of our contentious society.  With our words and presence we are to be a light in the darkness.  Darkness only invites negativity. 

Men, hang unto the words God gave Jeremiah in his “recommissioning.”  It is similar to what Jeremiah heard in the beginning.  “I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you” (Jer. 15:20).  This is a picture of a man with courage, conviction, willing through love and grace to stay in the battle.

May God put fire in your belly, like he did for Jeremiah.  “The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones.  I’m worn out trying to hold it in.  I can’t do it any longer”(20:9-MSG).  Let the Word, God has given you, burn like fire, even if you go through some pain.  It’s men who are aflame for God that will be able to confront the darkness that is coming days. 

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