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 2021 (Page 1 of 3)

January 30, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. My nephew’s family just stopped in for a visit and they have another hockey game next. This morning I baked cookies and did food prep and studied, and this afternoon we hope to get outside for our walk.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How then do we live? Each day is an opportunity to live for the Lord rather than to live for ourselves. Do we live with the belief of who we are in the Lord? When we come to receive the Lord, we are made new as it says in II Cor. 5:17 (God’s Word), “Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” We are to live each day as His new creation and apply faith to our daily life. Brother Lawrence said, spirituality depends less on what we are doing and more on why and for whom we do it. A question to often ask ourselves, “Am I living to please the Lord or am I living to please men?” If the answer is to please the Lord, it could be that we will have to make changes in our lives to live more deliberately for His kingdom. We are called to die daily to our own false self that wants to be in control, that wants to live for ourselves and our own comfort. But in dying to ourselves we come to really live! We are not meant to be the center of the universe but to center our lives on God. Yes, life is not always easy as we go through struggles, but in the process, we come to know how much we need the Lord and to rely on His strength. We can do all kinds of spiritual disciplines like fasting, centering prayer, memorizing scripture etc. but the truth is if it doesn’t affect our daily life and how we relate to others, then something is wrong. We should be known for how we treat others and show them love. We are called to live for God right where we are.  When change happens in us, the world around us can be changed. How much that is needed right now in America! The Lord wants to work through us if we are willing, but He won’t force His will on us. However, if we practice living God’s way, we will find our hearts are full, and our lives have meaning and purpose. Let us live for God right where we are, no matter the cost!
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you daily die to self and to please Him by expressing His love to others.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 29, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! We are expecting my nephew’s family to stop by as they are here in Brainerd for their son’s Hockey games. Our granddaughter is playing Soccer in MN too but unfortunately only one parent allowed into the game. EmojiAl is off to have lunch with one of the men from his Band of Brother’s class. This morning I cleaned the apartment and made a stir fry dish and studied. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we feel at times that God is stretching our faith? Perhaps we feel He is asking us to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense at the time or could be beyond what we feel capable of doing. And yet He wants our obedience even before we understand or see results. I think many people we read of in the Bible must have had questions at the time and yet they did what Jesus asked. Now what if we were one of the servants at the wedding of Cana and Jesus told us to fill 6 big water pots with water; would we do it and whine under our breath of all the work to fill containers that held up to 30 gallons of water and for what? But Jesus had purpose and turned the water into the best wine ever! Sometimes when we are called to do something small and obey, the Lord turns it into something big. Years ago, two students at Whitworth University went to a run-down hotel in downtown Spokane and made a few sack lunches for the poor people living there. Other students joined them and years later there is a wonderful ministry happening as hundreds of meals are distributed each week to those that live in shabby hotels  there, plus they are able to share the gospel with them. All because two students took a step of faith and obedience. We may have no idea why God is asking us to do something but Gerald Sittser said, “Give God an inch and He takes a mile, one step at a time. We take one small risk; years later we look back and marvel at what has happened as a result.” It could be that we invite a neighbor or two for coffee and it leads to having a weekly Bible Study. Or maybe going on a short term mission to Mexico and ending up being a missionary. That happened to two gals from our church in D.M and they ended up in South America. Often we see a need and pray as we take a small step to address the need; before long,  others may respond and join us and it can lead to a full time work for the Lord. Our part is to obey when we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us and leave the results up to Him. Like the song goes, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. Jesus said in John 15:14 (ESV) “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
Challenge for today: Step out in faith and obedience when you sense the Holy Spirit directing you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 28, 2021

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How well do we love ourselves?  Humm! Many of us find it hard to know the fine line between a healthy loving of ourselves and self-centeredness. I read an article on Crosswalk.com by Cortni Marraggo on reasons to love ourselves so we can better love others.  Jesus said in Matt. 22:39 (The Message), “Love others as well as you love yourself.” We don’t want to be selfish but neither should we look down on ourselves and not feel valued. Cortni used I Cor. 13, the love chapter, to help us know how to love ourselves in the right way, the same way we love others. She said love is patient. We need to be patient with ourselves, just as Jesus is with us. We haven’t arrived yet and need His grace when we make mistakes, so let us not be hard on ourselves. Love is kind and we are to be kind to ourselves. It is easy to think only of the needs of others and neglect ourselves When we take time to enjoy a massage or an evening out, we have more in reserve to give to others. Love doesn’t envy. When we know God has a plan for our lives and loves us, we have no need to envy others. We can rejoice with their successes. Love is not boastful and proud. When we recognize all that we are and have is a gift from God, we can live in thankfulness and not pride. Love doesn’t dishonor. We are to be polite with ourselves and not engage in self talk that calls ourselves stupid or a loser etc. Love is not self-serving but instead we choose to go with God’s plan. As we do, we will have peace and can extend grace to others. Love is not easily angered. That means we don’t get all worked up over things and harbor resentments. Instead we remain at peace and have a calming influence on others. Love is forgiving. If we refuse to keep a record of all our mistakes and let them define us, then we can better love others. Love doesn’t delight in evil or rejoice when bad things happen to others but rather rejoices when they are blessed with good things. Love protects our own needs and helps us to live in a balanced way with time for God. Love trusts and believes God is working in our lives so we can also believe in others. Love hopes and believes we can be changed and more like Him. Finally, love perseveres and doesn’t give up on ourselves but stays positive. May we love ourselves so that when others observe us doing these things, they will believe God can work in their lives also.
Challenge for today: Do something kind for yourself today.  
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 

January 27, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a peaceful day. I made several dishes this morning and went to my exercise class. I also took a picture of Al’s ear wound and sent into our dermatologist so he doesn’t have to go back until Monday to have stitches out. It looks ugly but is healing. Al had  the men’s Soul Care group this morning and soon we are going for our walk early today. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Has anyone ever called you a saint? In the New Testament all believers were called Saints but some showed great faith and willingness to lay down even their lives. In Hebrews 11 we can read of the Hall of Fame (or the Hall of Faith) of those saints who gave their lives for the Lord in some extraordinary ways. We are given examples to follow of those who conquered kingdoms, built an ark before it rained, left home to go to a country God would show him etc. But some of them by faith also endured being imprisoned, tortured and stoned to death. These are examples to help us look to Jesus and to run the race set before us with perseverance. (Heb. 12:1). We can also read spiritual biographies of saints who inspire us to be faithful to the Lord and become transformed more and more to be like Him. We all grow through the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives and not by self-effort that will run out. It doesn’t happen all at once either and sometimes we need encouragement and to read of someone who has blazed a trail for us. We are uplifted by their example of total abandonment to the Lord and their obedience. Some people today meet regularly with a spiritual mentor who is ahead in years and learn from them. Perhaps we can be inspired by stories of such people as John Chrysostom who was a pastor, leader, preacher, writer, scholar, and known as “Golden Mouth” because of his great preaching. He was born in Antioch and his father died when he was a young boy. His mother raised him and his sister with the best education; but instead of law, he went to a monastery for two years and was in isolation for four more years where he prayed and memorized most of the New Testament. He became a priest in 386 and when rioting broke out in Antioch, he preached every day with great passion and became quite famous. He was kidnaped by a government official who wanted this great preacher to serve the church in Constantinople and the imperial family. But Chrysostom didn’t just serve those in power but fed the poor and widows, built hospitals, reformed the clergy etc. He preached about God’s compassion and said the church is a place where forgiveness is granted and not a place where punishment is exacted. He spoke boldly about the abuse of wealth, even though there were wealthy members of the court present. He told them to invest their resources in the poor. A jealous bishop brought charges against Chrysostom and he was removed from office and from the city; people rioted until he was brought back. Another time the emperor sent him into exile and he went to a remote place by the sea and collapsed. He gave his clothes away, received communion and died after saying, “Glory be to God in all things. Amen.” His life touched so many people and God wants to use our lives to make a difference too.
Challenge for today: Be aware of those who God may put in your life to help you in the transformation process. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 26, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying your day! This morning I did lots of food prep, made a blueberry salad dressing, egg dishes etc. and went to Aldi’s. This afternoon we are going to Costco and then to Walgreens for bandages for Al’s ear wound. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I think the enemy must be rejoicing when he sees the division in our nation; especially Christians pitted against one another because they may have differing views. That should not be because the foundation of our relationships is in the Lord not just in a certain person or political party. Becky Beresford writes on Crosswalk.com about truths we need to cling to at this time in our nation.  God loves us all, regardless of our differences, for He gave His life for all who come to Him.  Our hope and our confidence are in Him as it says in Rom. 15:13 (The Message), “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” The hope we have in the Lord will never disappoint us for He is head over everything. He calls us to pursue peace as His followers and stand together for our enemy is the evil one and it is the devil we war against. The more he divides us the less power we have against him. We are to stand together! We don’t have to take matters into our own hands but remember that He is the judge and the Pay Back belongs to Him. It seems like things are getting darker and darker as the time for His return gets nearer. But as Christians we don’t need to be afraid, for He is our light and our salvation; we don’t need to fear anything or anyone. What is important is to keep our mind on the Lord and focus on Him. Sometimes after I watch the news, I just go to my desk and read some scriptures and get refocused. Paul tells us in I Cor. 4 16-18 not to give up even when on the outside it looks like things are falling apart; for inside God is making new life and unfolding His grace. The hard times we have to go through are nothing compared to the lavish celebration God is preparing for us one day. Let us live in unity and love!
Challenge for today: Unite and not divide, and overflow with love for others!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 25, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend! We were happy to watch Kansas City win yesterday and hope to actually be in Kansas for the Super Bowl. This morning Al had cancer removed from from his ear and so glad our Dermatologist caught it during his annual check up. I went to my exercise class and did some studying.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How do we get along with those who seem difficult to love? I was reading what Joanna Teigen had to say on Crosswalk.com as she wrote about, “How to cope when your spouse is driving you crazy.” But I think what she had to say may be helpful for each of us in loving others, anyone who may be quite different from us and seems to get under our skin. She begins by telling us to give thanks for the good we see in our partner. Try to see them from another point of view as seen by others as a good boss, a helpful neighbor, a faithful Elder etc. Then to pray for our spouse and put his failings in God’s hands. If he has a bad attitude, also pray for our own attitude and to be filled with God’s love and compassion. Try to see them through God’s eyes as someone fearfully and wonderfully made. Remember that God looks at them as a chosen possession, treasured, honored and loved. The next thing is especially important for Joanna tells us to look in the mirror ourselves and see the speck that is in our own eye. Rather than focus on their failures and irritations pray Psalm 139:23 (NRSV), “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” As we look at what needs to be corrected in ourselves, we will be more patient with our partner on his growth journey. Rather than criticizing and judging him, we can be supportive as the Holy Spirit works changes in him. But Joanna also tells us if we are ready to explode, sometimes we may need to just walk out the door and reach out to a trusted mature Christian friend. This would be someone who can listen to us and hear our confession of our own bitterness and help us get a fresh perspective. I have to say I am very blessed to have a hubby that has heard a teaching about the man being the first to ask forgiveness and he really practices that. It humbles me when he kneels before me to ask my forgiveness and my heart melts to also see my failures. Let us do our part in being good confessors, forgivers, lovers of others, and practice what Jesus told us to do.
Challenge for today: The next time a friend or your spouse drives you crazy, go apart and pray  Psalm139:23.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

A Contact Sport

“A contact sport.”  When I saw this theme for a United Methodist Men’s national gathering, I thought to myself: “Blog.”  “The practice of discipleship is a ‘contact sport’ and cannot be ignored,” explained the event’s organizers.  “Most members of the United Methodist Church can recite the mission statement of our church… What appears to be missing in many places is a systematic way within local churches to make disciples that are transforming the world.”  This is certainly a challenge for each man reading this blog, including myself.

Being a former high school “jock” (Class of ’59), I think of the smell of sweat when I think of contact sports.  That sent me to II Cor. 2:15: “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.  But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.  To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.  But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume” (II Cor. 2:15). 

So, what kind of aroma do we give off in our relationships? “As the gospel aroma is released in the world through Christian testimony, it is always sweet-smelling, even though it may be received differently.  Ultimately there are two kinds of people: those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (NIVSB).

Here are four observations about aroma (sweat) and men.  First, we need to know Jesus personally.  If we are to be the aroma of Christ, Christ must be absorbed through relationship. Facts and methods will not do the job. We need to have an open spirit so Jesus can pour His presence (and aroma) into us.  Only then can we give off the aroma of Christ. You can’t fake it; it has to be real.  

Second, when I think of how men are brought to Jesus, it is usually through another man or a group of men.  There is something that is assimilated or absorbed that opens a man’s heart to God.  It was true for me.  As a younger man, I was drawn to men who simply had Christ’s presence about them.  They were giving off the aroma of Christ without knowing it.

Third, find a group of men that “gives off the aroma” of Christ. This is especially important. Remember, masculinity is not something that is primarily taught; it is rather caught and assimilated.  A group of men committed to Jesus, wanting to be honest and transparent, and willing to reach out to a “wounded” brother*, can mean the difference between life and death in a man’s life.

Fourth, there is something powerful about a group of guys who have worked up a good sweat, giving all they have for a good cause.  That is how brotherhood and unity are built. Picture a group of guys that senses, “in the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ” (II Cor. 2;14 MGS).  Wow! This is real “mojo!” 

Men, take it from me: You are going to smell like something.  With all your heart, desire to give off the aroma of Christ.  Think of a group of guys doing the same thing.  I picture a football team coming out together to start the game, running through the smoke, with flags and cheerleaders urging them on. 

That’s who we are.  We are going into the conflict already knowing that we are ultimately going to win.  We want other men, even “wounded” soldiers*, to join in that “triumphal procession.

* See: Rescuing a Brother, Dec. 21, 2020

January 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend! Our apartment is full of aroma as I made 2 Mexican pies and a pot of chili. Also, cleaned today and hope to go through some papers to get rid of. We had an enjoyable afternoon with friends yesterday. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Our whole lives belong to the Lord! Everything we do during the day has purpose when we live for Him. There isn’t a division between what is spiritual and what is secular, for whatever we do we are to do it as unto the Lord. That makes even our mundane ordinary days bright with joy and promise. Since dealing with COVID, our lives have all changed and for many it means less meetings or going into work and more time at home.  For some it may mean no long commutes to the office and having more   time to spend with the Lord first thing in the morning. Rather than stressing to find time to sandwich in a Bible Study in a busy week, we now look forward to Bible study and getting out to be with others in fellowship.  (and social distancing of course) Hopefully we have grown during this time and have learned to love others with differing views, spent more time in prayer, and practiced turning the other cheek. And hopefully we have experienced what it means to give all our cares to Him and not be anxious and full of worry. May we also have learned how important to leave room if the Lord should change our schedule and interrupt our plans, for we can be assured He has something greater that may be happening behind the scenes that we cannot see. Then as we look back at the end of the day, we may be in awe as to how the Lord worked out things to accomplish something greater for His kingdom. We must remember that every day is the Lord’s when we belong to Him and it says in Psalms 118:24(ESV), “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” There may be days we don’t feel like celebrating but we can tell Him how we feel and thank Him as He helps us to remember reasons to rejoice. Fred Hammond wrote a song based on this scripture and part of it goes, “No matter what comes next, I’m going to stand up and give Him praise ‘cause this is the day…. this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, glad in it.” Let us awaken with a song to sing to the One who gives us another day to praise Him.
Challenge for the day: Spend some time just praising the Lord for the many ways you have to rejoice in Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 22, 2021

Dear Ones, 
Happy weekend to you! It’s sunny out but quite cold today. Will see if we brave the cold and walk the trail later. This morning I baked two kinds of cookies and did some studying. This afternoon we have been invited to friends for coffee! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Prayer is powerful and I wonder if we know what a difference our prayers can make. How often do we recite the Lord’s prayer or mumble some words at bedtime without realizing we are talking to the Creator of the universe. Sometimes the Lord lets us tangibly see the effects of our prayers in a dramatic way. Such was the case I read of in Ann Spangler’s devotional book as she shared about a specific instance in Fern Nichols life when she felt called to pray for her husband and their 10-year- old son. They were on a canoe trip with friends in Canada and Fern was led to intercede for them. She didn’t shrug off the need to pray but paid attention and for an hour prayed through scriptures of protection over them and also promises of God. Psalm 91:14 (NIV) stood out to her, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” That night Fern knew why she had prayed so fervently, as she got a call from her husband explaining their struggle he and their son had that afternoon. Their canoe capsized in raging waters of the Fraser River, and for an hour they and their friends were in the icy water. A helicopter finally rescued them and the paramedic told her husband that their son would have died from hypothermia had it been just 10 more minutes in the frigid water. Fern realized that the very time they were their fighting for their lives, was the same time she had been praying! Four people were saved through her prayers and how thankful she was she paid attention to the Spirit calling her to pray. Perhaps we can all think of instances when we have suddenly been led to stop and pray and later find out how the Lord intervened. When our son was in his teens, I was awakened to pray for him and later he shared how he had witnessed such a great power of evil and was able to get set free. We don’t always know the reasons we are to pray for someone or something but we need to respond. Paul told the Ephesian church to pray in the Spirit at all times and to stay alert and persist in prayers. Let us be faithful and persistent in prayer!
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to use you as a prayer warrior and respond to the Spirit when He prompts you.  
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 21, 2021

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is good to remember when we go through stressful times such as unrest in our nation, COVID etc, that we are not alone. God is our helper! He is with us in our midst of whatever is happening. On Crosswalk.com., Julie Barrier wrote of how many of the hymns we know today were written by people of faith in the midst of troubles, wars, and plagues. When I read the stories of what the writers were experiencing at the time, I know the words will be even more meaningful when sung; they wrote about that which they knew and experienced. Pastor Martin Rinckart composed a song that we probably all know, and it was written in the midst of the Bubonic plague. Martin was the son of a poor coppersmith and became a Lutheran pastor sent to Eilenberg, Germany, which was a very small town ravaged by the Thirty Years War. He pastored there for 31 years under great hardship. The Swedish army set siege around their city wall and the whole town was overrun by refugees looking for a safe place. Shortly after, the Bubonic plague broke out and almost 5,000 died within a year. Food was scarce and many starving people showed up at his door. He could barely feed his own family and yet gave what he could away.  Pastor Rinckart took care of the sick and dying and was the only Pastor left to bury the dead, which included his own wife.  Sometimes he performed up to 50 funerals a day and but even in the midst of all this sorrow, he wrote the words to Now Thank We All Our God. You have most likely sung in in church too. The words are:

1.“Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

2.     Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

3.     All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven—
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.”

May we trust God whatever our circumstances, and even in the midst. give thanks.
Challenge for today: Spend some time thanking the Lord for where He has you right now.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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