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: March 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

March 31, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are finding Holy week meaningful for you.  This morning I made choc covered raspberries, went to my exercise class and shopped for prizes for our North Carolina grandsons. We are going there in April!!!!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How free are we? Hopefully we are on the road to more and more freedom in our lives. I have been reading about the Israelites, leaving their bondage of Egypt and gaining freedom as they went towards Canaan, the land of milk and honey. They had to leave behind their routines, security, and slave life to go towards a life of faith and dependency on the Lord. Isn’t it a picture of all of us who were once in bondage to our selfish sinful nature and then freed to walk the new way in the Lord? The 10 commandments were given to help them and us to live under God’s protective hand and to preserve a free life. Just as it took them a while to experience how to live free, so it is with us. We all have to get free of our slave mentality to and to learn how to live by faith in our God we can’t see physically with our eyes just yet. Pastor Eugene Peterson writes about what that must have been like for the people when Moses climbed up to Mt. Sinai to receive instructions from the Lord and was gone a long time. The people were used to working hard every day as slaves, and now they had time to fill as they waited for Moses to come down again. They got tired of waiting with so much empty space to fill and demanded Aaron to make them a god of their own that they could see, a golden calf. Big mistake! They just couldn’t wait and were bored and tried to fill it with the way of the world. God was very angry because of their sin and Moses pleaded to God for mercy. Before we are quick to judge them, we have only to look at ourselves and the many times we rebel and blow it and deserve His wrath. Maybe we get anxious or bored or rebellious and gravitate to the gods of this world. How much we need His grace and that the new will take hold in our lives, as it says in II Cor. 5:17 (ESV), “Therefore, it anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” Just as the Israelites had to get accustomed to a life of freedom and get over their old slave habits, so do we, and it takes time. We have only to ask for help and grace to live as His free sons and daughters.
Challenge for today: Be willing to give up old habits that enslave and enter into the new life God has for you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 30, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. It is cold and windy and even a few snowflakes today! Emoji This morning I made a two layer choc cake and went downstairs for coffee and Rice Krispie bars. This afternoon I plan to make bread. Please continue prayers for Gen. Her dad and sister are flying out to see her again at Easter; hospice told them they should  come soon as she’s been given one week to a month. Prayers for the whole family appreciated. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are told to walk by faith, not by sight and the life of faith is not dull; it is full of exciting surprises as we never know what the Lord is up to. I must admit I like comfort and safety, and especially to be toasty warm. Just imagining my cousin who is walking across America and spending some cold nights outside in her little tent, sends shivers up my spine. But I know it is an adventure for her and she will have so much to share of all that she and her daughter and son-in-law are learning. The life of faith is one of action and enables us to trust God for everything, even for a warm place to pitch our tent, out of the wind! We have to put our faith into action and act on the faith we have. I woke up this morning after experiencing a dream of people coming to our place. The first few were invited and I had made food for them but more and more kept coming and I was finding tables and chairs and trying to seat them all. I woke before I realized I would never have enough food for all of those, but they were given a place to rest and to be with others. We especially need faith in this day when everything is changing and many of our liberties are being taken away. Our faith may waver at times, but it is strengthened as we are bound together with others and we are given courage to act. When we exercise our faith, we show that we have complete trust and confidence in the Lord. We may not know how things are going to turn out but we trust Him. Jesus said in Mark 11:24 (ESV), “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” People of faith need to come together and to encourage one another and listen to what the Lord is saying. Just yesterday as we were out on the trail we stopped to visit with new friends. We shared pleasantries and then they shared their grief of how they lost their son just last month and were going through all their son’s belongings.  Sometimes we are simply to be quiet and listen and to pray. Let us live by faith, walk by faith and share our faith!
Challenge for today: Ask forgiveness for any unbelief and pray for courage to act in faith.
Blessings on  your Holy Week and prayers and love, Judy

March 29, 2021

Dear Ones,
A blessed Holy Week to you! I’m sure many of you waved palm branches yesterday, as we did, while Pastor and the children went down the aisles at church. The sun is shining but so windy. This morning I made egg dishes and went to Aldi’s and my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How present are we with others? Are we fully present or are we distracted as we seek to check our phones and devices every few minutes? I was reading Richard Foster’s book, Sanctuary of the Soul, and he writes how distraction is one of the biggest problems today as there is so much visual stimuli, texting, e-mailing; saying more and more about less and less. He shares how when he travels and goes to speak, he is focused on the moment and the people he is with and does not multitask but is fully present. That spoke to me as I am so often multitasking and even when I am at my exercise class, I am planning menus as I dance and lift weights etc. But I notice those times I am just focused on what I am doing in the present, how enjoyable that is. Sometimes it is just good for all of us to unplug from our noisy world, and take in all that we observe and is happening right then. I love to walk in nature and especially like to notice the wild flowers, the wind in the trees, the little animals scurrying about etc. It can be for all of us, a time to listen and to hear what the Lord is wanting to say to us since we are not bombarded by other stimuli. We have noisy hearts and wondering minds and need to gear down at times to refocus, instead of being so wired. It feels right and good when we can be joyfully present to others and enter into their lives. Instead of rushing on into the next thing, let us wait and enjoy the moment we are in. David said in Ps. 27:14 (God’s Word), “Wait with hope for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Yes, wait with hope for the Lord.” When we pause and wait, rather than being distracted by all that is going on about us, we find it can be a time of refreshing and renewal.
Let us ask the Lord to help us lay aside distractions and be present where He has placed us each moment.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to give you a quiet heart, and to be fully present throughout your day. 
Blessings on your Holy Week and prayers and love, Judy

Peace, Peace – and no Peace

Watching and reading the media’s narrative on the state of our nation, I often visualize bandages being applied to deep cultural wounds.  These wounds fester beneath the surface, producing enormous amounts of pent-up anger and frustration that will one day boil over in lawlessness.  I feel I’m being force-fed a false sense of peace when spiritually I can see the dark clouds on the horizon.  I want to shout, “Wake up America!! You’re being fed a lie!”

Twice Jeremiah warned the prophets and priests of his day about covering up their sins with bandages.  “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11). They were giving people false assurances that everything was well. It was like putting bandages on cancer and declaring people healed.  As a nation we can ignore the reality of having strayed from God for only so long.  Bandages only create an illusion of wellness.

Later Jeremiah complains to God about the prophets, “O Sovereign Lord, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well – no war or famine will come.  The Lord will surely send you peace’” (Jer. 14:13 NLT).  God responded, “These prophets are telling lies in my name.  I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts” (Jer. 14:14 NLT).   

Even more indicting are the words of Jer. 23:17, “They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’  And those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!'” (Jer. 23:17 NLT).   

“It is a terrible thing to mislead God’s people into falsehood, complacency and immorality, to be chaplains to the unrepentant and to collude in the culture of lies” (Bible Speaks Today).  Through the mainstream media we are witnessing a massive spiritual coverup.  We are told all will be well, while we are becoming more decadent each year.  Men: don’t fall for this propaganda.

I must warn you that things are only going to get worse in society.  Here are a few convictions we must diligently live out if we are going to weather the storm that is already upon us. We don’t want to be caught believing the lie.  

First: ultimate reality is found in a loving Creator God, who has given us his Word of truth in scripture.  Here we find God’s view of reality; a worldview to live by.  Every other view of reality needs to be (and can be) measured against scripture.

Second: total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus (Joshua 24:23 NIV, James 4:7-8). No secrets, no compromises, no half-hearted commitment.  Ask continually, “Lord, what is the next right thing?”  Seek his counsels diligently and do what he prompts you to do. He will see us through the coming storm. The propaganda will only get louder and more convincing.  “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is. 5:20).

Third: commitment to kingdom living.  I am part of Jesus’ reign on the earth.  No earthly rule will last. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).  And later in Revelation: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever” (11:15).  

March 27, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We are getting the needed rainy here to help green things up, but  also means we will be walking inside today. This morning I cleaned the apartment and made stroganoff and stir fry veggie dish. Also, took out the summer jackets and put away most of the winter ones, but not all!  Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Often during the day, the Lord may have a divine appointment for each of us, and we have a decision to make if we will go along with it, or if we will simply carry on doing our own thing. But when we let go of our own will and embrace His, we find that there are so many blessings in store. Al and I walk the Paul Bunyan trail every day and sometimes people stop us to make conversation. Usually it is short, but other times we sense it is a God encounter. Not long ago, we greeted a man and his wife whom I have written about before, as I confessed to you that I misjudged him always walking ahead of his wife and doing most of the talking. But later found out she has memory issues and has a hard time communicating, so this works best for them. It seems like each time we met them on the trail, we visit a little longer and yesterday we actually did our walk with them. It had to be slower but afterwards, I said to Al, “Surely this was a divine appointment.” We shared together our faith stories and were blessed as we saw His hand in their lives. As we walked along they marveled at how God is so evident in nature and the surroundings where we walked. As David said in Psalm 8:1 (ESV), “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” The man told stories of his father who was such a godly man and his influence on his life. He told us how Job 12:7-13 has been speaking to him of how we can be taught by nature what God has done and behold His wisdom. In fact, he pulled out his phone and read the scripture to us as well. His wife was once a very capable doctor in charge of a whole department at the hospital but now not able to practice. He said life has struggles but that they would get through this too with God’s help. We parted as they went to their car to go home, but our hearts were uplifted and we hope our time together was an encouragement to them as well. If we would have done our brisk walk as usual, we would have missed His blessing for us. Let us not rush through life but be open to all that God has for us each day, even if it means changing our agenda.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you be aware His divine appointments that He has for you each day.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

March 26, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend! The sun finally came out and the morning clouds are gone.Emoji This morning I had in mind to clean my pantry, but started on the other kitchen cupboards first; they are nearly done but I haven’t gotten yet to the pantry! I have great news! Harris, whom I asked you to pray for got a call from the Dr. this morning. His liver scan got mixed up with someone else’s in the ER and he does not have cancer of the liver. Sad for the one who formerly got the news that he was fine and now must be told the hard news though. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, and so freeing. We all need to forgive others but also to be forgiven. Carlos Whittaker writes on Crossroads.com about how forgiveness unlocks heaven. When we choose to live in unforgiveness it is like a roadblock to all that God has for our lives and we miss out. But when we forgive, we release the other person into freedom. We are in essence saying that we no longer feel resentment against the person and no more desire to retaliate.  When we pardon someone, we are excusing the offense without exacting the penalty. It leaves us free to receive God’s love. Of course, the enemy loves to whisper lies as to why we should hang on to our resentment and tell us the person is not worthy or sorry enough. But we can ask God for help and remember how He has pardoned us. I think of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and may it be our prayer.                                                                                                                                                               
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen.”

Challenge for today: Pray the prayer of St. Francis several times this week.

March 25, 2021

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As followers of Christ, do we joyfully serve others or do we struggle with selfishness? There may be times we are outwardly doing an unselfish act but inwardly our heart is grumbling?  In fact, we may be saying, “Why now? Really! I already have a busy day and now this!” Only the Lord can give us compassionate hearts that reach out to others, as we lay aside what we want and surrender to what He has for us. It is good to give the Lord our day as we waken, and put ourselves into His hands. I find that as I am writing this I am convicted that I often run ahead of Him rather than waiting for His plan. That can cause unneeded stress. But if we wait, He promises to go before us and will prepare the way for whatever is on His agenda. We may be in for surprises. Amy Pye writes how she asked a visitor at their home if he had a few things he’d like for her to wash. His daughter heard and brought loads of wash for her to do; Amy had to put love into action as she hung all those clothes outside on the line and asked God to help her do it joyfully. I think we have all had times when we volunteered for something and it turns out to be a much bigger undertaking. We also need His grace to persevere with a right attitude and take it to completion. But whatever we do, we are really doing it for the Lord. We often need reminders as Jesus said in Matt. 25:40 (God’s Word), “I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.” He has given us the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can love others with His love and unselfishly serve them giving all the glory to Him.  
Challenge for today: Listen carefully as the Lord may direct you to someone who needs your help today.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 24, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. It is a cool, rainy day and makes me want to bake. I did some food prep earlier and than a wonderful “angel” from Al’s men’s group came over; he put in a light under my upper cupboards so now I can see when I am doing food prep! Emoji I also got to my Exercize class and this afternoon we are going to Costco. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What do we do with the pain in our lives? We all have experienced pain in various forms and have felt hurt by comments made about us, betrayal by someone who we thought was a close friend, or maybe being left out and lied about. We could all fill pages of unfair treatment and life is full of hurts and disappointments but what do we do with all of that? If we hang onto those things and ruminate about them, gradually it will spill over to our kids and their kids and result in bitterness and depression and even sickness. But a better way is to let go of it and let our pain be transformed rather than being a complaining victim that keeps gathering evidence. We can use whatever words we want, but letting go is really about forgiveness. If we want a life of joy and peace, we need to forgive whatever was done to us, remembering Jesus experienced all of what we have and so much more. In fact, He gave His life so that we might be forgiven and we are to let go and forgive others. About 2/3 of Jesus teaching was on forgiveness in one form or another. We can’t look to others to fill the hole in our hearts for that only God can fill. And when we realize that, then people around us won’t feel pressured to meet up to our expectations. The Lord fulfills us, not words of acceptance from others that are changeable or working to be super successful in the eyes of the world. As a follower of Christ we are to lose our life for His sake. In Matt. 10:39 (NRSV) Jesus said, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Our false self (flesh) doesn’t want to die but unless it does our true self can’t come forth. Like the Prodigal son, we have wandered off and need to go home to our Father. Whenever we leave home to find something outside of ourselves to fill the void in our hearts, we will be disappointed. Instead we need to open up to His presence for He desires to live within each of us. As we empty ourselves and let His loving presence fill our hearts our pain will be transformed and we will come to know who we really are. Then we will begin to experience heaven here on earth!
Challenge for today: Forgive anyone who has hurt you and let the Lord transform your pain.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the day. This morning I cleaned the apartment and went down for coffee and choc covered raspberries. This afternoon we are having friends over for coffee.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 Our world is getting darker and darker as we see what is happening all around us. God is left out and sin is rampant. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, it was also sin city in his day. Paul wanted to encourage God’s people to leave their sinful ways and be lights, reflecting God’s glory. He reminds the Christians in II Cor. 4:8-10 (God’s Word), “In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies.” He then goes on to tell them not to get discouraged and that their suffering is just momentary and will produce eternal glory. Even in our suffering, we are humbled and reminded of what Jesus suffered for us. We also keep in mind our ultimate goal and look beyond what is happening today. After watching the news, it is good to remember that this is not all there is. Even though things are falling apart on the outside, God is strengthening us on the inside and pouring out His grace. The Message translations also says He is preparing a lavish celebration for us one day and we will enjoy life with Him forever. I was reading today about Moses who reminded the people in Deut. 29 not to let down their guard or get side tracked but live life God’s way. It’s best not to let our focus be on our pain and struggles, but on the Lord and His power. We will discover God often uses those difficult things to demonstrate His power in us who are so weak in ourselves. We must keep in mind our ultimate goal and reward and the joy that lasts forever. Let us encourage one another, and remember what is ahead, waiting for us. Our lives on earth are like a drop in the bucket when seen in light of eternity. May we let our lights shine in the darkness!
Challenge for today: Look back on your life and all that God has taken you through, and give Him thanks. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. This morning I made a peanut cake and went to Aldi’s and to my exercise class. It’s a beautiful day sunny and can’t wait to go on our walk. On Saturday we walked  at the Arbortum and they still had the Christmas lights up. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Have you noticed how often when we do something for someone else it seems to come back to us in a variety of ways? It makes me think of what King Solomon had to say in Eccl. 11:1(ESV), “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” He uses this as a metaphor, and it could be a generous deed we do, which surprisedly brings us a return. Maybe the Lord impresses upon us to do an act of kindness and show generosity in some way, even though it may seem unlikely that the good we did, will come back to us. Such was the case for a friend of mine who recently shared with me about a loving music/voice teacher she had who had the most profound influence on her life. (He was second, only to her mom). Years ago, when she was a senior in high school, she was going through a hard time and attributes him to saving her from a “nervous breakdown”. I know my friend as a very hard worker for I observed her when we were in nurses training together. But at the time, during high school, she had so much on her plate that and she felt depressed and had a hard time to sing. She grew up on a farm and had an overload of farm work to do besides her own homework and trying to catch up after missing school because of having the Asian Flu. Her music teacher was very perceptive and made a way for her to have extra hours during the school day to study and encouraged her. He was very loving and wise and through the years gave her tutelage in music, and gave her wise counsel as she got her music degree. She is so grateful to him through all the years he has been there for her; and she uses her voice and playing for God’s glory. But just recently he has needed her help since he and his wife have no children or relatives nearby. He has serious health concerns and needs her to help navigate through his present health crises. I’m sure way back when my friend was in high school and college, her music director never imagined that one day she would return the kindness he showed her. It says in Prov. 11:18b (NRSV), “But those who sow righteousness get a true reward.” We are to do good as directed by the Lord, and then leave the results up to God. Often times our bread comes back to us, not necessarily always, but let us remember to always do it for His sake.
Challenge for today: When you are prompted to do some good deed, remember to thank the Lord if it should come back to you some day.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love Judy
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