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: September 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

September 30, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. We are home now and so beautiful out my window with the colors. This morning I got downstairs for donuts and made stew and cookies and bars and blueberry bread and Ann came for an early lunch. Shortly we will be having Bible Study so we are back into our routines again. Thankful to be home again after all the miles on the road.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What would happen in our world if we demonstrated God’s love and took seriously His command to love others as ourselves? Would the world be changed?
Recently I read an article by writer Melissa Nordell, founder of Strategic Prayer Command Ministries, who shared about the Jesus People Movement that began in Orange County in 1965. It was a dire time during the Vietnam war with riots, anti-war demonstrations and protests. But it was also a time when millions were saved all across America and the world, and huge changes came to churches as barriers were broken down. Hippies in their flowered shirts and bare feet sat next to those in suits and fine gold as they worshiped together. Music also changed, and instead of organs and hymns there was contemporary music with guitars, drums, and keyboards. It all began in CA when Kay Smith and Pastor Chuck Smith started demonstrating love for the hippies. They were welcomed into the life of their church and agape love was spread and lives changed.
We remember those days as Al had completed seminary and we went to our first church in Edina in 1970-1973. Al had no prior experience working with youth, but it began as we met with 3 of the teen girls in the basement and prayed that God would work in hearts.  Our parsonage walkout basement came to be known as Pitstop and we had gatherings each week for the Jr High, High School and college kids. What happened was only the work of the Holy Spirit as young people came to the Lord, got off drugs, and began witnessing to their friends. There were times we had 100 kids in our basement all singing worship songs, and wanting to know more about the Lord. It was truly a sovereign work of God.
But just think of how the Jesus Movement began with just two willing Christians who opened their church to welcome all people with God’s love. His love makes all the difference! The Apostle John wrote in I John 4:7-8 (God’s Word), “Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love.” We can’t know God if we don’t love!  God’s love is unconditional and the choice is ours to love and show it with our actions. Let us take God’s command to heart and then watch as His love changes everything.
Challenge for today: Ask God to show you, where selfishness gets in the way of sharing His love, and repent. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 29, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you face this day with anticipation. We spent the night in Albert Lea, and had a relaxing evening with a swim and walk and today we hope to get home….with a stop at Barnes and Noble on our way. Emoji We have enjoyed our time away and it’s always good to get home again too.
Good news Marlene had a false positive so does not have covid. Our grandson, Joe, has covid along with 1/3 of his class of  Marines. He is not real sick but feels like the flu. If he isn’t well in 10 days he will have to go home and start again in January. Please pray! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How well do we listen? The Lord is always speaking but are we listening? He doesn’t speak in a foreign language that we can’t understand but in a voice of grace and mercy. We need to stop and quietly listen, so our hearts can discern what He is saying to us. He told us that He is our Shepherd and that as His sheep we can hear His voice. In John 10:4 (Amplified) it says, “He walks on before them, and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” Sometimes His voice seems barely above a whisper so we have to really dial down and listen. 
I am reading a book by Richard Foster called Sanctuary of the Soul; he shares how we are a dwelling place for God as it says in Eph.2 22 (ESV), “In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” He shares about Teresa of Avila who prayed, “O my Lord, since it seems You have determined to save me…. Don’t you think it would be good …if the inn where you have to dwell continually would not get so dirty?” I identify with her and know my heart needs constant cleansing. It’s not unlike our homes that after we clean, we soon find that there is more dust and dirt to clean up.  
But even in our own transformation process we are totally dependent on the Lord as only He clean up our messes and change our heart. We cannot! When we seek to be quiet and really listen to what He has to say, we need to let go of distractions and release them and surrender to the Lord; that includes all of our worries and cares. What follows is usually a time of confession of all those things that come to light. We let go of our ways and accept whatever the Lord wants for us. Then as we read scripture it is to experience the Lord, not to learn facts but to be attentive to what He has so say. Our spirit is alert and listening and we seek to discern what He is saying to us, which will always be consistent with the Word. Do we always get it right? Probably not but may we have a teachable spirit so we get better at hearing and responding.
Challenge for today: Spend some quiet moments not talking but just listening to the Lord. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 28, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine. We left yesterday morning after a  wonderful time with our son’s family. We made it as far as Brownsberg, Indiana last night, after going 600 miles. Always so thankful to get to our motel after a day of heavy traffic and then we went for a long walk. Our thank you again for prayers. Lily is back to school now and needs no pain medication. PTL! Marlene got Covid while in the hospital recovering from her hip surgery even though vaccinated. Appreciate prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We have only one life to live and let us live it for the Lord! Only what is done for Him is lasting.
I was reading this morning a prayer of King David after God saved him from his enemies and from Saul. He was so grateful for how God had protected him and rescued him and given him victory. His heart was full of praise and he says in II Sam. 22:21-25 (The Message), “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. When I cleaned up my act, He gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways He works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.” 
Isn’t that true for all of us that when we give Him all the pieces of our lives? He cleans us up and puts us back together, giving us a fresh start, a clean slate. We don’t ever want to take that for granted but thank Him and like David, review His goodness to us every day. Before we shut our eyes at night, we can think over our day and remember the ways He has been there for us, maybe rescued us from tight situations, provided us with a necessity, or given us the right words to respond to someone. David goes on to say that God’s way is perfect and He is a shield, a rock and refuge, the one who gives Him strength. He even expresses that his feet are like a deer that has firm footing on high places.  He sings this song of thanksgiving to the Lord. 
What about us? Maybe we need to check our own hearts to see if we take the Lord for granted. Instead of praise we find ourselves complaining. Of course, we can’t always understand at the time what the Lord is doing in our lives; but David says that there are other times God’s light suddenly floods his path and the darkness is gone and he sees clearly. There are many things that happen to us in life, and we may wonder His purpose in it; but we can live in praise and trust for He will make a way for us and give us peace and a solid place to stand.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to be with you through your day and then praise Him tonight as you see His hand at work in your life.
Blessing on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

September 27, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had an enjoyable weekend. We have had a great time at Mark’s, enjoying family time together. We  played many games with our grandsons and loved having a campfire down by the stream, watching a good movie, eating lots of good food etc. Today we went to their church and heard a great sermon and then out to an Asian restaurant to eat. Tomorrow we start our trip homeward and plan to take our time. We appreciate prayers again for our safety.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are in uncertain times and need to be deeply rooted in the Lord to be able to stand firm in the days ahead. But that is not a cause to fear but rather to keep our eyes on the Lord and walk closely with Him. When the winds of adversity come, our roots need to be buried deep so we don’t get overcome and fall. 
When we were at Mark’s house in N.C., we were in ah of all the beautiful trees on their property that they just acquired. They had a landscaper come out to help them with their 5 acres of woods, and he gave them the good news that they have a couple trees on their land that are extremely old, like over 400 years old. He said that any time they wanted to sell the wood they would get a very good price as the wood is very valuable. Think of the root system those trees must have to have withstood all the elements for all these years and are still vibrant with green leaves.
There are more than 36 trees mentioned in the Bible and they were used for various purposes. We read of familiar ones like oak trees or olive trees, or the mention of the acacia tree of which the Ark was made from. God also used the sound in the top of the Balsam trees to let David know it was time that he was to attack the Philistines. We read the description from Psalm 1 of the blessed person who finds his delight in the Lord and it says in verse 3, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
What about us? Do we want to be like those trees along the stream that remain strong even into our old age? If so, we must let our roots go deep into the Lord and spend time in His word and get our daily instruction from Him. We can also memorize His Word and hide it in our hearts so it is available to us even in the stormy times. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us recall just the right verse to fit a need we may have at the exact moment. If we store up spiritual food in the good times we can go through the dry times, without drying up and withering.
Challenge for today: Spend time drinking deeply of the Word.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

The Babylon Bee

My temperament is that of an extroverted, sanguine male.  Because I’m also intuitive, I often feel on the outside looking in when it comes to male camaraderie.  Yet God, by his grace and mercy, has allowed me to feel secure in my maleness even in the company of men very different from me.  In fact, I have found that joshing and joking with men has given me an inside track into their lives. 

I say this just as a segue to expressing my appreciation for The Babylon Bee: “Your Trusted Source for Christian News Satire.”  The Babylon Bee “was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of creation week, exactly 6.000 years ago.  We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812.  We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.”

Men, when we can no longer laugh at life, nor get along with people who think differently than we do, we are in trouble.  Many of the leading comedians of our time admit it is harder to do standup comedy today, because people are too easily offended.  This is not good for our emotional and even spiritual health. 

Because of this, I release you as a man to joke, poke fun, and josh with other men. When the people of Israel came back from captivity in Babylonian, Psalm 126:2 tells us, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”  When we can no longer laugh at ourselves and enjoy good, clean joshing as men, we are still slaves in captivity.  Men, in Christ we can live in freedom and joy. 

I write about The Babylon Bee for two reasons.  First, I recommend their website to you if you have not already discovered it.  You will be surprised at the insight they provide into our culture through satire.  Second, I want to point out how they are in the crosshairs of the popular media. It only shows how oversensitive we have become to opposing positions.  When satire is misconstrued, then we are in real trouble as a culture.

Recently The Babylon Bee was able to force the New York Times to remove its defamatory characterization of The Bee as trafficking misinformation and fake news.  However, the battle against The Bee continues: recently Facebook announced it would be moderating satire to make sure it doesn’t “punch down.”  Essentially, Facebook posits that it can judge what qualifies as “true satire” – which also means it can judge jokes that “punch down” to be hatred disguised as satire.  

Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, noted: “Having failed in their effort to lump us in with fake news, the media and Big Tech… now hope to discredit us by saying we’re spreading hatred – rather than misinformation – under the guise of satire.”

I appreciate how Dillion responded to the attacks on The Bee.  “But we’re not ‘punching down.’ We’re punching back.  Conservatives have been on the ropes in the culture war for a long time… the left’s new prohibition of “punching down” is speech suppression in disguise.  It’s people in positions of power protecting their interests by telling you what you can and cannot joke about.” 

Men, I encourage you to use satire to lighten your load.  It seems like we can no longer laugh.  Remember the people of Israel when they came back to Zion: “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Ps 126:2).

September 25, 2021

Dear Ones,

Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We are having such fun here in N.C and playing games with the grandkids is helping us feel young! (or maybe old!) We played lots of outdoor games yesterday and this morning have some indoor ones as well. They have a stream flowing through their land so we plan to spend some time helping in the clean up near the water. So  beautiful here.  Please pray for our friend Marlene who fell and broke her hip and will be having surgery at 10:30 this morning.

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I love the word GRACE and everything about it! It is so wonderful to know that we are loved by God, not because we do everything right, but because of who He is. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. It is a gift as it says in Eph. 2:8 (ESV), “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

It brings a song to mind that was written by Julia Johnson in 1910 and put to music by Daniel Towner. It begins with:“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord/ Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, /Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured/There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt/ Grace, grace, God’s grace/Grace that will pardon and cleanse within/Grace, grace, God’s grace/Grace that is greater than all our sin.” It doesn’t matter what we have done in our past, God will forgive us if we humbly ask. I’m sure we all can think of many things that we wish we had never done; but no matter what they are, it will never exceed God’s grace to us! Just think of how great that is!

Years ago, I read Philip Yancey’s book, What’s so amazing About Grace? Yancy was interviewed recently and he said that the message of grace is so important right now as we are so divided in our country. But even though we may disagree with others on issues we can still show love and be dispensers of grace, remembering that we have received grace. It is possible to hold our values without compromise, while not condoning others with contrary beliefs, yet do it in a grace-filled way. Listening to others can help us see where they are coming from and expand our outlook on things, rather than just trying to win an argument. We must especially practice grace within our families and continually ask ourselves what do we need to forgive.Yancey describes a picture of God’s grace like that of a mountain stream that begins on a high mountain peak. But the stream always flows to the lowest part and touches the poor, the disabled, the prodigals and all of us that are undeserving.Let us always be amazed by His grace and then let it flow out from us to others.

Challenge for today: Share His grace with all who touch your life.

Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 24, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy beautiful fall weekend! We got to Mark’s yesterday afternoon and in time to go to John Mark’s soccer game. He played well but team lost. Emoji We enjoyed time with the family and Andrea’s folks came for supper also. We got to see their home within Mark’s house that is beautiful. The whole house is lovely and so spacious and Andrea will have a ball entertaining! Today Al and Mark are going to Panera’s and then all four of us are going out for lunch while kids are in school. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we sometimes get bored with our daily routine and think we are not doing much for God? I was reading about what Karl Rahner, a theologian and prolific writer, wrote about in his book, Encounters with Silence. He notices that his life is so full of trivialities and doesn’t seem to have a lot of eternal value. Like many of us, we have many conversations with others that often seem empty, and activities that also seem pointless and we wonder if it has importance in the light of eternity. Karl is so honest with God and wants all his daily activities to lead him closer to the Lord.  Maybe like him, we do the same routines over again and get so busy with the everyday things that we lose sight of the Lord and forget about Him. In many ways we end up feeling robbed of closeness to God and that doesn’t need to be.
 Karl comes to the conclusion that he can find God in every place and in each and every thing he does during the day. Whether his days were filled with work or rest, he could experience God and seek Him in both times.  Likewise, in the unremarkable ordinary things we may do during the day, we can experience what is most important, seeking the Lord and spending the day together.
God comes to all of us directly and indirectly and we can enjoy His presence when we are busy serving Him or even as we are doing the mundane routine things.
Every day should be the Lord’s day! In everything we do, in the middle of our tasks, He is there beside us, and our work will not be meaningless. He meets us right where we are and He will show us if we start veering off.
Like David, we can pray as he did in Psalm 16:11 (ESV), “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” As we invite God into our day and ask Him to show us the path He has for us, we will enjoy His presence; even our routine activities can bring us closer to Him.
Challenge for today: Give your ordinary day to the Lord and let Him fill it with the grace of His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

September 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you will enjoy a peace filled day! We are in Knoxville, TN and soon going to leave for Statesville, N.C. to see Mark’s family and their new house. We want to get there in time to unpack and go to John Mark’s soccer game which is an hour away. Excited! Yesterday we went to Gethsemini Monastery in Kentucky, situated among the rolling hills, and shopped in their bookstore. We got to Knoxville for an early supper at Cracker Barrel before a nice swim and walk. Lots of traffic and always thankful when we get to our motel! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What is our number one priority in life?  Is it our desire to know God in a deeper way? Augustine said we are defined by what we desire; if it is not God, we get bogged down by lesser things.  Our desires influence all the choices we make each day, how we spend our time, our money, our influence etc. But why do we spin our wheels and get distracted by other things? St. Benedict use to ask candidates for the monastic life, “What are you seeking?” What might we also ask ourselves, what is our deepest desire?  We are in this world for such a short time and when we know the Lord, each day can be a day that draws us closer to the One who we will spend eternity with.
If knowing God is our deepest desire, we will prioritize our time to be able to spend time with Him in reading the Word, listening to Him in silence, worshiping Him, helping others, and enjoying fellowship with others in the family of God. King David says in Psalm 63:1 (ESV), “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is not water.” This is a time to know Him in deeper ways as it seems to be getting darker in our culture with stormy times upon us. I read today how fisherman notice that fish feed more aggressively before a storm. Also, that sharks seem to have a sixth sense and when a hurricane is coming, they tend to swim deeper. Isn’t that what we need to do? To spiritually go deeper and feed on His promises for the stormy days ahead. King Solomon said in Prov. 10:24-25, “What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.”
Let us go deeper with the Lord as we face whatever comes upon us in the future; for we can only stand in the strength and power that He gives us.
Challenge for today: Spend some time considering your priorities and write down what you are seeking most of all.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine! It is raining here in Elizabethtown, KY and predicted for the next couple days. We had a restful night and I got a nice swim in when we arrived here. It was later than planned as we were in bumper to bumper traffic in Louisville.Emoji  Soon we are going to head to Gethsemini Monastery before continuing on with our trip to N.C. Thank you for prayers for our journey. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Let us not ever forget that in the darkest times of our lives that God is right there with us. When we feel broken and alone, He is present and offers comfort and hope.
Ellie Holcomb, award-winning Christian singer released her latest album, Canyon, in which she shares how God meets us in those darkest times and brings healing. She personally went through a deep healing time from wounds of her past and then not long after, experienced effects of a tornado that hit her neighborhood, followed by lockdowns by COVID-19. But through those times of pain, she learned how to grieve and lament and experienced God’s tenderness.
Once COVID seemed to lessen, she and her husband took a trip to the Grand Canyon, where she was greatly inspired and a new album resulted. They camped on the riverbank of the Northern Rim of the canyon and rafted out from there. The guide they had told of how creation declares God’s glory and also rehearsed the story of the canyon walls made from of the landslides, mudslides, earthquakes and volcanoes with the huge divide in the middle. But in the depths of the canyon there is a river that runs through and Ellie said, “There is a current of God’s love that runs deeper than our deepest ache or sorrow that will carry us when it feels like we can’t carry on any longer. It will carry us back to the place where we know and can remember that even when we’re broken, we’re beloved, and we have a place where we belong. It’ll carry us to a place where we know that we belong to each other.”
The experience in the canyon left her feeling like God’s love was as big as the ocean for she personally experienced His presence in the midst of pain, and really knew God was right there with her. One night while camping she woke up and looked up to the sky. Because they were a mile into the surface of the earth, the darkness was so great but the stars seemed brighter and closer than ever. Just as her song Paradox says that God meets us in the darkest nights of our soul, the darker the night the brighter the stars shine!
Like Ellie, we all have dark times but as the Lord said to Moses, He says to us in Exodus 33:14   (ESV) “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Challenge for today: Let the river of His love flow through your deepest sorrows. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 21, 2021

Dear Ones,
May you wake up to a day of soaring  with peace! We are in Coralsville and will be leaving soon to get on the road again. We had good travel weather yesterday and a refreshing evening that you can read about. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes the Lord just wants us to enjoy Him and words don’t seem necessary for we simply rest in Him.  He reads even our thoughts and knows what is in our hearts.
When we arrived in Coralville late yesterday afternoon we went to our favorite motel and quickly unpacked and went on a long winding walk in the woods that bordered a small stream. Al and I talked together as we walked along and when we got back to the motel, I swam by myself in the pool that looked out on the woods and sky. My heart was so full and I found myself so thankful to the Lord for the beauty on our trip of the autumn colors, and his protection as He watched over us on our journey. As I swam, I noticed the clouds were not ones I normally have seen but looked like angel wings, many of them so delicate and beautiful. I know the Bible says we have ministering angels and that is a comforting thought. I was pondering what the Lord may be saying to me and remembered that I had gotten that morning Psalm 91; I recalled verse 4 as the Psalmist said, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge.”  But that was not all, for then all of a sudden, I saw an eagle soaring high up in the sky. It was a majestic sight and one that made me feel so carefree in my spirit. Wouldn’t we all like to be like that eagle, that seemingly without effort, just soars about as we trust the Lord for all things?
The Lord said in Isaiah 40:31 (ESV), “But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 
May we not get earth bound with all our concerns but wait for the Lord and get our strength from Him.
You may also know the familiar song,
  “And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
   Bear you on the breath of dawn.
   Make you to shine like the sunAnd hold you in the palm of His hand.”
 
Challenge for today: Give the Lord all that concerns you and soar, soar, soar!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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