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: December 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

December 31, 2021

Devotions from Judy’s heart
Hope you are enjoying this day! Soon we will enter a new year and we have a party to go to here at the Apartments. Al and I are going to wear our lite up hats! EmojiEmojiThis morning I cleaned the apt and made Oh Henry bars and started cleaning blinds. Tomorrow I will make Al snacks that he loves for his football day. I like to catch up on projects, go over the Christmas cards, journal etc. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are ready to take off into a New Year and I read Flight 2022 Instructions on Facebook that I thought were good for all of us each day. Even if you have read it before, it is good to be reminded of how to face the New Year with hope.

“Good morning and welcome to Flight 2022

We are prepared to take off into the New Year.

Please make sure your Positive Attitude and

Gratitude are secured and locked in the upright

   position. All self-destruct devices; pity, anger,

selfishness, pride, and resentment should be turned

off at this time. All negativity, hurt, and

discouragement should be put away.

Should you lose your Positive Attitude under

pressure during this flight, reach up and pull down a

prayer. Prayers are automatically activated by

Faith. Once our faith is activated, you can assist

other passengers who are of little faith.

There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight.

God, our Captain, has cleared us for take-off.


Wishing you a New Year filled with new Hope, New

Joy and New Beginnings.

Stay Blessed!
And welcome in 2022”

 Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to take your old baggage and enter into the New Year with anticipation!
Blessings on your New Year! Prayers and love, Judy


December 30, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm and safe! I love to stay inside when it is so cold out, -7 today, but I went to Aldi’s this morning and going to Costco this afternoon. Probably going to walk in the underground though.  I am going through cards and gifts and want to get at some piles of papers. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I look out on a beautiful landscape of over 20” of fresh snow. As lovely as it is, I also notice that the trees are heavy laden with snow as their branches are all bowed over. I would like to go outside and shake the snow off but their branches are too high for me to reach. In time the sun will help melt the snow and likely a wind to help blow some of it away.
The verse of a familiar song comes to my mind, “Are we weak and heavy laden/ cumbered with a load of care/ Precious Savior still a refuge/ Take it to the Lord in prayer.” Maybe we feel like those trees that are bowed over with grief, are lonely from being quarantined and separated from loved ones, or feel anxious over the future etc.; but even then, we have a place to go where our burdens are lifted. The Lord knows our weaknesses and troubles and promises to share our burdens. Maybe we don’t sense relief all at once but as we come to really know that the Lord understands and is with us, the heaviness begins to melt away. King David said in Psalm 55:22 (Amplified), “Cast your burden on the Lord (releasing the weight of it) and He will sustain you; He will never allow the (consistently) righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).” We are invited to trust God with whatever concerns us and weighs us down.
God may also help us by providing safe places to experience His love through others; a place where we can be nurtured and healed. Our churches should be such a place and also gatherings of small groups of caring believing people. As things get darker in our culture, I believe God will draw us together with others who help us feel we belong and are cared for. Maybe it is a small group that meets in a home, but we feel loved and nourished and healing takes place.
Let us not be weighed down like the snow laden branches but open ourselves to the wind of the Holy Spirit, and the warmth of his love and the fellowship of others.
Challenge for today: Seek a place you can be free to share your burdens and also help others to feel cared for.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



December 29, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm. It was -13 here today. I decided to stay home and bake cookies and take down the Christmas decorations this morning. I’m sure we will walk in the underground this afternoon and not outside.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Jesus is for the poor and showed great love and compassion for them; He instructs us to do the same and tells us to remember to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan. Sometimes we forget those who are struggling to make ends meet and who live in fear that they will end up on the street.
It was an eye opener when Al and I worked at the Soup Kitchen and saw those who feel down and out. Some were dressed very warm as they lacked proper shelter and had to brave the elements. As I helped serve and looked into their eyes, one particularly looked like the lights had gone out in her life. Since we had enough help Al was able to visit with some of the ones that came for a hot meal. One man was rejoicing that he had a place to stay and was no longer homeless. Others go to a warming place for the night that is now up and running in Brainerd. All were needy!
But we don’t have to go to Soup kitchens to find the poor, for they are all around us each day. They may not be physically poor put they may be spiritually lost and hungry for the Bread of Life.
Whenever we help the poor, we are doing it for the Lord and He said in Matt. 25:35-36&40(Message), “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to see me… Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me- you did it to me.”
We are to help others as if it were the Lord Himself. Not all acts of mercy depend on how much we have to give; for it costs nothing to give a glass of cold water or to visit someone in prison. And maybe we need to let go of clothes we no longer wear and give to those in need.
Many people give to organizations and missions at Christmas but let us have hearts that want to give all year long and do it as unto the Lord.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to make you alert to meet the needs of those around you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


December 28, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. What was one of the best part of your Christmas celebration?  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We all want to be happy but perhaps it is better to seek joy. Happiness is based on having the right circumstances in our lives and everything working out perfectly; but most of life is not like that so happiness is fleeting. But joy is consistent and not based on everything going well but finding strength in the Lord. As it says in Nehemiah 8:10 b (ESV), “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” In Hebrew the word for joy is chedvah, which means rejoice and make glad. Strength in this context is a place of refuge and safety. Our joy stems from inner strength from our relationship with the Lord, so that means we can have deep down joy no matter our circumstances.
Perhaps more than anyone I know of, Joni Eareckson Tada is a beautiful example of someone who exudes joy. She is 72 years old now but has been in a wheelchair for 55 years as the result of her diving accident leaving her a quadriplegic. Yet, she lights up the room with her joy and has written 45 books, is an artist, speaker, and aids special needs people all over the world. How can this be? Only the Lord! Joni lives in overwhelming chronic pain, had cancer twice and COVID not long ago; yet she embraces the pain and often cries out scripture verses that give her help and the ability to endure. She shares how pain puts God’s promises to the test and said, “Suffering is like a textbook that teaches us who we really are and what we really believe.” She bases her life on what God has promised and embraces her trials with courage. She also memorizes hymns to help her focus her mind when she is in severe pain.  
Her word to all of us is to choose joy. We need to desire the life God gives each of us, even when it involves suffering for His glory. Let us finish well and bring glory to Him, especially in our pain and difficult circumstances. One day we will be with the Lord for all eternity and have no pain or sadness but rather the fulness of joy!
Challenge for today: The next time you are in a hard place, quote or sing Psalm 118:14, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

December 27, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a blessed Christmas! We are home now from 2 days at the hotel with about 40 relatives and it was a wonderful time. So many good talks together and everyone also sharing about their families after our Christmas feast! We shopped yesterday at Mall of America and found the sales too. Emoji Thank you for prayers as we went home in lots of snow and icey roads about 1/2 way. Grateful to be back home safely!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Christmas is a reality, not just a story that we tell to children; Jesus really came and He makes all the difference in the world. This reality of His coming changes our lives in the deepest and most profound ways.
I was reading today from Psalms 33:21-22 (God’s Word), “In Him our hearts find joy. In His holy name we trust. Let your mercy rest on us, O Lord, since we wait with hope for you.”
Our joy is in the One who came and gave Himself for us. Jesus is God’s gift to us and He gave us the most precious gift ever; when we come to know Him, we experience a peaceful rest in our spirit and live in hope.
I am a bargain hunter and I do not like paying full price when I know it was on sale previously or will be on sale in the near future. But God did not hold back His best Gift for us and it came at an enormous price… He did this so we would be set free and come to know His love and joy. But this gift is something we are to receive; it is not just for those who try to live a good life, or those who are rich and famous…it is for the poor, blind, and all who know they are sinners and need a Savior. 
And when we receive this Gift we are not to hide it but to tell others the gift is also for them. When I find something of value, I love to tell my friends so they can get in on it too!
I think of the shepherds and how after they found baby Jesus, they went back to their flocks glorifying and praising God. I’m sure they couldn’t keep this wonderful news inside and told others all along the way.
As we begin a New Year, let us also ask God for boldness to share the Good News of His wondrous Gift.
Challenge for today: Seek to share the Lord with someone who God places in your life today.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


Coach Bronco Mendenhall

As a football fan, I read with interest the news that coach Bronco Mendenhall recently resigned as head football coach of the Virginia Cavaliers.   It came as a shock to the administration and especially the fans – particularly because the team won nine games and went to the Orange Bowl in 2019, and the university’s program has been quite successful with Mendenhall as coach.

The coach said it was 100% his choice. “He has done an exceptional job of not just transforming the program, but elevating the expectations for the program,” noted Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams. Referring to Mendenhall’s impact on the players, Williams said, “He is more than a football coach, and the impact he has had on these young men will be a positive influence for the rest of their lives.” 

Reading between the lines, I take it that Coach Mendenhall is a man of integrity, with a wholesome character that rubbed off on his players.  But in terms only a coach could have expressed, Mendenhall said that after “31 years of straight football…I need to step back from college football.”  He felt he had to “reassess, renew, reframe, reinvent with my wife as a partner [my emphasis] our future and the next chapter of our life.”  He and his wife Holly were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year, so he felt this was the best decision for him to make.  Even his wife was shocked.  But the coach felt he needed to do this to be “the very best person I can be moving forward.” 

Wow! I really admire this coach!  You could tell in his short video on Twitter that sincere words were coming from a man who had his priorities straight.  Not many coaches would walk away from a successful program to “renew, reframe, reinvent, and reconnect in his marriage.”  I tip my Kansas State football cap to the coach.  I wonder: how many coaches would walk away from the fame and glory that accompany a successful football program?   

What can we learn from the Coach Mendenhall’s example?  First, he certainly is an exemplar in establishing the right priorities for marriage.  He thought of his wife as a “partner in the next chapter of our life.” 25 years is a milestone in any marriage.  In the next phase of their marriage, he wanted to his wife’s input as his “partner” as he attempts to “reframe, renew, and reinvent” his marriage.  That takes some serious relationship work on his part. 

Men, I encourage you to include your wife in all those transitions in life and have the courage to include her as an equal partner in reevaluating your marriage.  It could be an anniversary, the empty nest, or even a physical move.  For my bride and me, it was our recent move to a senior apartment away from the lake. It was a mutual decision. I thank the Lord since the move was more difficult for me than it was for my bride. Judy helped me to “step back” and continually reevaluate the decision we had made together.

Secondly, the coach had the courage to say to the world, “My marriage is more important than my coaching career.”  My hunch is that the coach was more concerned about improving his marriage of 25 years than becoming more successful with the “X’s and O’s” of the game of football.  He was not willing to sacrifice his marriage on the altar of the Virginia Football program.  Men, tending to the demands of your marriage is more important than the demands imposed on you by your chosen career.    

December 25, 2021

Dear Ones,
We will be leaving this morning to go to the hotel in the cities to gather with the relatives to celebrate Christmas. We missed doing that last year so it seems even more special this year. We look forward to our big meal together and time to fellowship and catch up… We pray that we will all remain well also.
For devotions today I want to share a poem that a friend, former Board Members of Canaan, wrote and sent us. Hope you will enjoy it and remember the significance of the Christmas trees you will see. Have a most wondrous Christmas and your challenge today is to simply enjoy Christmas in whatever circumstance the Lord has you in right now and to give Him thanks.

Christmas Tree by Robert Althoff

 What do you see when you see a Christmas Tree?

With the tinsel placed just like the shining sea

The lights of colors that gleam in the night

And the top with the Star glistening bright

The meaning is much ,much more

Than the lights and ornaments galore

It is about the Star of whom the people did sing

“Glory to God in the Highest” to the Newborn King


The tree made of wood and branches spread wide

Could make the cross on which Jesus, our Savior, died

The color green represents life everlasting

This life can be yours if you just ask Him


The lights are as the Light of the World, the True Light

Shining with colors so beautiful and bright

The tinsel hanging with so large of an amount

Like God’s mercies un-ending to count


Bows and garland wrapped around the tree

Is like God’s Grace that warms you and me

Some ornaments are glowing crimson red

Reminds us of the blood for us He shed


Give Jesus your heart and happy you will be

His gift of life has made us free

How beautiful are all the wonderful trees?

None so beautiful as “God’s Christmas Tree.”

December 24, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy Christmas weekend! Hope each of you is blessed in a special way as you gather with family and friends etc to celebrate the birthday of the King of Kings. We are going to Ann’s this morning and stopping on the way to see a friend at Birchview. Nice to be able to see all 3 grandsons as Lars flew in from San Antonio for 10 days. We plan to get home in time to go to our church and then tomorrow will pack up for the hotel. Lots of food to get together!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we want to live a life for God, or are we wrapped up in ourselves and thinking of what is best for us? If we look around us, the happiest people are those that are helping and serving others. The apostle Paul found contentment but not because everything in his life was rosy and good, but in serving the Lord and the giving of his life for others. That sounds beautiful but it is not always easy to live that way. Paul says in Philippians 2:13(NRSV), “for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Sometimes we may not feel like obeying the Lord, and we need the power of the Holy Spirit to motivate us and help us to carry through to do what God asks of us. Maybe we are called on to bring a meal to a sick family, or to take care of someone’s children while the mom goes to the Doctor, or to fix the plugged-up sink of a widow. If we choose to obey, the Lord will come along side of us and give us the desire and will to do His will. And afterwards we are left with the sense of God’s pleasure and His presence with us.
When we walk with our friend David, he often remarks about how the Lord must increase in our lives and we must decrease. It’s really a choice and either we expect to be served or we are willing to serve others. But as Jesus’ followers, He is to become greater and we become less. It’s like John the Baptist; he was only the forerunner and knew when to get out of the way for the One who was to come. We also need to step aside and allow Jesus to be seen.
Paul goes on to say that we shouldn’t murmur but rather shine out like stars in the world. Others should be able to tell by our lives that we belong to the Lord. I think the secret is for us to humble ourselves and decrease that the spotlight will be on the Lord.
Challenge for today: The next time you receive credit for a good deed, give the glory to the Lord!
Blessings to you at this holy time and prayers and love, Judy


December 23, 2021

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                Hope you are having a good day as you prepare for Christmas. I cleaned the apartment this morning, went to Super One and downstairs for coffee etc. We plan to walk with friends this afternoon and are going to the Lake tomorrow to celebrate Christmas Eve day with Ann’s family; all 3 grandsons are home! Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                           This is a hard Christmas for so many people who have lost loved ones, as they feel the emptiness of their presence no longer with them.  Many of you have prayed for my cousin Susie who died and like us, you also have friends who have lost their spouses and children. As families go through grief, tears spill out unexpectedly when they are flooded with memories of times past when their loved ones were present. If you are one of them, then perhaps Dena Johnson’s prayer may express to the Lord what you feel.                                                                                     “Lord Jesus, 
 I am so overwhelmed. My heart is heavy, burdened. The losses this year are crushing me, overcoming my peace and joy. I know you tell us you are close to the brokenhearted, but I don’t feel you. I feel lost, hopeless, abandoned.                                             I know this is a season, a season that has a beginning and an end. But right now it feels like it will never end. I need hope, hope to believe you will truly restore me, strengthen me. I need hope to believe you will one day have me put together and on my feet for good. I need a vision of the future you have for me, a future of hope and blessings from you.                                                                                                                                                 It’s so easy to become distracted, to focus on the many losses I have experienced. Forgive me. Help me to put my thoughts, my attention on you. Help me cling to you, to your word, to your promises. Help me be fixed on you because I know it’s the only way to enjoy your perfect peace.  As I walk through this holiday season, give me a fresh glimpse of who You are. Help me remember the suffering You experienced as You watched your Son on the cross, a gift given just for me. Help me remember with joy and wonder the amazing gifts we have simply because you gave, a precious baby born that Christmas morning. Help me focus my heart and mind on Immanuel, God with me.                                                                                                                                                                                      You are my hope, my only hope, for Christmas and every day on this earth. May I always carry your hope with me.   In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen pray.                                            Challenge for today: Pray for those who are grieving and thank the Lord that He is our hope.

December 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day and keeping warm. I  got blueberry muffins made for the men’s group tomorrow and went to Exercise class this morning. We hope to get a walk in and go to Bible Study tonight. In between we are getting ready for our Christmas gathering and I am making a sweet potato dish now. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
This morning I went downstairs at 6:20 am to our entryway, intending to wait for a friend who said she was coming with a gift for me on her way to work at the hospital. She is a chaplain and God uses her to touch so many people’s lives, including mine. I love when we bump into her on the Paul Bunyan trail and we have church right there as we share the Lord together. At Christmas she gives me lovely gifts for writing devotions for her ministry, but it her presence that is really the gift to me. Her boldness, kindness and compassion, and love for God speak volumes to me.  And today, I must have just missed her but her beautiful gifts were left behind.
Just before she came, I read from an old tattered devotional book of Billy Graham, and he wrote about how God gave a Person as a gift to each of us, and of course that is the Person of Jesus. We don’t always think of a person as a gift but Jesus is the ultimate gift of all times. Graham shared a verse from Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not…freely give us all things?” God gave His very best to us in His Son and he loved us so much He gave His life for us; nothing can compare with that! If we receive the gift of Himself in faith, He changes our life forever; we will never be the same!
 The Lord also gives us those special relationships with others who know Him and they are far more valued than any physical gifts. These friends are the ones who pray for us, who stand with us, and who encourage us as we share the Lord together.
Maybe our circumstances seem less than ideal during this time of Covid, but when we have the Lord, we have the Gift of all gifts. Graham shares the story of a little 6- year-old boy who answered a knock at the door one day. It was his daddy that had just returned from Southeast Asia. He didn’t ask his daddy what he brought him, but he simply threw his arms around his daddy and said, “Oh Daddy, this is the best Christmas present ever!”
There is not greater gift than Jesus and He is the one who loves us unconditionally and gives us hope, and He is coming again soon!
Challenge for today: Take time to appreciate the most wondrous Gift and give Him thanks.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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