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 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

January 31, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend. Our pastor was sick yesterday so at the last minute the Deacons had to quickly put something together and it all seemed to flow into a general theme. So neat! This morning I made Al’s cookies and went to my exercise class and studied. So good to be able to walk outside yesterday. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes I wake up early in the morning and I have a sense of what I should write about that day; other mornings I have to pray and wait to see if what I am reading in my devotions has a general theme and I need to launch out on that. It isn’t always what I would pick out but rather what I think the Lord wants me write.
Yesterday I read about gossip but that is a subject that I’d rather ignore. Like me, you probably have been the object of someone’s gossip and know that it is not pleasant. It hurts! The trouble is you can’t defend yourself for it is said in secret; but you can pray that those who know you well, will not believe it. Sadly, it happens in the church too, and that should not be! Sometimes those who feel inferior do it just to be in the know and to gloat that other people have problems as they do. It can also come out of hearts that are envious and want to increase their own social status.  But when we pass on negative things to others, even if it is true, it still hurts the person we speak against, the person who listens to it and ourselves. Which of us wants to be known as a gossip?  Others would not be able to trust us and would wonder if we would talk about them in their absence.
King David said in Psalm 34:13-14(God’s Word), “Keep your tongue from saying evil things and your lips from speaking deceitful things. Turn away from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.” Just after I read this verse, I saw a tidbit on Facebook about Gossip and will share with you.
“Gossips are worse than thieves because they steal another person’s dignity, honest reputation, and credibility which are challenging to restore. Remember: when your feet slip you can always recover your balance. When your tongue slips, you cannot recover your words.”
Our tongues have power to hurt and we need to ask the Lord to help us guard what we say and if we can’t say something good, to be simply be quiet.
Challenge for today: The next time you are tempted to gossip, stop and pray and remain silent.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, JUdy 

January 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. I think it is going to be warm enough to finally walk outside today. We had a well attended party yesterday for the January Birthdays and only a few pieces of cake left. This morning I did food prep and cleaned the apt. and started going to work on my closet! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Isn’t refreshing to be in the presence of those who pursue God— who seek truth and submit to God’s ways?  It would seem that love just flows through them and can’t help but positively affect the people around them.
Such people seem to have a sensitive spirit and radiate an inner beauty. It’s one thing to have outward beauty but inner wealth is far more important. We know that outward beauty will eventually fade with age but inward beauty will reflect God’s love more and more.
As Psalm 90:17 (King James version) says, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. And establish the work of our hands for us; yes, Establish the work of our hands.”.
Truly beautiful people set their priority to spend time in God’s presence and put Him first in their lives.
Of course, that means stubborn pride has to go as they humbly accept God’s correction or refining fire when needed.
They don’t have to be first or take credit for things but take the lowest place.
We also notice that they seem dead to self and want to live for God without bending their conscience to fit into the culture. It’s how God sees them that counts.
They also seek truth and are willing to stand for what corresponds with scripture.
When God sends a prickly person into their lives to prune them, they don’t complain or quickly remove themselves but seek to know how God wants to refine them.
These beautiful people love to spend time with the Lord and want to bring glory to Him.
They also give of themselves to others, not to get credit, but to be a servant of His love.
They seem free from attachments and give of themselves to the Lord. Their desire is that found in Albert Osborn’s song:
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All his wonderful passion and purity,
O thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to do what is necessary in your life, that His beauty and nature  will be seen in you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

 

 



January 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It was -13 this morning and hope it warms up!  I made egg dishes this morning and fried a pan full of sunfish as it was a gift from one of our friends here! What a treat! EmojiWe are going to get the birthday cake from Costco this morning and we are preparing for a big Birthday party this afternoon since 14 of the residents here have January birthdays. We even have crowns for the oldest ones.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes we may think we deserve better, but do we? What if God gave us what we really deserved? I recently read of an officer that stopped a mom because she didn’t have her daughter in a booster seat. She deserved a ticket as she broke the law but instead the policeman brought her to the store and bought a booster seat for the little girl with his own money. The mom was forever grateful as she couldn’t afford to buy one and she did not have to pay the penalty that she deserved.
This is just a small incidence but what do we deserve? We break God’s rules every day in many ways, whether they be in our silent critical judgments of another, or something very overt. Lest we think that we don’t sin big, let us ask ourselves how we would like our sins to be put on a screen some Sunday morning at church! We all deserve punishment because we fall short but God stepped in and provided a way of escape. But it means we have to give up our rationalizations and excuses and to admit our guilt and ask for His mercy and grace. Do we deserve it? No!
The Psalmist says in Psalm 130:2-4 (God’s Word), “O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be open to my pleas for mercy. O Lord, who would be able to stand if you kept a record of sins? But with you there is forgiveness so that you can be feared.” He goes on to say that with the Lord there is hope and mercy.
I marvel at how the Lord not only forgives us from anything we do if we but ask, but that He also forgets and doesn’t hold it against us the rest of our lives. It should prompt us to extend that forgiveness to others and not continually bring up something they did. It is no longer remembered or if it does come to mind, we can simply thank the Lord that is buried in the dept of the sea.
Let us live freely in His grace with gratitude and offer that same gift to others around us.
Challenge for today: Spend some time just thanking the Lord that all your sins that are forgiven and forgotten in the sea of forgetfulness.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 27, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the day and keeping warm. This morning I studied and went to Aldi’s and down for coffee and donuts. This afternoon we have our Bible Study and it is a blessing as so many share. Tomorrow is our monthly Birthday party here. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
If you are like me, you have most likely prayed numerous times for wisdom from God. Wisdom is far more than knowledge and is the capacity to use the knowledge in view of the bigger picture. So many situations we find ourselves in and simply don’t know how to respond; we need God’s wisdom to know how to proceed. It’s good to admit that we lack wisdom for we are told we can ask of God and he will give it to us liberally. Think of how much trouble we would avoid, if we continually prayed for wisdom from above, rather than depending on our own limited knowledge and insight.
Recently I read what Debbie Holloway wrote on Crosswalk.com about God’s wisdom and how we should seek it. As James says in James 3:17 (ESV), “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
That means that when we are full of His wisdom, our motives would be pure and reflect what Jesus would do; nothing selfish or impure or greedy. His wisdom would also be peaceable and gentle. Wouldn’t others be able to receive from us better with that attitude?! We would also be reasonable and avoid angry debates and instead show mercy…even for those who put negative comments on Facebook!  God’s wisdom is full of good fruits that would be evident and pleasing to others. Debbie goes on to say that even in the midst of opposition we would be unwavering and our lives would match up with what we say and believe. Isn’t His wisdom what we should all seek daily?
Message translation says James 3:17 simply, “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-face.”
Let us not be puffed up with knowledge, but rather recipients of God’s wisdom!
Challenge for today: Before giving your opinion, ask for God’s wisdom and share in a humble way.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day and keeping warm. Burr! There is quite a wind today. This morning I studied, did food prep and went to Exercise class. Again it is too cold to do our walk outside so we will do it in the underground this afternoon.  We are thinking we may go to a movie later too.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are you a member of a perfect church where everyone feels loved, the worship lifts you to new heights and the sermon is full of amazing and motivating truths that leaves you wanting more? Or would you say you go to an imperfect church where there are conflicts at times, the worship isn’t all you desire to suite your preferences, and the sermons don’t always seem relevant?
I was reading an article on Crosswalk.com that Lindsey Maestras, a journalist, wrote about the importance of belonging to a church, even though it is imperfect. Our focus shouldn’t be all about the perfect worship or the perfect sermons, but it is about the Lord and hearing his Word that can change our lives to be more like Him. It is also about being in fellowship where we can grow as we connect with others and minister to one another. The enemy, on the other hand, will try to steer us away and distract us and cause us to complain, if we allow him. Instead, we can be asking God what He is trying to get through to us and that we be good responders. I am thankful to grow up in a home where church was an important part of our lives and neither the pastor nor the service was commented upon in a negative way.
Lindsey quoted C.S Lewis who put it this way:
“The perfect church service would be the one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing than worshipping. It is mad idolatry that makes the service better than the god.”
Lindsey also shares how we as the church are the hope of the world. Jesus responded to Peter after his confession that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God in Matt. 16:18b (ESV) and said, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus wants to build His church and use it to storm the gates of hell. Our mission is to love and serve Him and help others to come to know Him and become part of His Body. Let us not neglect our calling but connect together with others who have come to know Him who is head of the church.
Challenge for today: Be joined with others in a church home and help and encourage one another.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to anticipation of another day to share with the most important One in your life. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Soul care is very important in our lives and we need to give great consideration to it. I was reminded of that recently as I read from Day by Day, by Billy Graham and he quoted Isaiah 58:11, “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought.” He was expressing how our soul needs attention and demands fellowship with the Lord. When it doesn’t get fed and exercised daily, it begins to shrivel and get weak and restless. Some people may try to satisfy that longing with drinking or sex or even accumulating things but it will never work. Our souls were meant for God.
When I continued on with my personal devotional time, up popped another reference to the soul from Psalm 42:1-2a (God’s Word), “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” The Psalmist goes on to say his soul was discouraged and restless but then he remembers God’s mercy and goodness and love; he focuses instead on God’ ability to help and puts his hope in the Lord and begins praising Him again.
When we neglect our souls, we become spiritually thirsty and can only satisfy that longing when we drink in God’s presence. Maybe it seems like God is silent or far away and we feel separated from Him.
Like the writer, let us not rest until our relationship is restored. We need to take time alone with Him, meditate on His word, and get our focus back on Him, remembering His goodness and mercy to us.
Let us not go around thirsty and feeling down but rather drink deeply from the flowing stream of living water.
Challenge for today: Spend time with the Lord and let Him satisfy your soul.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend.  It is -4  and itis likely we will be walking in the underground again! This morning a I made S.F. Peanut Blossom cookies and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Joy is a fruit of the spirit and is not dependent on our circumstances. We can experience deep joy, even the midst of our suffering. I have been reading Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, and he tells them in I Thess.1:6 (God’s Word), “You imitated us and the Lord. In spite of a lot of suffering, you welcomed God’s word with the kind of joy that the Holy Spirit gives.” The Christians were being persecuted and suffering for their beliefs and yet they had joy. The Message translation says, “Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit-taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.”
When we believe in Jesus, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps us think His thoughts and view things from His higher perspective. This can look quite different than the outlook the world would give and in the midst of our trials, we can have deep down joy.
Recently, we received a beautifully written poem by our friend David who is losing his wife who is in her sixties, to late-stage Alzheimers and he titled it “Treasure from Love”. It is only God that can give peace like a gently flowing mountain stream when we see our partner slipping away a little more each day. He and his wife had a bucket list with their future dreams but their worldly bucket had a hole in it. Now it is replaced with a spiritual bucket list that has to do with God’s goal with treasures in heaven.
He also writes about how he goes to God in silence to listen to what the Holy Spirit would tell him and to shine His light of God’s love. “Love becomes like a heart-shaped stepping stone, giving a new appreciation for the cross and blood.”
Satan wants to tell him God’s love is fragile and weak but He is experiencing that God’s love is strong and powerful and available to all who seek. He goes on to write,
“Jesus, darkness has emerged. I need strength to stand alone.  
Your spiritual bucket treasure will have everything needed and known.
The treasures that we learned from yesterday will be with us today.
The spiritual treasures are eternal and will never go away.”
He closes saying that only Jesus has the power to lift our darkness and set us free and we need to have faith and to believe.
May each of us find his deep joy and freedom even in the midst of dark times.”
Challenge for today: Make a spiritual bucket list.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

Arrogance and the Pandemic

Brad Littlejohn recently wrote a revealing article in World magazine entitled, “One lesson of the pandemic? Humility.” “The Covid-19 pandemic has been an invitation for humility,” notes Littlejohn, “the humility to know that we are only part of nature, not its masters, and the humility to remember that whatever choices we make are constrained by the choices of countless others.”

We need to remember that we live in a “world of tragedy.” This idea is hard for our culture to accept since we see ourselves having mastery over the forces of nature. Instead of being humbled by the virus, we have played the blame game, insisting that someone else is responsible. We prefer to believe that what happens in our world must be the product of human causes.

As a nation we went into management mode, assuming that Covid was simply another problem that modern science and government could solve. But we are slowly realizing we are not in charge. We are, submits Littlejohn, “at the mercy of the awesome forces of nature, which God wields in judgment to remind us of how small we humans are.”

The word that comes to mind is “arrogance.” Merriam-Webster gives the following definition: “exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner; showing an offensive attitude of superiority; characterized by arrogance.” The Psalmist warns, “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong” (Ps. 5:5).

God will not allow the arrogance of men to go unanswered: “The arrogance of man will be brought low, and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear” (Isaiah 2:17). Covid could be evidence of this taking place. In Isaiah 13:11 the Lord tells us, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.”

We cannot hide our arrogant intentions from the Lord. “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?'” (Is. 29:16). The pandemic is opening our eyes to our arrogance. “You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you say, ‘I am the only one and there is no other'” (Is. 47:10 NLT).

Men, we are witnessing the humbling of our nation. The pandemic has only exposed the “whitewashing” we have done, by ignoring the cracks in the very foundation of society. “Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall…When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the whitewash you covered it with?'” (Ezekiel 13:10-12).

In our corporate arrogance we continue to believe the message of peace, while our flimsy walls are covered with whitewash to hide the cracks. Men, this kind of whitewashing cannot go on. Joel warns us, “For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:15).

Take heart, however, because we belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Heb. 12:28-29).

 

January 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend and keeping warm. We will have to walk in the underground again today! This morning I did food prep and cleaned the apartment and began to sort out clothes I no longer wear. The big game is on tonight as our pastor is a Packer Fan!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love to eat, especially after I have gone to my exercise class. Even while I am dancing, using our weights and exercise bands, I may be thinking of the meal that awaits me when I get home. Before I go to class, I give Al instructions when to put the meal I have prepared ahead of time, in the oven so it is hot and ready to eat when I return home. It tastes extra good after a workout and satisfies my hunger!
Now wouldn’t it be great if we all felt that way about satisfying our spiritual hunger? What if we woke up each morning with great anticipation of what the Lord was going to feed us from His word; it might cause us to get up earlier, when others are still asleep, to have a special quiet time with the Lord and get our instructions for the day.  Whatever He feeds us, will be the fuel we need for the day and will keep us going.
Even though I have a hearty meal when I come from exercising, by supper time I am more than ready for another meal. Sometimes we might even have a little spiritual snack during the day when we go out with Christian friends. As we share the Lord together over coffee and a roll, it seems like we are refueled to go on our way with renewed energy and even excitement.
Just because we read the Word yesterday and spent some time in prayer, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be spiritually hungry today. We need spiritual nutrition every day or our bodies wear down and don’t perform well. We might even get sick and need special care as a result.
Now maybe you are reading this and you don’t feel your heart is hungry for God. You can pray that He will put that desire in your heart for Him and as He said in Psalm 81:10, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” We can just come to Him and open our heart and He does the rest. He satisfies the deepest hunger of our hearts, that we may not have been aware of or have denied.
We also have the promise in Psalm 107:9 (NLT), “For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Let us not go around spiritually famished but receive the Bread of Life for our hungry souls.
Challenge for today: Spend some time reading your Bible and asking God to feed you just what He knows you need.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 21, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Only -4 today! Burr!Emoji  I made a G.F. Lasagne this morning and took a friend from here to the Dollar Store. I was hunting for prizes for the grandkids that we will see in February.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Don’t you love to see couples in love as they seem to go around with a smile on their face all the time, knowing they are special and loved. They want to tell everyone about their one and only!  One such couple came to Canaan’s Rest when we ran the retreat house and they were newly married. The husband had only good to say about his wife and went on and on about how wonderful she was. Years later they came back again, but by then his conversation showed that he did see areas in his wife’s life that could be improved upon!
I thought of our relationship with the Lord and how when we first come to know the Lord, it’s like our whole world is sparkling and full of love; we can’t keep the joy to ourselves and it just seems to spill over. We spend much time with Him in prayer, reading the Word and talking about Him to our friends and we seem to just float along. We tell others about how wonderful He is. But then when things happen in our lives that are difficult, we feel like our bubble has burst; we can lose some of our zeal for the Lord and we start complaining, God why did you let this happen to me?! But unlike the spouse that came to Canaan, God is love, He is all good all the time, and even when we don’t understand His ways, He has our best in mind. 
The Apostle John writes about God’s love and says in I John 4:10 & 16 (God’s Word), “This is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be he payment for our sins… God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them.” When we remember that Jesus loved us enough to give His life for us, it helps answer our questions about the depth of His caring and gives us the bigger picture of the extent of His love. Even though as spouses we have so much that can be improved upon, the Lord is perfect; He is love and will never will fail us, never! Let us share that love especially with those who have not yet come to know Him.
Challenge for today: When you are tempted to complain, give thanks instead to the One who loves you unconditionally.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

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