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 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

March 31, 2022

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                Hope you are having a great day! Today is Donut day here so I went downstairs for coffee. I also made Salisbury steaks and dusted all the blinds and washed windows etc. Al had men’s group this morning and this afternoon we have Bible study here and Ann may stop by.                                                                                                            Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                           The other day, as Al and I walked in the underground parking, we talked intently about how important it is that the Body of Christ be tightly knit together. It is something we pray for daily since it is so vital as the darkness around us in our culture deepens. We need to stand together in unity that we may be strong in His strength in the coming storm.                                                                                                             When we know the Lord, we become part of the Body of Christ and as Paul says in Romans 12:4-6 (God’s Word), “Our bodies have many parts, but these parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one Body and individuals who are connected to each other.” The Message says, “Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His Body.”                                                                                                                                                                                                It’s so important for all of us to be connected and unified if we are to stand firmly in the days ahead. Some of us may need healing from past hurts as we find it hard to trust and bond with others. There needs to be openness and honesty and dealing with our insecurities, if we are to have a deep connection. The church should be a healing place!                                                                                                                     Also, we will all need to do a lot of dying to ourselves, our vision, our wants, and to consider the whole. And of course, most importantly we need to relate and function together in His love. As we unify, we will be alert for what is coming ahead and have greater power to stand against the enemy. So let us have open hearts and use the individual gifts God has given us to minister to others and to be knit together in love.                                                                                                                                            Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to fit you into your place in the Body of Christ and do all you can to welcome others.                                                                                        Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

March 30, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are not getting overcome by snow! It started snowing this morning and is suppose to go on until evening but doesn’t seem to stick. I got 2 Mexican pies made and went to my exercise class this morning. This afternoon is crafts and later soup supper and Lenten service. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Everything that happens to us is a gift of grace but many times we may only see that in retrospect. At the time, we may wish we could avoid the present experience that seems difficult, but later realize the Lord was speaking a message to our hearts through it.
Michael Casey, a monk from Australia writes about Grace on the Journey to God. He says that the most important things that happen to us on our spiritual journey is not so much the result of our actions but are gifts of God.
There are times it seems that we have to leave something behind in order to find what God has for us now. James and John were fishermen and they had to leave that life behind in order to become fishers of men. We may have to break with what was in our past in order to walk into the future without knowing what is ahead. That is not always easy. My niece is leaving behind her present job to enter into a new Christian ministry.
But if we refuse to give up the old and just do the same old, same old, day after day, we can get complacent and we are not fully present in the now. We, in essence, place limits on our lives. But there are also times that things in our lives fall apart and can’t be put together as they were before, and we have to move on. Even then we can look at it as God’s grace on us as we enter a new stage in our lives.
To make a change we sometimes feel a stirring in our hearts and sense that there is something more awaiting us. We may suddenly recognize an open door for us and when we say yes to it, we can move into what God has for us. It takes a leap of faith to leave the security of what was familiar to enter into the unknown. But if we yield control to the Lord and say YES to whatever He has waiting for us, we will experience freedom and growth and the most exciting journey. 
May we say as the apostle Paul did in Phil 4:13(Amplified), “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me (I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency)”
Challenge for today: Ask for His grace to make changes when the Lord is trying to move you on.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 29, 2022

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We have all made bad decisions and have regrets about what we wish we would have done. Rather than letting those things rob us of our peace in the present, it is more important what we learned from them. Will our mistakes and sins that we now regret, help instruct us to not repeat them?
I was reading Ann Spangler’s devotional book and she tells of a story that Charles Stanley shared about a woman who felt like God called her to Southeast Asia. But instead of answering that call she married a man who didn’t feel called to missions and she was regretful for 25 years. Finally, the woman told her husband how she felt and he encouraged her to take a short mission trip up to a year’s time.
She tried to hook up with a missionary organization and also flew to Southeast Asia to seek a missionary that might need her help, but her efforts failed. She went home after four months sick and discouraged. But a wise Pastor told her the truth, “That boat sailed. God may have called you nearly thirty years ago to serve Him in Southeast Asia. What you need to ask yourself is this: ‘What is God calling me to do right now?’
Are we similar to this woman who let her regrets continue to rob her of God’s peace for years? When we feel we have blown it, we need to ask forgiveness and then go on, with an openness to whatever God is wanting to do through us now. Let us not get stuck in regrets but learn from them and not repeat again. When I read this story it was freeing to me to know that though we can’t redo some of the decisions we have made or take back words we have said, we can repent and pray for His guidance in our life each day.
May our prayer be as I read today from Psalm 139:23-24(God’s Word), “Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me and know my thoughts. See whether I am on an evil path. Then lead me on the everlasting path.”
Challenge for today: Take any regrets that you have of the past and surrender them to the Lord, asking forgiveness and then going on in what He has for you today.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today I made egg dishes and smothered porkchops and went to my exercise class. This afternoon we have an appointment before our walk on the trail. I am wondering if Al is going to suggest going to Culvers for ice cream too!Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is important as followers of Christ to be faithful in how we live our lives. We are all far from perfect but hopefully it is our desire to live more and more like Jesus. Recently
I read what Tim Tebow had to say in living a mission possible life and he used Daniel’s life as a model for us.
Tebow is a two-time national college football champion, Heisman Trophy winner, author, former professional baseball player etc. When he interviews employees for his foundation, he said he looks for those who want to learn and grow and be stretched. He shared some practical ways to live a life of excellence and how to be faithful in even the little things in our lives (Luke 16:10), for then we will be faithful in much.
He says we need to remember to live with integrity, even when no one is watching.
Of course, the eyes of the Lord are always on us, so even if we are not aware of the eyes of others, we are never out of the Lord’s sight. When he was a young boy, he did many good things to win Daddy dollars that could be redeemed for actual money or special privileges. But he discovered that it was more fulfilling to do things to please the Lord, even if no one else was watching or that he got rewarded. 
Tebow also said that it is also very important to do things with a heart of gratitude. We can get bitter when we think of an outcome that is not what we had hoped for or we can choose to think of how faithful God has been to us.  When we are grateful, we will find we are in a better mood, healthier and more optimistic. Some find that keeping a gratitude journal helps them to remember what God has done in their lives and their attitude is more positive and they relax in a better mood.
Tebow also says to do our best and do everything with excellence. Whatever it is that we are doing, we can be intentional to not just do it to get by, but make every effort to do it well. 
Let us not do things half-heartedly but rather with integrity, gratitude and excellence.
Challenge for today: Whatever you do today, do it well and for the glory of God.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

A Hostile Culture

World Magazine recently ran a two-part series of an interview Pastor Tim Keller gave to senior reporter Sophia Lee.  Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, is one of the leading evangelical pastors in the nation.  He is especially known for his outreach to the unchurched in secular New York.  He has learned to communicate with a skeptical post-Christian culture, and I have personally profited from his insights.

During the interview Keller was asked, “Do you see the world’s culture as becoming increasingly hostile toward Christian values (or perhaps it’s just always been hostile)?”  Keller replied, “Absolutely, yes, the culture is more hostile to Christianity.  Whether speaking of the academy, the media, government, business, popular entertainment, the arts, or social media – our culture is growing more hostile toward Christian beliefs and values.  It is not the same as it has always been.”

Keller then provided some insight on how to respond to this hostility: “First, repent for the ways Christians’ inconsistent lives have harmed the Church’s credibility. Second, love your neighbor as yourself. Third, let people know you are a believer – don’t hide it. Fourth, make sure you are not harsh or clumsy in your words (be sure it’s the gospel that offends and not you).  And last, don’t be afraid of persecution. Jesus promises to be with you.” 

After reading the interview, I thought of John 12:37-43, where John quotes Isaiah in response to people not believing in Jesus – even though he had done miraculous signs in their presence.  “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them” (v. 40).  The Good News divides.

There were leaders, however, who came to believe in Jesus. “But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue” (v. 42).  Then come the fateful words: “…for they loved praise from men more than praise from God” (v. 43).  It was entrenched religious resistance in the skeptical Jewish community that finally led to our Lord’s death. If I had been in that religious crowd, I fear I might have been a “fellow traveler” afraid to go public in my confession of Jesus as Lord.

What is your experience as a follower of Jesus?  Do you sense more hostility to Jesus and His message today?  Nowhere in the gospels do we have the promise that it will be easy to be a follower of Jesus. Jesus tells us, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).  

When speaking of the end of the age, Jesus told his disciples, “All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life” (Luke 21:17-18).  Toward the end of Matthew, Jesus warned us, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:12).

We need an attitude check. We might have had an easy road to travel in the past, but now we are facing harder times.  The road is rockier and more dangerous.  Pastor Keller has been a beacon of truth in hostile, secular New York City.  We need to pay attention to his advice.    

Marchh 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. It is a sunny day and it is quickly melting the snow. Yesterday afternoon we had a record crowd for the Birthday party and not one piece of cake left. EmojiI did food prep this morning and tomorrow we serve at church. Our son Kurt stopped by on his way home from the lake after a good time with his buddies at the cabin.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
There are no perfectly put together people but only wounded ones just like us. Some of us may have disabilities that are obvious but most of us have hidden wounds that are painful from our past.  Those that are physically handicapped seem to get more sympathy than those with psychological problems. We seem to show less patience towards others with hurts that are hidden, and wonder why they don’t just make changes and shape up.  The bottom line is that we all have disabilities that we try to hide, so let us not be quick to judge one another.
But God wants us to be open to healing and accept others also that need His healing power. Peter van Breeman writes how we must let ourselves be healed by others and open ourselves to healing, correction and deeper self-knowledge. He uses the example of Teresa of Avila who said she learned the most from her enemies; that is because they teach us most how to love. It goes beyond warm feelings to crying out to the Lord to give us His love for others. We know we can’t do it on our own. God uses the most difficult people that come into our lives to work for good, and it becomes all grace. Lord, I can’t do this, I can’t love this person, but you can love them through me.
All people also need respect and if respect is lacking then we know love is also lacking.
We have Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves, (Matt. 22: 39). When we truly love ourselves, only then we can love our neighbor. Jesus also goes on to say that we are to love our neighbor as He loves. That is a tall order! We can only love with the love that we receive from the Lord and then pass it on. Our love is puny and gets impatient and quickly runs out. Only through receiving His love, do we have it to pass through us to others. Let us also remember that our hearts need to be open wide as well to receive the love the Lord is pouring into us through others.
Challenge for today: Confess when you lack love for an individual and ask the Lord for His love to pour through you to that person.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

March 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! The snow is quickly melting again and hoping spring is around the corner. This morning I made bars and we went to Costco to pick up the birthday cake. This afternoon we have our monthly birthday party here so need to set up for that. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We all experience loss throughout our life and sometimes it seems like we have lost everything. At such times tears seem to flow endlessly and we wonder will we ever recover; will we ever feel happy again? I know it must feel that way for a friend who has lost her husband and dad and have two other loved ones who are struggling to recover.
Recently, I read Jennifer Maggio’s devotion who felt she lost everything. She got a call at 3:30 in the morning that she needed to get out of her house immediately as her neighborhood was flooding. It took her only 20 minutes to load her car and get out during the Great Louisiana Flood of 2016. Everything was gone, and she had to fight Satan’s lies that God had left her too.  She felt hopeless.            
The Apostle Paul experienced so many trials, so many losses and yet he said in II Cor. 4:8-9 (Message),  “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.”                                                                            Yes, we need to grieve our losses and take all the time needed for them to heal but let us never believe Satan’s lies that God has left us. No, He is right there with us, even when we are not able to feel His presence. We can’t base truth on feelings that come and go, but on what Jesus said in the Word. It helps to defeat the enemies’ lies with scripture for he is out to destroy us and rob us of our joy and hope.                                                                                                                                                                                             Today if we feel all alone and that we have lost everything important to us, let us pray the prayer that Jennifer prayed:                                                                                                “Lord, I’ll just be honest: I feel like everything good has been taken from me. And I feel like You’ve let it happen. Can I admit that to You? Thank you for being big enough to handle all my fears, angers, and uncertainties.                                                            
Lord, thank you for this truth: I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, struck down but not destroyed.                                                              
  Lord, help me- give me Your Spirit, help me know Your goodness even in the midst of this pain. Help me out of this pit, Lord, and onto steady ground. Thank You, God for never leaving me. Help me only have hope in you. In Jesus’ Name,                            Challenge for today: Sit quietly in God’s presence and let Him comfort you with His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy 

March 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a joyful day! I cleaned the apt this morning and made a Blueberry Crumble and went downstairs for Donuts. This afternoon we have Bible Study and then good friends from college days are coming after that.Emoji Always lots of laughter when they come! Kurt is also stopping by on his way to the Lake so a fun afternoon in store! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As I watched a health video one day, I noticed how the speaker was so full of joy and enthusiasm. She was talking about bone health, and how our bones will be stronger when we are not stressed but have a joyful outlook. We might also say joy and laughter is good medicine, good for our whole body.
Does that mean everything in our lives is peachy great? No! But it does mean having joy in the One who is love, who is Joy and who gives us deep peace. He is the Joy giver! If we have a lack joy, we cannot blame it on the Joy Giver but the problem is with us as the receiver.
If the Lord is not first in our lives, then we can get our focus on seeking material things, on worldly pleasures, on having a life of comfort etc.; but in the process we will be robbed of our joy. We have all known people with lavish houses, huge bank accounts, and who go on exotic trips all over the world, and yet they feel empty. Riches don’t satisfy and pleasures fade.
Joy is in a person, and when we neglect Him, we are left with an empty feeling that we are missing something, missing “Someone!”.
Today if we have lost our joy we can pray as David did in Psalm 16:11 (ESV) “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”  We can find joy in His presence by walking close with Him and by spending time with Him, sharing our hearts. As we read the Word and listen to what He is speaking to us and follow in obedience, we will experience deep satisfaction and joy. That means getting rid of secret sins, and being expectant of what God wants to do in our lives. We can also ask in Jesus’ name and it says in John 16:24 (Message translation), “Ask in My name, according to My will, and He’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!” 
If we want a fresh start and overflow with Joy, let us draw close to the Lord and ask in faith that His joy will overflow in us.
Challenge for today: Pray David’s prayer in Psalm 16:11, that He will restore your joy and giving you a willing Spirit to go His way.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

March 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a wonderful day. The scene out my window has changed as the trees are all laden again with snow. Spring has disappeared for now. This morning I did food prep and went to Aldi’s and my exercise class. This afternoon is Crafts and then an appointment and later is the soup supper and service at church. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love to sing to the Lord, especially when I am by myself in the car or out in nature. I have even sung to deer in the woods who stood still while I sang. I also love to sing together with other believers in worship, as we all praise the Lord in harmony. We are told in Col. 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.”
When we sing to the Lord, we are the performers and God is the primary audience. It isn’t really how much we get out of the experience, but it is rather for God’s glory and His pleasure. Our main concern should not be for a certain worship style that we like best, but Paul is saying to the Colossae believers that we are to be open to a variety like singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Singing scripture songs is especially meaningful and it is a wonderful way to memorize scripture. When our children were little, we played tapes of catchy scripture songs that helped us all memorize the verses and gave us greater recall.
One of the men from church, along with his wife, has put scripture to music, whole chapters at a time. We sang part of Colossians 3 as a congregation in church last Sunday. It is a beautiful way to let the Word get inside of us and to remain with us. Many of the Psalms are put to music, and also hymns, and songs given us spontaneously by the Holy Spirit.
Our focus is to be the Lord and we need open our hearts to embrace many kinds of worship expressions for His pleasure. Let us not be only thinking of what we prefer but remember we are singing to the Lord and come with hearts to worship.
Paul also says we are to sing with grateful hearts, remembering all that the Lord has done for us.
Challenge for today: Sing a song of praise to the Lord today and do it with a thankful heart of worship.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

March 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with the awareness that the Lord has your day all planned. What is hardest for you to give the Spirit control? 
I hope to do some baking and get downstairs for coffee. The Paul Bunyan trail is now clear and it is wonderful to walk it with our friends again.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we aware of how important it is to let the Holy Spirit have free reign in our lives; to be open to Him to listen to what He has to say and to follow in obedience? Or do we often find ourselves asking forgiveness for times we have not followed through when we have had a prompting and not responded? Of course, sometimes we wonder if it is just our own thoughts or if it is really the Lord speaking; other times we just know and act immediately and are left with incredible joy.
There may be a time we are in line at the grocery store and the person ahead of us doesn’t have enough to pay; but the Holy Spirit whispers to us that we have more than enough and we quickly hand the person what is needed. Or it could be someone is grieving and the Lord tells us to set aside time to just be with them and to listen and to pray. We are His hands and feet and we never know how He will lead us when we get up each day, but that also makes life rather exciting. Today I woke with the song by Magnolia Lewis Butts,
“Let it breathe on me, Let it breathe on me
Let the breath of God now breathe on me
Let it breathe on my, Let it breathe on me,
Let the breath of God now breathe on me.”
We need the breath of the Holy Spirit to breathe on us and move through us and fill us anew every day.
Sometimes we may wake up thinking that we are not able to handle what is before us but the Holy Spirit whispers that God’s grace is sufficient. Or we tell ourselves that no one loves us but He says that He loves us with an everlasting love. Maybe we feel all alone but He whispers that He will never abandon us or leave us. (Heb 13:5)
The Holy Spirit is our helper and counselor, and gives us wisdom and understanding. He makes Jesus real to us and we need to daily invite Him to freely move in our lives.
Challenge for today: Pray that the Holy Spirit would make your eyes to see, your ears to hear and your heart to overflow with His love.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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