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: April 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

April 30, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. I am soon off to church to help clean it, along with other gals. I also need to clean our apartment today as Al’s sister from upper Michigan is coming tomorrow for 4 days. We hope to get to the lake and go a movie and do lots of catching up.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Little things we do in life often make a difference and can change the course and thinking of someone else! We may never know the results of responding to the Holy Spirit when He tells us to give an encouraging text to a friend who is feeling low, or giving a total stranger a kind remark, or pitching in and helping someone who is overwhelmed by a deadline. Just one scripture or caring look can change the course of someone’s life, though it seems so small.
   Al and I were recently on coffee duty here at Northern Lakes and a friend 2 apartments down from us goes to work early each day. He has offered to push the buttons at 6 a.m. on our coffee makers that I have made ready the night before, so Al can go down later and put the brewed coffee in the carafes. Such a simple gesture but appreciated!   
   Recently on Facebook an employee was shown who definitely made a difference. A homeless man came and sat down at IHOP and asked for a drink for he was thirsty. He said he had no money but the employee gave him the menu anyway and told the man to order from there. The heart of this homeless man must have been so grateful as he waited for his hot meal. Just think of how that act of kindness made the day for him. And another person was also touched as she watched it all unfolded.
   One small act of kindness done when prompted by the Holy Spirit may carry more weight than a huge deed done in our flesh. Have you noticed how a kind word spoken when a person feels down is like gold and can bring healing to them? 
   It’s so important to be open to the Spirit and as it says in Rom. 8:6, that “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Rather than letting the world influence us, when we have our hearts set on the Lord we have peace and deep joy. It naturally flows out of us like a bubbling spring and spills over on others. Let us not be centered on self but on the Lord and then allow Him to use us to bless others
  Challenge for today: Do an act of kindness for another as the Spirit directs you today.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


April 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It’s another rainy day and Kurt will be on his way to the lake to do some work. We will be going to Costco when it opens and pick up our cake for the monthly Birthday party this afternoon. The house is full of aroma as I just made Al his favorite cookies as they disappear so quickly. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Don’t we wish at times that things could stay the same? We may have a nice comfort level in an area and then all of a sudden change comes when we least expect. It can be small changes just like the other night when I went to make coffee to have while we watched the evening news. The coffee pot is not very old but I noticed only a trickle of coffee was making it into pot and steam was pouring out. I thoroughly washed the pot, checked that everything was in place but got the same result a couple of times more. Bummer! We are going to have to get a new coffee pot and it took a while in the past to find just the right one for us.   
   Now this is a minute change compared to the huge changes of life without a loved one, a vocational change, a change in our health etc., but change most often comes without our permission.
  It made me reflect on our lives with the Lord and how we may feel comfortable in how we relate to Him and have our devotions in a certain way, and practice certain spiritual disciplines etc. And then one day, we feel dry spiritually and the Lord is bringing something new into our lives and the old needs to be laid aside. In fact, it says in Isaiah 43:19 (God’s Word), “I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it.” The Message translation says, “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”  We are in a time of transition and we should not stay where we are at but move on. 
  Just like our children outgrow certain behavior practices, there are times the Lord says enough to us, and we need to change and grow in a particular area. We can no longer get by with responses that are   juvenile and we need to change. Sometimes he prepares us for the changes if we are paying attention and so it isn’t a shock but rather a smooth transition.
   Now just a few days ago there was a used coffee pot on the free table at our apartment complex. I could have taken it and would have been prepared when our pot died but I didn’t take advantage of it. I missed my chance!
   Life is full of change and can be exciting when we move with the Lord, so let us be willing to move on with Him in His timing.
   Challenge for today: Think of change as a chance to grow in new ways and welcome it. 
Blessings on  your weekend and prayers and love, Judy



April 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are enjoying this day! We are happy for another day of sunshine. This morning I made a lasagna and went downstairs for donuts, and Al went to Men’s group. This afternoon we have Bible Study here and we are blessed by the sharing each week.
  Devotions from Judy’s heart
 On Tuesday, I posed the question that I sent out with my daily devotion, asking if you have ever had a near death experience. It’s always a blessing to get back responses of how God’s intervenes in your lives and I will share a couple of those experiences. 
   One person wrote, “I was in a bad car accident in my early 20’s. I was knocked unconscious. I remember hearing in the ambulance that they couldn’t get a blood pressure reading and I thought well that means I’m dead. I wasn’t afraid, it was just a feeling of acceptance. I know now that when my time comes, I won’t be afraid. My time my eternity is in our Lords hands.”
   Another response was from Mary whom many of you have prayed for in the past. She fell on her wet bathroom floor after the cleaning lady didn’t replace the showerhead down after cleaning. It resulted in numerous hospitalizations and a near-death experience. She writes, “I had a near death experience in late December 2017 while in the hospital for my fall. I’d developed a lung infection with fluid. They took me to the cath lab to drain it, a routine procedure which went fine. But they did not leave me flat after. While wheeling me out I arrested. They worked on me for 8 minutes to bring me back. When they did, I was on a ventilator and my trachea had been punctured during that process. We all know where that led” ( since then she has had a trach stent and had to cover the hole in her neck when she wished to talk) “Four plus years later, we returned from Boston 2 weeks ago without my trach tube stent for the first time…something we didn’t know would ever be possible because I was not a candidate for tracheal reconstruction. But I had developed enough scar tissue to solidify my trachea and they pulled out the stent. They are hopeful it will remain open.” (She has a hole in her neck now which they hope will close naturally in about 6 months but for now she doesn’t have much voice.) She goes on to say, ‘‘We never know what lies ahead; I could have never imagined any of this journey. But it does teach us many things…earthly life is fragile and temporary, intentionally; live it to the fullest; know God is always with us every step of the way; He’ll never leave us; but heaven is our eternal destination. Whenever I go under anesthesia, I pray…God please let my medical team have the wisdom and skill to bring me back, if it’s in Your will. But if not, thank you Lord that I know I will be with You in heaven.”
   We are reminded that our life here is so temporary in light of eternity. Let us live each day for the Lord and not get encumbered with earthly things. He has set eternity in our hearts. (Eccl. 3:11).
   Challenge for today: Make preparations for eternity.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
P.S. I just got this further word from Mary..”The one thing that stands out though is laying there in ICU and surrendering my earthly life to Jesus saying to myself ‘whatever You want Lord I believe in You. Your will be done. I accept whatever You have in store for me.’ Sometimes today I marvel at how easy that was and how much peace that brought me at the time. I had no fear, no anxiety. Just complete peace.”

April 27, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are having a good day. It is so good to see the sun shining today after the days of rain and wind! This morning I did food prep and went to Aldi’s and Exercise class.  This afternoon is crafts and tonight is Bible Study. We PTL that when we went to the dentist yesterday we were told we had no cavities and we went out and celebrated with a gourmet meal on the way home! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   As Jesus followers we are told in different ways to seek first His kingdom and to deny ourselves. Over and over again I keep coming across the convicting words that He is to increase and I am to decrease. But how do we practice that in this culture that is all out for me, me, me? It takes a lot of renouncing of self-gratification, to channeling our attention and energy on others and most of all putting the Lord first.
  It may mean saying no to certain pleasures that satisfies our own desires, and to move on to serve the Lord in the sick, the poor, and those that mourn. For a pleasure-seeking society, that is not the norm. But it is in giving ourselves to the Lord and others, that we find joy and peace.
   The Lord wants us to become people of compassion that forget ourselves and show love for others, especially the poor, the stranger, the lonely etc. This involves forgetfulness of ourselves in order to do that. Of course, if we do it simply out of duty, then we are missing the mark. We are to have empathy and try to put ourselves in their place, to feel what they are feeling. Sometimes it is just a matter of listening with a compassionate heart. It could simply involve doing practical things like bringing a meal or taking time to listen to a fellow worker, or any small act of kindness.
   We should not underestimate what others may be going through physically, emotionally or spiritually. We must listen with an open heart for some things are not visible to our eyes and they need understanding if they have been abandoned, suffered loss, abused etc. We are told in Romans 12:15 to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We might not need to say anything but just to sit with them in their loss and sometimes even shed tears together.
   Let us not spend our time in superficialities but invest in His kingdom and reach out to those around us as the Holy Spirit prompts us.
Challenge for today: In place of spending time on your cell phone today, show compassion to someone in need.  
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

April 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with gratefulness for another day. The question this week is, have you had a near death experience sometime in your life?  
 Devotions from Judy’s heart 
How important it is to keep heaven in view as we live our earthly life. If our eyes are only on our days in this world, we will live very differently than if we are setting our eyes on things above.
   Saturday, we went to the funeral of a pastor who lived with his wife in our apartment complex for several years. His son and daughter and grandchildren all spoke of him as the kindest person they had ever known. They used loving terms describing how much he meant to them and how he was willing to go out of his way to help others; they had no doubt that he loved them very much. That says a lot of a life well lived, for even if we do many good things and get man’s applause, if it isn’t done in love it doesn’t count for much. What we do in this life affects eternity and when we go to a funeral, it helps us get an eternal perspective.
  Just last week a 76year old man was playing volleyball at the place where I go for my exercise class. He suddenly collapsed on the gym floor and people immediately rushed to help him. Just happened that day that there were also present two nurses, an EMT, and an anesthetist, who quickly began CPR. When they called 911, they were asked if he had a pulse, but there was none and he was already cold. A pastor was also there and along with others, began praying for the man and for the team who was working on him. The Life Flight landed right in the parking lot and quickly loaded him into the helicopter. They said the outlook was poor as they flew him to the hospital where he was put on Life Support. He was that way for 2 days and not given much hope, but then a miracle happened….all of a sudden he woke up and asked how he had gotten there. He was taken to surgery and a stent put in his heart and he is now home from the hospital. I’m sure this man never knew when he went to the gym that one morning that his life would hang in the balance.
   It is so important that we are ready to go, whenever it happens to us. If we know the Lord, we have nothing to fear for we have an eternity with Him and all who have accepted Him. Like the last verse of the song (In Christ Alone) goes, that we sang in church Sunday:
     “No guilt in life, no fear in death,
      This is the power of Christ in me;
      From life’s first cry to final breath,
     Jesus commands my destiny.
     No power of hell, no scheme of man,
     Can ever pluck me from His hand:
     Till He returns or calls me home,
     Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
Challenge for today: Make plans to be ready to meet the Lord whenever that may happen.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

The “Unattached Male”

An unattached male is a young man who is either single or divorced. With today’s focus usually on helping young women flourish, unattached males are not faring well in modern American culture.  David French in The Dispatch recently sounded the alarm about this segment of our population. Quoting Patrick T. Brown he noted, “The opioid epidemic is hammering single and divorced men. Over 35,000 prime-age single men died of drug-related causes in 2020, a 35% increase from ’19.”  

Further, French cited a Wall Street Journal article detailing the immense and increasing education gap between American men and women: “At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%…U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.”  

Beyond disproportionately high opioid overdoses and declining college enrollment numbers, men commit suicide almost four times more often than women.  They’re also losing close friends at a higher rate than women.  In light of this, French asks whether “gender-specific cultural or policy changes” exist to “help repair the terrible (and often deadly) damage done to young men.”   

French wonders how we can help younger men find their way even as we intensely debate the question of what it means to be a man.  Remember that the American Psychological Association declared that “traditional masculinity ideology” marked by “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression” is harmful to boys and men.  French uses this to make a case for the channeling of these tendencies in men as virtues. “Healthy masculinity,” French suggests, “seeks to channel these characteristics (which are often, but not exclusively, found in young men) towards virtue and away from vice.”  

Then French makes this observation which I want to quote in full, because it is worth pondering as grown men wanting to influence the lives of younger men:  “…You’re not asking boys to reject their nature, nor are you asking them to indulge their impulses. Instead, the process of character formation shapes a young man from the inside out, to make the very best of who they are. And then, ideally, as a boy grows into a man, he connects his virtue to a sense of purpose – a calling into which he pours his energy and effort.”  

French makes a very telling comment when he observes that there are two jobs that only men can fill: “Only a man can be a husband. Only a man can be a father.  And those jobs have a purpose and meaning that transcends the purpose and meaning of virtually any profession or career…two of the most important purposes that any person can pursue are right there, in front of them, and theoretically available to the vast majority of America’s men.”

Men, that is the challenge: it is our task to raise up the next generation of young men who love God and desire to serve him.  We can’t leave it to the government, or to social engineers who keep their focus primarily on needs of young girls.  Yes, girls need help too.  But who is going to come to rescue of young men?  Don’t expect your wife or your mother to do that.  “YOU ARE THE MAN.”

I am past my prime.  But I write this blog to influence men younger than myself.  I cry out with the words of Psalm 78:18, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”   

April 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
   Hope you had a wonderful weekend! The weather is still cool and rainy and we wonder when Spring will come. This morning I studied and made a new chicken casserole and went to my exercise class. This afternoon we are invited to friends for coffee and fellowship. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How is our trust level with the Lord? Do we bring everything to Him and let Him lead us, or do we run our own lives and come to Him when run into trouble? There is a marked difference when we let Him have the controls.
   I was having coffee with one of our friends who had returned from shopping with her daughter. She said she had looked and looked for a new chair and as she was leaving the last store, she saw a comfortable chair near the door. She sat in it and just glowed as it was so comfortable and she bought it on the spot. When she got home, she told her husband what she had purchased and that it cost $1500. (I can only imagine that Al would have fallen off his chair if I had done that!) But her husband’s response was, “Shouldn’t you have told me first so we could talk it over?” She readily agreed and said, “Yes, I should have.” In this case it was an ideal chair for her as it reclines, massages, heats up and gives her some relief from her scoliosis etc. It could have been a disaster as she is allergic to certain fabrics and once the chair was delivered, it could not be taken back. But in this case, it turned out fine!
   I thought of this situation as parallel to our spiritual lives and how we can run ahead of the Lord and get involved in all kinds of things that may or may not be His will. When we don’t pray and ask for His leading, we may get into troublesome situations that are hard to get out of and cause us anxiety…All because we did not trust Him and wanted to do it ourselves, just like toddlers. We can get ourselves in situations that the Lord never intended if we do not wait.
    Psalm 119:1-6 (Message) says, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him. That’s right—don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; and now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel.” 
    Challenge for today: Be blessed by doing whatever the Lord tells you to do and in His timing.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



April 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend, even if the skies are dark today. This morning I cleaned and we have a funeral at noon for a pastor friend who use to live right down the hall from us who is now in his heavenly home
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is the Lord who directs our lives and it is He who determines our outcome. Our lives are in His hand and He has the last word. In Prov. 16:9 (God’s Word) it says, “A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps.” I woke from sleep and the words were playing through my mind of the song “Thanks to God for my Redeemer”. Now I wasn’t thinking of that song before I went to bed, so I wanted to pay attention; maybe the Lord had a message for me. This song was written in Swedish by August Ludvig Storm, Lieutenant Colonel of the Salvation Army, and translated into English in 1931. Perhaps you have sung it and realized you were thanking God not only for pleasant times but also dark and stormy times. We have both on our journey through life but we can still live in hope and thanksgiving when we know that God is by our side.  Eight years after Ludvig wrote the song he suffered a painful debilitating disease but he still remained thankful. A couple verses of this song goes:

           “Thanks to God for my Redeemer
            Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
            Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
            Thanks for Jesus by my side!
            Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
            Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
            Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
            Thanks for peace within my soul!

            Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
            Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
            Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
            Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
            Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
            Thanks for comfort in despair! 
            Thanks for grace that none can measure,
            Thanks for love beyond compare!”
Let us remember that God is with us in the painful times as well as the pleasant times.
He determines our steps and know just how to direct us on our journey; therefore, we can live in hope for tomorrow no matter what happens today.
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord for whatever circumstance He has you in right now!

April 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It is a windy cool day but at least no snow. I spent the morning making a pot of stew, and egg dishes and shopping. 
Tomorrow we have a funeral for a Pastor friend who use to live just down the hall from us. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As followers of the Lord, we are all called to serve; not just the ones that have the motivational gift of serving but each of us. I was reading an article in the Lutheran Ambassador by Jennifer Holt, and again made aware of how we are called to serve others humbly, actively, and sacrificially, as Jesus did.
We often see important people who receive a lot of attention, being catered to, given the best seats and others attentively serving them. Maybe we also have to admit we deserve service and get impatient when we don’t get it instantly and have to wait. While taking friends out for lunch, we got slow service and the owner of the restaurant apologized as he was short staffed and had to do most of the waiting on customers himself. We empathized with him as he demonstrated a servant’s heart; we then just sat back and enjoyed leisure time with friends as we waited and waited.
We are all given the mandate to serve  and Jesus gave us the greatest example of what it means to humbly serve. He said in Matt. 20:25-28 (God’s Word), “ Whoever want to become great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be most important among you will be your slave. It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve Him. He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many people.”              “
Jesus came to serve and give, and He is the King of Kings, so deserving of being served.  We remember how He met the needs of others in a variety of ways, as He provided food for the multitudes, healed so many and sometimes not even given a thank you. He gave and gave of Himself, even when He was busy, tired, and desiring to get away from the crowds.
The question Jennifer asks is one we need to ask ourselves, “How much should I serve?” She says her own comfort level is not the deciding factor but what is God’s will and how He is leading her. Sometimes it is not convenient and we may be weary but we will be blessed when we follow His leading to do what He is prompting us to do. That doesn’t mean we will burn out serving others to exhaustion, but rather we will serve where and how He directs us.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how you can humbly serve others and do it with joy.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

April 21, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day! The house is full of aroma as I made a meat loaf dinner. I also went downstairs for Donut Day Al had Men’s Bible study this morning and will be leading Bible study here afternoon. Tonight is also Women’s Bible Study at church.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We were meant to live free and freedom originates with God. It is God’s presence that establishes our freedom. Christian freedom is meant to be lived out and today we see people fighting and willing to die for their freedom. But the greatest dangers to freedom comes within our own hearts as we struggle with addictions and the gods of this world.
Peter van Breemen writes about freedom in “The God Who Won’t Let Go”, and shares how the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, the place of slavery, and liberated them. (Exodus 20:2) God wants us all to become free, so He gave us the 10 Commandments, which Breeman calls “The Magna Carta of Freedom”.
The first commandment has to do with being free if we let God be God and we trust and worship Him. Then everything else will fall into place for our priorities will be right.
The second commandment says we will be free if trust the name of God. We can’t confine or capture God into an image but rather encounter Him as our living God.
The third commandment we are to keep the sabbath holy. The most important thing is our relationship to God for our life is not defined by our achievements.   We need to take time to enjoy a sabbath rest in the Lord and not worry about our accomplishments.
The fourth commandment to honor our father and mother, says we will have a long life if we honor our parents and are grateful for what they gave us. We cannot be totally free if we don’t accept our parents and reconcile with them.
The fifth commandment says we should not kill but accept the life of others as a gift. We are not to compare ourselves with others and try to outdo them but rather to find the treasure within them. Envy brings ruin to our spiritual life.
The sixth commandment says we should not commit adultery and that means we love people without taking advantage of them.  We are to give others respect and not use them for our own ends.
The seventh commandment says we should not steal. We walk in freedom if we appreciate the gifts and possessions of others without envy. We must be willing to let go of things and not become possessed by them.
The eighth commandment is not to bear false witness against our neighbor. That means we are truthful and sincere and transparent with them which makes for freedom.
The ninth commandment is not to covet our neighbor’s wife. We must not become preoccupied with relationships and impose ourselves on others or we destroy that gift of friendship.
The tenth commandment is not to covet our neighbor’s house or anything that is his. We are free when we are content and not obsessed to possess what others have.
We are all called to freedom but let us not become enslaved to the things of the world but live today and everyday freely serving the Lord. 
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you areas you are not yet experiencing freedom and ask for His help.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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