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: May 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

May 31, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great Memorial Day long weekend! The question this week is: Have you sensed times when you feel you need a deep heart cleansing? 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Perhaps there are times we all need a spring cleaning, a deep-down cleansing of all the things that we passed over quickly that need to be eliminated from our lives. Yesterday, I totally washed everything on our bed from the bed skirt and mattress pad to the blankets and duvet etc. I even rotated and flipped the mattress. It took some time to wash everything and get it all back together on the bed but everything felt so clean and fresh.To the eye of others though, it may not have been noticeable. 
   But more importantly is our heart cleansing, for we make choices each day if we want to deal with our heart issues and let those hidden things come into the light that we may experience His forgiveness and healing. If we want to be healthy in our spirit, soul and body, then we need to be upfront if we have unforgiveness, worries, bad attitudes, resentments etc. Those things rob us of our peace and joy.
  Maybe we sense things aren’t quite right in our life and the Lord wants do some spring cleaning in our hearts and go to those deep places that are more hidden and cause us pain. It is important that we are open for Him to show us what things need to go, and that we get rid of those things that put space between us and Him. Yes, some things we just know are hindrances and need to go, but other things we need the Holy Spirit to unveil, just like the hidden dirt in our homes. It’s like our eyes get opened and we get a clear picture of our wrong attitudes, our complacency, our pride to always be right etc.
  What can we do? We can welcome the Holy Spirit to do a deep cleansing and pray as David did in 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.” As the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and we agree with Him, we will be made clean deep- down and as it says in Prov. 3:24 (Message) “You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep,” (in clean sheets)…that last word is my comment, not scripture!
  Challenge for today: Be quick to agree with the Holy Spirit when He shows you what needs to go and let Him cleanse and change your heart. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

May 30, 2022

Dear Ones,
A blessed Memorial Day as we remember those who have fought and given their lives for our country! 
We enjoyed the weekend with family at the lake, except for the mosquitoes! Today I am doing food prep, studying, and stripping down our bed to the mattress and washing everything.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The enemy is always trying to trip us up and cancel out what God has for us and we need to be alert to his tactics and not let him win in our lives.
   When we were at the lake to celebrate Memorial weekend with family on Saturday we had an enemy who tried to sabotage our time together. It was an army of mosquitoes and they were fierce. We had no idea when going to the lake what we were going to encounter but we still pursued the agenda, though we had to modify it a bit.
   The first awareness of our problem was when we got to my brother’s cabin to have a time of sharing with my niece’s daughter Taylor and her boyfriend. We were stopped at the door with the warning that when they opened the door we needed to just rush in and they would quickly shut the door again, so as not to let in the hungry mosquitoes. Now even though we did that our whole time of sharing and praying together was necessitated with slapping mosquitoes that managed to sneak in, but it didn’t shorten our time together.
   When we went to our daughter’s we stayed inside and listened to our grandson’s concerns before going down the hill to our son’s cabin. We had a time to catch up inside when I was told I had company waiting for me up the hill. There was a friend whom I haven’t seen for so long and she was swatting mosquitoes as she patiently waited for me to climb the hill. We couldn’t stand to be outside for long and took refuge in our car. Some managed to sneak in the car too, but we didn’t let it detour us.
   Next, we went to the gathering at the Point where other family members were enjoying the sauna and running quickly into the cold lake while trying to fend off mosquitoes. Having our wiener roast was more of a challenge as the mosquitoes were hungry too, but we persevered and all ate and visited before taking leave. Now would we have gathered if we had known ahead of time of the army of mosquitoes waiting for us? Yes, it was still worth it even though we had a battle on our hands.
   I also believe in the days to come that it is going to cost us more to meet together as the Body of Christ. The enemy is going to do all he can to detour us and keep us from praying and seeking the Lord together. There is great power as Christians gather together and it says in Matt 18:20(NRSV), “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” We are not meant to go alone but to gather in His name to pray, worship and be encouraged. Prayers by 2 or 3 in agreement with the Spirit have great power so let us not be detoured!
  Challenge for today: Use the opportunities God sends to gather with others in His name. 
Blessiings and prayers and love, Judy

Keeper of the Garden

In a recent blog,  Pastor Tim Challies wrote a review of a book for men by Brent Hansen, entitled, “The Men We Need.” I was inspired by Hansen’s “big vision for manhood.” 

He writes, “We men are at our best when we are ‘keepers of the garden.’  This means we are protectors and defenders and cultivators.  We are at our best when we champion the weak and vulnerable, using our strength to protect the innocent and provide a place for others to thrive. This is the job Adam was given: “keeper of the garden.”

At the heart of masculinity is taking responsibility “for those things God has men particularly responsible for.”  The recent hearings for a Supreme Court Justice will be remembered for the simple question: “What is a woman?”  Similarly, many ask, “What is a man?” We have forgotten this simple reality to the detriment of our culture.  God’s intention is for men to be protectors, defenders, and cultivators.  But as a nation we are dismissive of God’s intent.      

I appreciate Hansen’s thesis that men are responsible to tend their garden.  When there is so much confusion about gender roles, Hansen’s position is simple and straightforward.  Taken right from the story of creation, men today are to do what they were called to do from the beginning – to be “keepers of the garden.”

According to Hansen, there are six decisions men need to make in expressing their God-given responsibilities: 

First, “forsake the false and relish the real.”  We are to reject pornography, video games and other fake forms of virtuous longing.  Many men have fallen asleep emotionally and relationally, substituting real life relationships for virtual reality, especially porn.  Even though it might be hard, we need to wake up to what is real. 

Second, “protect the vulnerable.”   Men are to step up and protect others from harm, rather than being a threat.  We should be drawn to the weak, rather than to those in positions of status and power.    

Third, “be ambitious about the right things.” Don’t waste your time on “trivial” affairs, where men spend time, energy, and money.  Seek Jesus and his kingdom. “For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 7:21).    

Fourth, “make women and children feel safe, not threatened.”  We should help those around us to grow and thrive.  This begins with our wives and children.   Stand up and protect those who are threatened.  

Fifth, “choose today who you will become tomorrow.”  “Who we will be tomorrow is a direct result of what we pay attention to today.”  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 7:33). 

Sixth, “take responsibility for our own spiritual life.”  While we appreciate the support and teaching of others, we need to give priority to feeding our souls spiritually. Spend focused time with the Lord daily – get to know His voice.

My biggest takeaway:  don’t permit the voices of our culture to make being a man complicated. My advice: come before God humbly as a man, asking for grace and strength to simply fulfill your responsibility as a man created in the image of God.  Embrace Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”  God is addressing you.  As a man God has given you a responsibility to tend your garden.  You are unique in your maleness, with your own garden to tend.  Cry out to God for the desire, strength, and confidence to be able to tend it.

 

May 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! We are going to the lake this morining and stopping to see a friend at Birchview on the way. We look forward to having time with Taylor ( my niece’s daughter who you prayed for when she was on her 9 month mission trip) and her boyfriend. Later we will see Ann’s family and Kurt’s family and then more relatives for a picnic at the Point. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 Sometimes we just need to take a break! Maybe we have had a heavy schedule and we feel weary; rather than try to fit more in, we need to take a nap, go for a walk and enjoy nature, strum some strings on the guitar, or just spend some quiet time with God. We all get worn down at times and we need to listen to our body for it is saying, “Give me a break!” That doesn’t mean just seniors but young people also may need time to regroup. People in their prime can get tired and stumble and fall.
  In Isaiah 40:30-31 (Message) it says, “Even youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly, but those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) will gain new strength and renew their power.” We all have times of weariness and it may not be physically so much as emotionally, It is wise to pay attention when that happens and to wait on the Lord to renew us. We can be honest with Him and tell Him how weary we are and in need of His strength and vitality. If we are married, we may tell our mate that we are spent and just need a little time to be restored. Spending time with the Lord can restore us and strengthen us and bring us encouragement. Some come away feeling like they had a new battery put in!
   It reminds me of my plants that are on a tea cart by a window. I can tell when they start looking droopy and am reminded to water them and open the blinds to let in the sunrays. In the same way we are told to “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek is face continually. (Psalm 105:4 (NASB)
  God’s strength is our source of strength and it never runs out. We all get tried and we will find that as we wait on the Lord we will be renewed and lifted above the stresses in life. When we start thanking Him and praising Him, it is like the cool water that is poured on my plants. We perk up and are refreshed. Let us take a refreshing break with the Lord!
Challenge for today: Listen to your body and give it refreshing breaks when needed.

Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

May 27, 2022

Dear Ones,
 Happy weekend to you! Hoping for good weather for all the picnics and gatherings. This morning I cleaned the apartment and soon  Al and I are going to Costco to pick up the birthday cake for our annual Birthday party here this afternoon… celebrating  only 4 birthdays this month. Tomorrow we head to the Lake!Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  God’s presence with us changes everything. The darkest days and most difficult circumstances are somehow changed when we really know that the God of the universe is with us and He has not forgotten us.
  One day Al and I were going down the hall to get to our apartment and outside the door of our neighbor, was a card with a simple phrase, “God Has Not Forgotten You!” Both Al and I commented on how important that is for all of us to really know that God is with us, and we are not an afterthought. He remembers us and we are engraved on the palm of His hands, never to be forgotten.
   But also, let us not forget Him but open our eyes to see all the ways the Lord comes to us. It says in Psalm 105:3-4 (NIV), “Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”
   One way to seek His face is to spend some time in what is called soaking prayer. It is something I learned about many years ago but recently read an article by Steve Porter who founded Refuge Ministries. He talks about taking time to just sit in silence before the Lord and soak in the Spirit. He puts on praise music in the background and then just quietly sits and lets the Lord love on him. Often it brings him to tears. He does not sit there with a list of wants and requests but just seeks the Lord.
   Something happens to us when we do that for our weariness disappears and as it says in Isaiah 40:31 that our strength is renewed and we feel like we are soaring like an eagle.
   Even though Al and I have been married 56 years, we don’t need to talk all the time to express our love for each other. Sometimes it is enough to be in each other’s presence without words and soak in that love. 
   May we take time to linger in the Lod’s presence and come to know in a deeper way His love for us.
  Challenge for today: Take 10 minutes today to sit quietly before the Lord without words and soak in His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

May 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a peace filled day. This morning I went downstairs for Donut Day and to the store and this afternoon we have our Bible study here. Tomorrow is the Birthday party and then the weekend Memorial Day gathering. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Every now and then our lives are impacted in a big way by someone whose life is a living example of a life spent for Christ. Somehow it shakes us from our own self- absorption and opens our eyes to what it means to give our all. Such was the case when I read an article by Sarah Nielson who interviewed Katie Davis Majors. Every time I have read about Katie in times past, I am amazed at what one person sold out to the Lord, can do for God’s kingdom.
  She is only 33 years old and has a husband and family of 13 adopted daughters and two of their own sons. It all began when she was 18 years old and spent her Christmas break at an orphanage in Uganda. She loved not only holding the babies and entertaining the orphans but spent the following year teaching kindergarten before promising her parents to go home the next year for college. But even before she went home, she had already acquired a house and taken in 4 orphans and started a school called Amazima, which means truth.
   I use to read about her life back then and she never dreamed she would get married, thinking what man would love her and agree to start life together with 13 children? But Benji Majors was also in Uganda as a missionary and they fell in love and are a good compliment to one another. He is quiet and consistent and she is more emotional and passionate. They find serving their family and the community together was God’s plan and one of great joy. When the adopted girls heard about Katy’s engagement, they were thrilled that they would be getting a daddy and now they have 2 brothers as well.
  We can only imagine how Benji and Katy must have to lean on the Lord. The school that was started by Katie now has over 600 students and 200 staff members. They want to encourage and educate the orphaned, poor, and vulnerable and have made such a difference in the lives of so many.  They take in anyone who needs care and don’t turn away any child or baby that has been abandoned.
   When I was young it was my dream to work in an orphanage and to care for those that had no family or were abandoned. But even though Al and I were willing to go to a foreign land and went to see the head of a Mission Society twice, we never had the call to go. God has a plan for each of our lives and our joy is found in obedience to that plan, whatever that is. And when we give it our all, who knows the lives that will be impacted through our obedience.
  Challenge for today: Seek God’s plan for your life and follow in obedience.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

  

May 25, 2022

Dear ones,
Hope you are having a beautiful day even though it is overcast with some rain! This morning I made a veggie stirfry, studied, and went to my exercise class.  Tonight we have Bible Study with a Max Lacado video series. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 In our Bible Study we recently studied how the Lord is the Vine and we are the branches and that we need to be attached firmly to the Vine. Apart from the vine we can do nothing! But as we are firmly abiding in the vine, who knows what will take place in us and what fruit will result.
  I am made aware of that when I look out my window as I write. Since we are on second floor, a beautiful tree is at my eye level. Only a short time ago it looked rather dead and with only naked branches. But then came some buds and green leaves and soon will be beautiful blossoms. I have hope because I have seen what it will look like when fully in bloom since we have lived here 3 years now.
  To me it is a picture of what we could be in the Lord. Maybe right now we feel like we are like those dead looking branches but we must not give up hope. When we are connected with the Lord, He wants to make something very beautiful out of our lives. The pinkish colored buds are beginning to unfold and soon there will be big blossoming flowers if we let Him direct our lives. How sad it is when the Lord sees what He created us to become but we settle for so little. We go our own way and never really blossom into the beauty that comes from a close attachment to Him.
   Sometimes our own hearts break when we watch our loved ones go their own way and miss what God has intended for them. We know the potential within them but they never reach it because they detach from the vine.
   We have no idea all that God has for each of our lives and we must stay united with Him and receive the sunshine of His love, the water of His Spirit, and even times of pruning if we are to become those awesome blossoms. As He says in John 15:5 (Message), “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” Let us stay closely connected to Him and live in hopeful expectation of what He will make of our lives. 
  Challenge for today: Confess anything that draws you away from the Lord and spend time in His presence.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
P.S. Since I wrote this yesterday the tree out my window is in full bloom! So Beautiful!

May 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake up to a day of flourishing. I plan to study, do some food prep and to go down downstairs for coffee and choc covered raspberries! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Would we say our life is overflowing with hope and flourishing, even though there is so much chaos around us? I read what Dr. Rev. Mark Roberts from Fuller seminary had to say about such a life that is spoken of in Psalm 92:12 (ESV), “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”
   I read that the palm trees are known for their long life and cedars grow up to 120 feet high and 30 feet in circumference. They are durable and solid and not going to be blown away by the winds of adversity. In other words, those who know the Lord will be strong and able to stand in His strength.
   I love the word flourish and to me a flourishing life would be one that is blossoming and fruitful, has purpose and full of peace and hope; it would be more than a satisfying life as it would be abundant and purposeful until our last breath.
   Who wouldn’t want a life like that? But so many look in the wrong places and come up empty and disappointed. No, it won’t be found in the abundance of things, or exotic experiences, or numerous accolades given us; it comes rather from a close relationship with the One who is Life, gives us life and sustains our life.
   Verse 13-14 (Amplified) says, “Planted in the house of the Lord they shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Growing in grace) they shall be full of sap (of spiritual vitality) and (rich in the) verdure (of trust, love and contentment).”
   As we get older, we can still have a fresh outlook and flourish. It is not an age factor but of trusting the One who gives us strength and vitality. Actually, I read that Palm trees don’t yield a lot of fruit until about 30 years of age and the older they get the more fruitful they become; they can bear up to 300 to 400 pounds of dates each year!
   Let us not be like potted plants that have shallow roots but let us be planted by streams of water with deep roots and using the gifts God has given us to bless others. As we do this, we will find our lives will flourish and fruitful!
  Challenge for today: Write down what  flourishing life would be for you and what areas need help?
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend!  Looks like things are going to warm up for a pretty good Memorial weekend.Emoji Today i made egg dishes and went to Super One and Aldi before my exercise class. Our walks outside each day get prettier and prettier.
 Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How important it is that we pass on the things of the Lord to the next generation. We are told to do this many times in scripture. It seems like the Children of Israel didn’t always do that and the next generation would go astray and be overtaken by an enemy. Then they would cry to the Lord and promise to serve Him and He would forgive them. But soon another generation would fail to pass it on and they would forsake the Lord.
   At church yesterday we had a speaker, Jason Holt, who is a National Youth Director and been in youth ministry for over 30 years. He did his doctorate in Ministry to Emerging Generations and had much to say. He shared about how to navigate with wisdom in our digital world. Of course, the digital world can be used for much good but it also causes many problems in our lives. Youth today spend so many hours on screen. The average 12 year old spends 5 hours a day and older ones spend far more.
  He shared about what Jean Twenge has written on how the iGen (internet generation) is made up of super-connected kids who are less rebellious, more tolerant but less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood. They are in no hurry to grow up, they text rather than meet in person, they are insecure, irreligious and insulated. She goes on to say they are income insecure, indefinite in relationships, inclusive on gender and race, and independent on politics.
   Our speaker had us huddle in small groups in S.S. to talk about how we can highlight the gospel in ways that are relevant to the iGen and how to build bridges with them. We need to be like mothers that nurture and express gentleness and also like fathers that correct and encourage. We can become a community of spiritual parents.
  Jason used Psalm 78: 1-8, 70-72 to help us see our responsibility. Starting at verse 2, ”I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us,. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done…that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His Commandments.”
   Let us not fail to tell the next generation of the Lord that they may have a life of hope in the world that seems to be getting darker and darker.
   Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for ways to communicate with the iGen and use every opportunity He sends your way.
Blessings on  your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

Radical Monogamy

Breakpoint recently featured an article on “radical monogamy.”  Radical monogamy, as described in Vice magazine is “an exclusive relationship commitment that’s chosen, not blindly accepted… Monogamy that is radical is chosen from among the many equally valid relationship options, including polyamory.”   It appears that even some who want to remain sexually open-minded would still prefer and choose a monogamous relationship.  

Proponents of radical monogamy “stress that the decision to remain in an exclusive relationship was made by themselves, and for themselves.”  This proposal reflects the cultural view of seeing freedom “only as freedom from any and all restraint.” The significant moral flaw of radical monogamy “is to suggest it’s only valid if it’s what I want, rather than because it is morally superior.”  It is still “the me first” emphasis found in the sexual revolution. 

Of course, a biblical view of monogamy is built on an exclusive commitment of a man and woman, who  choose before the Lord to make a lifelong commitment to one another (Judy and I are on year 56).  Jesus tells us when a man and woman marry, “the two will become one flesh” (Matt 19:5).  Then he gives this  warning, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (v. 6).  I would call this “faithful” monogamy, rather than “radical.” 

This was the Creator’s plan from the beginning, in creating “male and female.”  Marriage was his gift to us.  Monogamy has divine origins going back to creation.  Viewed from a cultural perspective, God’s intention for monogamy goes far beyond our cultural norms, making it truly radical.  Jesus clearly states, “So they are no longer two, but one” (v. 6).  

Even more radical is God’s intention for a man and woman becoming one flesh to reflect Jesus’ love for his church.  Paul describes this relationship as a mystery.  “This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32).  This is beyond radical; it is a mystery.  Men, you will never fully understand your own marriage.  It’s a profound gift. 

Since God’s intention is for our marriage to reflect Jesus’ relationship to his church, He gives men some sober instructions: “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.  Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty.” (Eph. 5:25-26 – Message).  That’s radical.

Pope John Paul II gave the church a wonderful study of Eph. 5:31-33 in his “Theology of the Body.”  The Pope’s thesis:  “Only the body is capable of making visible the spiritual and the divine.  It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden from eternity in God and thus to be a sign of it” He maintains that the union of man and woman is meant to proclaim and participate in the “great mystery” of Christ’s union with the church.  

Further, the Pope declares that a faithful marriage of two being one flesh can have a prophetic message in our post-Christian culture.  Imagine such a dimension to your marriage.  I personally embrace the idea that my marriage can be prophetic within the culture. 

This presents a challenge for men:  1) the enemy does not want marriage to reflect Jesus’ love for the church.  It will be a fight.  2) It will take all you have spiritually to love your wife as Jesus loved the church.  You will need a lot of grace.  3) You will truly be countercultural in your lifestyle.  There is a price to pay.  Are you up the challenge?

 

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