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: August 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

August 31, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this sunny day. I studied and did food prep and went to my expercise class this morning and it felt good to exercise again. Al is well now and we are both thankful to feel healthy again. PTL!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  When we are given a gift or experience that we value but don’t have the opportunity to respond with appreciation, it seems like something is missing and incomplete. We are meant to respond with gratitude and give thanks. There are times when there is a beautiful song sung by the choir, and it just seems it is so right to clap in response at the conclusion. Or there are times when something is so awesome that we give a standing ovation before it feels complete.
    Before my birthday I received a bouquet of lovely flowers that Al had to go rescue from Assisted Living next door as the delivery went to the wrong building. But when he brought me the beautiful flowers, we both searched to find out who they were from but no name. I asked our son who sends flowers on Mother’s Day if he had given them but he hadn’t. I didn’t want to ask anyone else as they may think I am assuming that I should get flowers from them!
   It was a mystery until the last call of the day on my birthday when a dear friend called and during the conversation he asked if I had gotten the flowers. Of course, I was thrilled to now know who had given them to me so I had someone to thank…to complete the cycle of expressing gratitude.
    I think we are doing a disservice to our children when we don’t teach them to thank others and acknowledge gifts given them with gratitude. They grow up missing that completed feeling and maybe feeling a little entitled too. They have it easier today as they can respond online in a few seconds and give thanks where it is due, without even writing a thank you card if they choose. 
    My flowers are still very beautiful on the table and they are a reminder to me of the need of my heart to give thanks to the Lord daily for Himself and His gifts, Scripture is filled with thanksgiving and the Psalmist says in Ps. 118:1 (ESV), “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” Every day we have so much to give Him thanks, and always for His love. But let our hearts not shrink from ingratitude but be more like the one grateful leper that came back and fell on his face before Jesus to give Him thanks.
   Challenge for today: Start your day with thanksgiving to the Lord and end your day in praise.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 30, 2022

Dear  Ones

Hope you wake to a lovely day. Today I plan to go downstairs with choc covered raspberries as I have been out of town the last 2 Tuesdays so they will be doubly appreicated today. its so wonderful to feel well again and Al is going to stay in the apt one more day so he is sure not to pass anything on to others. Thank you so much for your prayers for us and cards etc! 

Devotions from Judy’s heart

   God is always desiring to teach us through the everyday happenings in our life, for we have so many lessons to learn. Some are learned the hard way and some relatively easy, depending on our receptivity.

   Recently both Al and I have been sick as we were hit probably by a virus of some sort. I went from feeling just fine when I went to a luncheon at Ann’s, and by evening feeling extremely tired. I started running a fever which lasted for a few days and my energy was suddenly zapped. I spent most of my time in bed and along the way asked the Lord what He had to teach me through this and I will share a few things with you.

   The most immediate revelation was the need to show empathy towards those with chronic conditions who rarely know what it is like to feel good. Because of their discomfort and pain, everything tests their energy level. I know the first couple days I was sick, I thought of only what I really had to do, like to cook heathy meals, and anything else would be extra. I managed the meals between my many naps but not much else. In our spiritual lives, we are to remember what is most important in our lives and give our energy to those things; we are not meant to sacrifice what is best for that which is good. Our priorities need to be straight!

    I was made aware of how wise it is to have extra on hand for those unexpected times of need. I had chicken soup in the freezer for just such a time as sickness and it tasted wonderful and nourishing to us. We are also to prepare spiritually by storing up God’s word in our hearts. There are times we need to call out a verse to settle our fears, or calm our hearts, or give assurance to someone else; and it is right there because we have put it to memory. 

   Another thing is to realize we can’t do it all. There are times that Lord just wants us to rest and get refreshed and that is what we need to do. After a few days of being mostly in bed I stripped our bed and washed everything and after putting it all back together, I just laid down and went to sleep and it felt heavenly for I was out of steam! God knows, even in those times we are not aware, that we need rest!

   We can’t ignore hard things and refuse to deal with them, just like the garbage that was piling up in our apartment.  Since we were isolating ourselves, we were waiting for a time when others weren’t around to go to the dumpster.  In our lives if we keep letting things go, they will pile up on us, and one day we will feel overwhelmed. God knows when the time is right to deal with things and it works best to be on His time schedule.

   A big lesson for me to learn is just to receive and not put up a fuss about it. Before Al got sick, for two days in a row he insisted on giving me the Raindrop treatment of massaging oils into my feet and back. It felt so healing. These past days we both  have been receiving cards and flowers and gifts and even Birthday cake outside our door. God is saying, “I see you and I have sent others to let you know I care!”

   May each of us learn from the experiences God takes us through for truly He has them individually made for us.

Challenge for today: Be open and ask God to teach you in the circumstances you are now in.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
   Hope you had a wonderful weekend! The sun trying to peek out and it felt good to get out this morning and go to Aldi’s;  I definitely needed to restock our shelves and frig as we have been confined due to being sick. I am feeling healthy again and Al is almost there but needs another day or so, as we don’t want to pass anything on. We thank the Lord for meeting all of our needs as we had what was important these past days to help us get well
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   On my birthday yesterday, I was reading a devotion for the day from Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Always, and I smiled at the Lord’s humor… maybe even laughed out loud. Sometimes God speaks in simple ways that make sense only to us. Sarah writes first of all about how the Lord is always with us wherever we go, and we don’t need to fear even when we step into new adventures, for He will take care of us. Then she asks us to visualize ourselves holding on to the Lord’s hand as He says, “Trust Me—your Guide—to show you the way forward as you go step by step. I have a perfect sense of direction, so don’t worry about getting lost. Relax in my Presence and rejoice in the wonder of sharing your whole life with Me.”
   If you know me well at all, you would know that I have no sense of direction and never have had; so, all of my life I have had to make allowances for that. It is helpful now that we can have navigation devices but if there is construction etc. I get thrown off. I have had many dreams of being lost and waking up before I reach my desired destination. I also vividly remember a time in Mexico, as I was dressed as a clown with children following me down the street, but I had no idea which way it was back to the church. Fortunately, our youth director came along at the right time and led our procession to the church!     
   Jesus has us all on a journey and we don’t have to be afraid of where He is taking us or what will happen to us. He wants us to trust Him and listen to Him and let Him guide us.  As it says in the Prov. 1:33 (ESV),” But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” It’s true we don’t always know where He is taking us but we know He won’t leave us but will constantly be with us, even with the promise of holding our hand.
   So let us go step by step with Him and be at ease and let Him guide us on our journey until one day we slip into heaven and know that our journey is over and we are truly home forever.
Challenge for today: Spend some time listening to the Lord with the intent to obey.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

The Silence of God

As a follower of Jesus, I have prayed often, may  “your kingdom to come, and your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I wonder how long a holy and righteous God will tolerate our indifference to him.  Have we rejected the light that has been given us? The voices of “antichrist” seem more vocal and dominant.  The display of “the rainbow flag” calls into question the creation story, while the discrimination of those who live under the Lordship of the Lord Jesus are being canceled out by zealous opponents of biblical truth. 

I ask, “How long will God keep silent?”  Are we beginning to see his judgment in the unraveling of our culture?  I don’t know.  But I ask along with the prophet Habakkuk, “How long, Lord, must I call for help but you do not listen?”  I wonder how prevalent this cry is among God’s people today.  Are we too blind and deaf to not see God’s hand of judgment in current affairs?   I wonder!

Isaiah asked the people of God, “Who talked you into the pursuit of this nonsense, leaving me high and dry, forgetting you ever knew me?  Because I don’t yell and make a scene do you think I don’t exist.”  God accuses them of looking to “no-gods” for help.  “I’ll go over, detail by detail, all your ‘righteous’ attempts at religion, and expose the absurdity of it all.  Go ahead, cry for help to your collection of no-gods: A good wind will blow them away.  They’re smoke, nothing but smoke.” (Is. 57:11-12 – MSG). 

While it might seem God is disinterested, there will come a time when He will break forth.  Isaiah uses the vivid image of childbirth, in describing  God breaking through.  “I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself.  But now, like a woman in labor. I will cry and groan and pant…..I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way.  I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.  Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” (Is 42:14 &15 NLT).

I find this image compelling, when I consider the distress and confusion believers have as they see the influence of the gospel diminishing and the polls telling us Americans are becoming less religious, as we follow the “no-gods” of our prevailing narrative.  Even though God seems to be indifferent, the time will come when He suddenly break into history.  

What is the advice Isaiah gives?  We are to wait.  It is expressed in three different ways.  First in 8:17. “I will wait for the Lord who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.  I will put my trust in him.”  While the predominant sentiment might be indifference to God, we trust in his sovereignty over history and wait  

 Secondly in 26:8. “Yes, Lord walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts” While God seems silent, we deeply long for God, waiting for him, because our hearts are set on Him.

The third in 64:4. “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” We wait, knowing that God will act in his good time.  “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’  Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” (Rev. 21:5).  

  

 

 

August 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend even though we haven’t seen the sun yet today. The rain in the night made everything so green and fresh and my flowers are especially happy. Al and I both feel better today and thank you for prayers. We don’t have alot of energy yet but that should be happening soon too. I did some cleaning and cooking today but also took advantage of several naps!  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Recently, I read an article by Joni Eareckson, who is an artist and author and has a ministry for the disabled. She herself has been a quadriplegic from a diving accident in 1967 so she knows what it is like to live in pain and weakness. She just shared how she can no longer feed herself as her arms muscles are weakening, and that is one less thing she can now do.
   I believe God ministered to her spirit to encourage her as she and her husband were reading through the Bible together. They were in Chronicles which has loads of genealogy that I have a hard time to not just skip over. But in I Chron 4:12 they came across the name Paseah and discovered that his name means “the lame one”. Of course, that spoke to her as a person of a huge disability to think that God mentions him in the Bible. There are other lame people also mentioned and recently I read in Isaiah 33:23 how the lame would carry off the spoils of the Assyrian army. The weakest would be used to take the plunder from that mighty army.
   I like how Joni views that as she sees that when we yield ourselves to God in our weaknesses, God’s power is made manifest in a great way and the enemy is scattered. Her words, “When you pray from a position of affliction, your intercessions have great power with God….God receives the greater glory for His majesty displayed through weakness.”  She goes on to say her weakness is her badge of honor. She must lean into the Lord and receive His enabling power for her each day. Joni can do very little for herself and she knows she can’t live by her own power. She said that her chronic condition paves the way for the Spirit to make her more than a conqueror. As a few lines of the song goes based on Romans 8:37:
 “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us so,
  The Christ who dwells within us is the greatest power we know
  He will fight beside us through the enemy is great
  Who can stand against us? He’s the Captain of our fate….”
No matter what we face in this life, just like Joni the future is glorious when we know the Lord and He has promised to be with us to the very end.
Challenge for today: Let God display His glory through your weaknesses! 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

August 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you enjoy this beautiful weather and last days of summer. Al woke up sick today also so now both of us have low grade fevers and not much energy. Unfortunately they will be celebrating our birthdays downstairs today but we will miss it. EmojiJust had a nice nap and it felt heavenly!  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  How many times do make decisions on our momentary impulses rather than considering the long-term consequences? It seems like our culture is one of wanting immediate pleasure rather than being willing to wait for long term blessings. The enemy certainly plays on this for he convinces us that our desires are urgent and need to be satisfied now rather than waiting.
  We have only to think of how this is played out today as couples are committing adultery, seeking to satisfy the desire for immediate pleasure while disregarding marriage vows. The results are devastating as families are broken up over momentary pleasure.
   I was reading today about two very different twins, Esau and Jacob. Esau was a hunter and loved to be in nature, and Jacob was quiet and spent time in the tent. One day when Esau came in from the field, he asked his brother to give him some of the lentil stew for he was famished. Jacob was rather cagey and told him he could have some if he sold him his birthright; that meant honor and a double portion of the family inheritance. Esau did not value his birthright and sold it to his brother for a pot of stew, acting on his immediate impulse that had long term consequences.
   Before we judge Esau, let us examine our own hearts of the times we want something so much that we don’t even ask the Lord if it is His will; we just impulsively get it and it may seem to give us momentary pleasure. But often it isn’t long before it loses its luster and we have regrets.
   Let us live in such closeness to the Lord, that we seek God’s will in making decisions and are willing to wait for however long it takes. I have even found that sometimes when I have waited, the Lord has provided my need through someone He has touched to do so
   May we do as it says in Prov. 3:5-5 (Message), “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.”
  Challenge for today: Before making decisions, check with the Lord and let Him direct.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

August 25 2022

Dear Ones,
   Hope you are having a good day! I haven’t done much except sleep and did a little writing and hope that I will get well soon. I will miss Al’s Bible study this afternoon.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Each week or so I try to ask you a question about your own life and I love getting the responses and wish you could also read them all. Last week I asked if you would name a unique gift the Lord has placed in you. No need to get prideful as it is a gift God has placed in us to share His love in our world.
  One person wrote that God has placed within her the gift of hospitality. She said she is an extrovert and loves bringing people together. She has a welcoming presence and organizes and plans many gatherings and finds joy when it all comes together.
   Another person said she has the gift of inclusion. She doesn’t like to see anyone left out and does her best to make sure everyone has a seat at the table etc. She moved around a lot as a child and feared that no one would make room for her, especially in the school lunchroom.
   Another has the gift of music and uses it whenever the opportunity comes, often singing and playing the piano or organ in church and ministering to others through song.
   A fun 87 year old senior wrote of her gift of a sense of humor. She is able to laugh at herself and also the most mundane things that seem to bring her joy.
   One wrote that she has the gift of imagination and it helps her write and motivates her to do new things. She is a librarian and comes up with the most inventive ideas for the kids to have fun as they learn
   Just one more who wrote that God gave her a charitable heart to love easily, those who society often neglects. She attributes it to God’s grace in and through her, and she is in a ministry of helping those who are hurting.
   God wants to grace all of us with compassionate hearts and He gives us gifts to help us in loving others and winning them for His kingdom. Let us put to use whatever gifts God has given us and as it says in I Peter 4:10 (NRSV), “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” We know that every good and perfect gift is from above! (James 1:17)
Challenge for today: Thank God for the gifts He has given you and use them for His glory.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

  

August 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a wonderful day. I enjoyed yesterday with the Bible Study gals that met at Ann’s. There are many new gals since we moved away but  beautiful  gals who love the Lord. There is a wide age span which is so good for learning from one another. 
Last night I came down with some kind of a bug and have slept nearly all morning. The only thing I did was make one batch of cookies and  the rest of the morning I simplh slept. I missed my exercise class and we won’t be going to Bible study as I don’t want to give anyone else whatever it is i have. 
 Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Even though we are a new creation in Christ our transformation process is continuous. Our part is to keep surrendering our own will, and as we listen to the Holy Spirit, to follow in obedience.
   If we want to grow spiritually and live a full life, we need to be sensitive to any area in our lives that we grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions and attitudes. Like David prayed in Psalm 25:4-5 (God’s Word), “Make your ways known to me, O lord, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth an teach me because you are God, my Savior. I wait all day long for you.”
   But sadly there are many instances when we don’t follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and go our own way. Perhaps we return evil for evil. Our natural response is to inflict injury on others that have hurt us because we are wounded and want to strike back. Some choose to cancel others and put negative comments online about them that makes things worse. That is not the Jesus way.
   The Holy Spirit whispers to us to love our enemy. As Christ followers we are to patiently endure injuries done to us and lay down the right to retaliate and that is not easy. But if we withhold love and strike back, we really hurt ourselves. Resentment builds as we refuse to let go of the offense and we can’t move on in our lives. How much better when we opt to pray for our enemies instead, and even ask the Holy Spirit to tell us where we might have contributed to the situation.
    When we respond rightly God will give us endurance and love and cause us to go deeper with Him. At the time the situation may cause us hurt, but it helps us to endure if we remember the Lord sees, and He will be our place of refuge. It is likely we ourselves will be changed if we are willing to respond with a blessing and prayer for the one who has hurt us. I suspect that we will also find that our capacity to receive His love becomes greater and greater.
   Challenge for today: The next time you are hurt by another, pray for them and give up the right to get even.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a peace-filled day! We will be leaving at 7 am. this morning to go up north. I plan to visit a friend in Assisted living on the way, and  Al is going to spend the morning with a friend in Hackensack, whose wife is going on with me to Ann’s. We are going there to be with the Bible Study group of which I was part of when we lived at the lake. I look forward to seeing those special friends again and having lunch together. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Isn’t it amazing how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary works for His kingdom? Sometimes it seems He picks the least likely persons we would expect, to bring change and motivate others and do great works; all the more reason we know it is God and it is His power at work in them. We must not disqualify ourself from God using us by saying we are insignificant or come from a damaging background, for He can take anything from our past and actually use it to work for good to bring glory to Him. Like Blanca Juarez Olthoff said, “God is bigger than your history and more concerned with your destiny.”   
   Think of Rahab who was a harlot but courageously hid the spies and is later mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. Or Gideon who was fearful farmer and yet became a mighty man of valor in victory over a massive army with his army of only 300 men. 
   We studied Deborah in our women’s Bible Study and God used her as a Judge and Prophetess in a day when women were not highly valued. Yet, God filled her with wisdom and called her to take military leadership in a battle against the Canaanites, who had long oppressed her people. Together with Barak, victory was miraculously won and they were given a song of praise and celebration for the victory.
   Maybe today we feel very ordinary and wonder how God can use us and yet He waits for us to surrender ourselves to Him and be willing to say Yes for whatever His calling is on our lives. I never dreamed when I wrote short devotionals in my letters to our parents years ago that I would one day be sending daily devotionals to all of you. But whatever God calls us to do, let us do it with our hearts engaged as serving the Lord. Paul said in Col. 3:23-25 (Message), “Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.” 
   Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to confirm God’s specific call on your life and do it willing from your heart.
Blessings and prayers and love, Judy

August 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you had a great weekend! Beautiful weather we are having! This morning I did food prep and made a choc/zucchini cake and went to my exercise class. This afternoon I am off to shop before our walk on the trail.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   All that we have belongs to God for He gave us life and all our blessings. No reason for us to be filled with pride when we give to others, for it is really what God gave us in the first place. It says in Deut. 8:18, “You shall remember the Lord your God for it is He who is giving you the power to make wealth.”
   Our neighbor, the candy lady, is gone for the week and I am taking care of her plants and the candy dish outside her door. The day she left the dish was full of a variety of candy that anyone walking down the hall may take and sample. By evening there were only 2 packages of M&M’s left. She e-mailed me that there was candy in her frig and gave me permission to fill the bowl when it got empty. Now when I put candy out there, people might thank me, but I am not really the giver of the candy, I only pass on to others what was made available to me. The candy really comes from my friend who paid for it all.
    It was a picture to me of how the Lord is the giver of all gifts and even though we may distribute some of them, everything comes from His hand. We are to be good stewards and pass on to others as directed by the Holy Spirit. We can’t give what we don’t have, so we are not asked to give beyond what we have received. If we have been given a lot then more is required.
   When Al was in seminary, we were poor but the Lord seemed to always show us ways we could still give and help others, and it didn’t always involve money. A friend of mine recently died but I will always remember the gift she made for us. They didn’t have a lot of money at the time as they had 8 children and her hubby went to seminary. But she made us a large Advent calendar out of material that had pockets to open each day with some special advent symbol and a scripture verse. Our children loved taking turns to open the pockets and it added to our Christmas and it was her way of expressing love to us.
   David said in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” Since He owns everything and has given so much to us, let us be creative and find ways to share with others
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how you can bless someone else in some way today.
Blessings on  your week and prayers and love, Judy
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