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: September 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

September 30, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend! Today is party day here and Al and I will go get the Birthday cake as soon as Costco opens. We have another party on Monday night but we are not in charge of it. We had a wonderful time of fellowship with our pastor/missionary friend yesterday. We marveled as we see how God has so specifically directed his family and timing of events in their lives as they spend 6 months of the year in Africa and 6 months in the States.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Isn’t it wonderful what happens when God’s people get together to study His word, and to share what He is doing and how He is touching their lives? I love those times and we had a special time yesterday as about a dozen and a half of us gathered in our community room for Bible Study. We sensed the Lord’s presence as we studied together I Peter 2 about being living stones. As it says in I Peter 2:5 (ESV), “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
   Like one catholic gal said we are all beautiful stones of different shapes and sizes and colors that all blend and fit together.  We have many churches represented and we all accept where each one comes from and offer our piece to the whole. Since we are all seniors and over 55, many have walked with the Lord most of our lives. We can encourage one another as we share instances in our lives where the Lord was with us in the death of our loved ones, provided for us in unexpected ways, taught us through our failures and trials etc. We want to make our lives count for the Lord and there is no age that He cannot use us.
   We all have concern for our families to know the Lord and especially pray for our grandkids. I shared an e-mail that I got from an 84 -year-old grandma who was raised in a home where there was not mention of the Lord. Her parents did see that she got to S.S. even though they never went to church. But she said, “My paternal Grandma Olson must have had a huge influence on me, as well. Though she had nothing of the world’s goods (literally living in a tarpaper shack with no plumbing or electricity when I was young), I remember her old Swedish Bible and a little plaque, ‘Korsvagen Leder Hem’ were precious to her. I have that plaque now-‘The Way of the Cross Leads Home’, as she explained it to me.” 
   We never know how the Lord will use our lives as a witness or take our words and speak to the hearts of others. Gathering together with other believers brings encouragement and strengthens our faith. Let us remember that we are a living stone which is meant to be joined to others to become a beautiful dwelling of the Lord.
  Challenge for today: Make time to gather with other believers and share your lives with the Lord.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. I got 2 Mexican pies made as we are having company after Bible Study today. I also went down for donuts this morning and Al had men’s group. 
Dvotions from Judy’s heart
  Do we live in a state of mindfulness or do we just go about our days on autopilot, without much thought? Many live with the monotony of daily work, feeling dry and empty and without awareness that God Has a full life for them to live. How sad!
   The Lord would want us to enjoy His presence and to live with a desire for Him, having Him in our thoughts throughout our day. His eye is always on us and it is good for us to live in awareness of His love all of our days on earth. Life is short so we need to make the most of our opportunities to respond to His love for us and then to show that love to others.
    One day our lives will be over and we are told in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” In other words, we should live each day as if we were to die today and take our last breath on earth.
    With that in mind, we certainly wouldn’t use the majority of our time to store up earthly treasures, but only what was necessary. We wouldn’t be busy accumulating more but giving to those in need.  When Mother Teresa died, she left behind only her prayer book and three saris that she had worn.  She refused the $192,000 award for the Noble Peace Prize and gave it to the poor in India. But think of how many lives were changed by her selflessness and love.
   If we knew this was our last day, we would not hang on to resentments for we would want to leave this world with good relationships. Our thoughts would be on things above and sharing Jesus with others so they can one day join us in glory.
   I suspect as we become more mindful, the desires of this world would lessen as we seek to draw closer to the Lord. Our selfishness would fade as our passion grows for Him and we would anticipate eternity with Him and our loved ones who have gone before us. The Lord searches for those who seek Him so let us be intentional seekers and ever mindful.
Challenge for today: Do something today with eternity in mind.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are having a good day and enjoying these crisp Fall days. This morning I am doing food prep, going to go toAldi’s and to my exercise class and then work on the small Alzheimer’s quilts, along with other gals. We have Bible Study tonight too, so it is a full day. 
Loved what so many of you had to say yesterday about growing spiritually these last years.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  God is with us all the time and we have the privilege of communing with Him 24/7. He is always listening to us when we talk with Him and He wants to be part of everything we do, think, and say. In fact, we are told in I Thess. 5:17 to pray without ceasing. Now that doesn’t mean we are down on our knees praying all day long but rather we are simply lifting our heart to Him, recognizing His presence with us and sharing even what we are thinking with Him.
  Joyce Meyers wrote that prayer should be like breathing, something we do constantly to sustain ourselves. Just like we require breathing for our physical bodies, our spiritual lives need to be fed and nurtured by constant communication with God.
  He loves when we converse with Him and when we acknowledge that He is present to us all the time. We may find ourselves saying thank you to Him for something unexpected that He has just surprised us with. Or perhaps we lift our hands and praise Him in the shower as we feel the refreshing water washing over us.  Maybe we avoided an accident on the way to work and we thank Him again and again. 
 The longer I know Him the more I find myself talking to him, often in a whisper, throughout the day. We don’t have to have our eyes closed or hands folded but we can enjoy His presence with us and share our hearts with Him. We are not alone for He is always there with us! 
 King David said in Psalm 139 that God knew everything about Him and he was never out of God’s sight. God even knew him when he was formed in his mother’s womb and knows what he was going to say before he starts a sentence.
  Let us not forget that God’s reassuring presence is always with us and He is our closest friend. He waits for us to share our life with Him. James said in James 4:8, “Come close to God (with a contrite heart) and He will come close to you.” 
Challenge for today: Welcome the Lord into your day and share everything with Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 27, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine! I plan to go downstairs for coffee and Choc covered raspberries. The question I have for you this week is, Would others say you have changed and grown the last 5 to 10 years or would they say you are the same? (You could ask your spouse or a friend that question like I did, if you are ready for their answer.) Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we the same person we are today that we were 5 or 10 years ago, or have we changed so much that others can hardly recognize the new me? Hopefully we are not the same and have grown in the Lord and let Him change us to become more and more like Him. If we have been self-centered in the past, would others see us now as one who is centered in the Lord and who then reaches out to others? Would we have a furrowed brow and an anxious look as we see the world situation getting worse or would we have a calm presence and peaceful countenance that makes them wonder if we have had a happy pill?
When Al went to his high school reunion, I heard his classmates say, “I can’t believe Sam (his nick name then) is a pastor now!” They knew him as a fun loving, always joking sort of guy but not pastor material. But God changed him and it was so evident to them, that he is not the same person they once knew.
I’m sure we can all identify as we know friends that have had such a life change that they are hardly recognizable. Recently, I was introduced to a friend I hadn’t seen since high school when she was a rather quiet and shy. I didn’t recognize her as she was now a very confident person, a pastor, and the president of a college. Wow! My immediate thought that went through my mind was, only the Lord can produce such change!
We might ask ourselves, what would people say about us? Would they see Jesus in us? As I read today from II Cor. 5:15 (ESV), “and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” Paul said to the Christians in Corinth that it was the love of Christ that controls us and we are now a new creation, and the old has passed away and the new has come.
We should not be the same as we were years ago but rather changed more and more into His likeness and just maybe others will hardly recognize us
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to bring change to you where needed and to grow in your likeness to Him.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


September 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. What an exciting game for the Vikings and suspense until the last minute. 
The weather is cool and we are aware that Fall is here. This morning I did food prep, made Al cookies and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Is the Lord our first love today? We might ask ourselves that question, even though we may have been a Christian for many years. What is the condition of our hearts today? Is the Lord first above all other loves?
   We may think back on how we felt when we first fell in love and could hardly think of anything or anyone else besides our beloved. We wore a smile on our face continually and could hardly wait for the next chance to be together. Words were not always necessary for we could read each other’s hearts. 
   But today we might ask ourselves if we have grown cool over time and have let other things get in the way of the Lord being our first love. Gradually we can let other things squeeze out time with Him and other relationships that have become more important than Him. We must always be on guard for it can happen so subtlety, just like the church in Ephesus. They are told, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Rev 2:4). They are told to repent and to listen to the Spirit had to say or their lampstand would be removed.
  When we love the Lord with that same intensity that we had when we first came to know Him, His voice will be the sweetest sound to our ears. On Facebook I saw a new father who was stationed near his just born baby in the delivery room. The baby cried loudly, but each time he talked to her, she quickly quieted down for she recognized his voice. Most likely he spoke loving words to her while she was in utero just as the Father knew us when we were first conceived and loves us forever.
   May we make Him our first love and respond to His voice and leading.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you anything that is getting in the way of your love for Him and seek forgiveness.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

Rich Mullins – a “Ragamuffin” Christian

On  the 25th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in 1997, I was reading some articles by people he had influenced.  My memory of his music was stirred, music from the 80’s and early 90’s that still touches me today.  As Bethel McGrew observed, Mullins would “have defied easy categorization in today’s Christian culture wars.” Mullins was indeed a “ragamuffin” Christian for Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel” for people of faith who are among “the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.”

Mullins “was flawed and broken, every bit the raggamuffin he claimed to be and more.  But he told us the truth as he could see it,” noted Russell Moore.  Andrew Greer and Randy Cox wrote about the tension Mullins felt with the evangelical establishment of his time. “Rich chafed against the paint-by-numbers parameters of the gospel music industry.  From his ragamuffin perspectiven, his choice was clear: he could either appease the mass-market demands of a religiously ‘right’ constituency by softening his creed and diluting his dialogue or he could appeal to people’s heart through honest and human exchange.”

In my early days of spiritual growth, Mullins’ appeal was two-fold for me.   First, as Greer and Cox observed, Mullins appealed to the heart.  He knew and expressed emotional and spiritual suffering.  His songs expressed these sentiments.  The second aspect of Mullin’s influence on me was his searching for spirituality within the Catholic tradition (an asymptotic catholic).  He was positioned as a kind of “folk theologian in the space between Protestantism and Catholicism.”

There are several songs that I especially remember.  The first Awesome God, which was almost anthem during the height the the charismatic movement.  Both Judy and I have fond memories of those days.  It is a simple refrain: “Our God is an awesome God/He reigns from heaven above/With wisdom, power, and love/Our God is an awesome God.”  I can almost hear a large crowd singing this with all their might.

The second is Hold Me Jesus.  It is a haunting song of spiritual struggle.  I identified with Mullins’ struggle in this.  One verse goes: “Surrender don’t come natural to me/I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want/Than to take what You give that I need/And I’ve beat my head against so many walls/Now I’m falling down I’m falling on my knees.”  Wow.  I still identify with these words.

The chorus brings back a lot of memories: “So hold me Jesus ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf/You have been king of my glory/Won’t you be my Prince of Peace.” I remember identifying with “the leaf.”  It described my heart condition.  I was only learning to put my hand on my heart and look up to Jesus and cry for mercy.  Thank you, Jesus, for Rich Mullins’ vulnerability.

The third song is If I Stand.  I can still identify deeply with the chorus.  “So if I stand let me stand on the promise/That you will pull me through/And if I can’t, let me fall on the grace/That first brought me to You/And if I sing let me sing for the joy/That has born in me these songs/And if I weep let it be as a man/Who is longing for his home.”

Wow!  How often I still  have to “fall on the grace” that brought me to Jesus in the beginning.  I am thankful that God has given me the gift of tears, to weep over my own sins.  While I continue to journey, now on the homeward stretch, I long for home and for what is yet to come.  Thank you, Rich Mullins, for your influence in my life.


September 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you have a great weekend. It is overcast and light rain here. This morning I cleaned the apartment and did a little shopping. Tonight we have “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner!” which means we will show up at a designated home, along with others that are yet unknown, and have meal together. EmojiEmoji Fun!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We all face challenges every day but we can choose even ahead of time, not to let negative things rob us of our joy. We don’t tackle problems alone for we can face them head on in the strength of the Lord. That alone changes the equation!
  We are designed to be dependent on Him so when we get in tough circumstances, they are meant to draw us even closer to Him. We go not in our own strength but in His strength that never runs out. As Paul said in Phil 4:13 (AMP) “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me (am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency).”
   We can probably all think of times that we felt weak in light of some tough circumstance we had to go through. Maybe you are in that place right now. But when we give it all to the Lord in utter dependency, we can see His power go to work. He is in control and we are not and we can begin thanking Him for how He will work things out. Also, we must wait for a green light if there is something He wants us to do. But we are not to charge ahead until we sense the path we are to take. Otherwise, we can waste so much energy as we take detours and wrong turns and spoil God’s way of handling it all.
   As we spend time in regular communication with Him it helps sharpen our senses to recognize His voice from all the others. We need to be patient and not run a red light as we wait for Him to open the door. Then we can move forward in obedience.
   If we are used to doing our own thing and not consulting the Lord, this will be difficult. But we can start in small instances and totally rely on Him and watch Him work in ways we may never have conceived. As we trust Him more and more, we can fully lean on Him in the big concerns of our lives. He is worthy of our trust, always!! We can make it through everything when we trust in His sufficiency!
   Challenge for today: When a challenge comes to you, stop and pray and listen and wait for the green light.
Blessings on  your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


September 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are enjoying the weekend! This morning I made a new chicken recipe and the house is so full of good aroma. Will see if the taste matches it. Bill is doing well and may possibly go to the Transplant House today where he and his wife will be for quite some time. Thank you for prayers for him. A friend Bernadine could also use your prayers, as you will read.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
After a night of sleep I wake up most mornings with the question to the Lord of what He would have me write. I never know how He will lead me and often it is a surprise. I go to the scriptures and also to some devotionals online from Fuller seminary and other writers and often it sparks something in me to write.
   Recently I have been concerned for friends going through some serious health issues and as I read Debbie McDaniel’s words, she shared scriptures to start our day. One of the scriptures was Psalm 91 which is one I memorized when going through a tough time years ago. But this day the words meant more as I thought of our friend Bill, who I asked you to pray for, as he received his kidney transplant. I prayed that the Lord would be his refuge and strength and that no evil would befall him; also that God would protect him and as verse 16 says, “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” I praised the Lord for His watchfulness over Bill and how well he was doing with vital signs good, kidney working and walking laps around the nurses’ desk.. Bill’s help came from the Lord!
    I also have concern for my friend Bernadine who was just healing up from a fractured wrist and other symptoms from an encounter with a dog. She emailed that she was going to the ER as she had fallen down the stairs and later found out she had 3 fractures ribs and a broken collarbone etc. She lives alone but her former roommate was finally able to get a hold of her by phone and prayed for her. She emailed that Bernadine was a trooper and upbeat and full of faith.” Just like another scripture McDaniel had given from Psalm 46, Bernadine’s help was from the Lord, her very present help in trouble. She was not fearful for she knew the Lord was with her and she was not moved but trusting Him.
    A third scripture given was Psalm 121 about our help coming from the Lord. I thought of our friend in a nearby apartment whose sight is failing and her hearing diminishing. She is aware of her need for help from the Lord and as it says in verses 7-8, “The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Even though her sight and hearing is poor, God is with her and she is in His keeping power.
   As we read verses of scripture each day, may they speak to our hearts and applied to our lives as we claim the wonderful promises that are given.
Challenge for today: Read one of the Psalms and meditate on it as you go about your day. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


September 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. It seems like fall now with temperatures dropping. This morning I went downstairs for donuts and then to Aldi’s and this afternoon we have Bible Study. Bill came through his surgery and now has a new kidney. Continue to pray his body will accept this gift and that there will be no rejection. We had a picture sent of him eating breakfast and he looked great! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   We all have need to belong but we don’t always sense we have a place to fit in. But when we know the Lord, we are part of the body of Christ, the Lord being the head. Even though we are now all connected we don’t always feel a deep sense of community and often experience disappointment.  Community takes work and we may have expectations that seem to be unmet.  We can respond by choosing to stay on the fringes and begin looking at other churches; or we can decide to do all we can to become a part of body and also welcome others.
   But it takes effort from all of us to build community and since we are all flawed people, much grace must be extended to one another. We are the family of God and if family then we share life together, for we are brothers and sisters. We spend time getting to know one another, worshiping together, communing together, and helping each other as we go through times of trials and grief.
    We are to reflect Jesus to the world and to be that light on the hill that reflects His glory. Everyone is important and needed to help reach out to those who are lost but also to those hurting within the Body of believers. We are all to take responsibility and not leave everything up to a few more extroverted members. Instead, we need to all be committed to the Lord first and then to one another.
   Small groups have been important in our life as it was a place to share our hearts and struggles too, and to pray for one another. Sometimes small groups met at the church and sometimes in homes but it was a place where we connected with other believers and shared our souls. As we come to know love and have a sense of belonging, we will have love to give to others and help them connect too.
    It is wonderful when community is warm and welcoming but it also important to have moral boundaries and Christian values and principles; it’s a place where we speak truth in love.  I think of it as a gift that is to be treasured. Paul says in Eph 4:15-16, Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head. He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
   Challenge for today: Reach out to someone who is on the fringe and needs to know they have a place in the body of Christ. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 21, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Good morning! Today is a full day with exercise class and making more Alzheimer’s quilts, Bible Study etc. But I am sending this out early to ask for prayer for our friend Bill who is having a kidney transplant this afternoon at Mayo. He has Amyloidosis and we give thanks for the person who is donating their kidney to him. Prayers appreciated for Bill and the surgeon and for no rejection etc. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Have you ever awakened in the night and had a concern come to mind that left you wide-eyed for a while? You might then go through a mental list of the possibilities of how the problem might be solved or you could choose to give that concern to the Lord right then and leave the answer up to Him. The second option is definitely better!
  Recently, I woke up about 2 a.m., and I found myself thinking of a potential problem and was restless and wide awake. And then the words to a simple song came to mind, “Why worry when you can pray/ trust Jesus, He’ll be your stay/ Don’t be like doubting Thomas/ trust fully in His promise/ why worry, worry, worry, when you can pray.” This simple song spoke to my heart and reminded me of what we had learned the day before in Bible Study. We are now in I Peter who was writing to exiles who were scattered and many who were being persecuted. In class we talked about how we have a living hope and we can rejoice even in the midst of our trials and all that is happening around us. Our trust is in the Lord, even when we have no idea what is going to happen in the future.  We have an inheritance that is being kept in heaven for us and our time on earth is just a brief time and only our temporary home. So why worry about these momentary things but instead give them to the Lord.
    I proceeded to pray and gave the Lord my concern and the next thing I knew it was time to get up. I had peacefully fallen back to sleep and the Lord had also given me a dream that I will ponder in the days to come, as well.
   Let us remember where our hope lies for then we don’t have to worry about what is happening now or in the future, for it is all in His hands. Like it says in Lamentations 3:24-25 (ESV), “’The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks him.”
  Challenge for today: Then next time a concern comes to mind, tell the Lord you are trusting in Him, who is your Hope! 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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