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: October 2022 (Page 1 of 3)

Turn Your Eyes

During a recent Sunday morning worship service, we sang “Turn Your Eyes.”  But as we sang, I began to weep.  I sensed God was speaking to me.  You may ask, “How does Al know it was God?”  I have walked with the Lord for over 60 years.  I have learned through trial and error how to discern the Lord’s voice.  Two factors were evident to me during the worship service:  First, I was in no way expecting to tear up. Second, when I shed tears unexpectedly, I have found it is of the Lord.  Your experience might be different from mine.  Remember: we all experience him uniquely.  

The words to the song start out with an old chorus: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” and then move into a contemporary arrangement.  I was moved by the chorus: “Jesus, to You we lift our eyes/Jesus our glory and our prize/We adore you, behold You, our Savior ever true/Oh, Jesus we turn our eyes to You.”  It goes on to say, “Turn your eyes to the heavens/Our king will return for His own/Every knee will bow, every tongue will shout/All glory to Jesus alone.” 

I write this post as a confession, in the hope that it might stimulate other men to see God’s faithful hand in their journey.  God does not want us to abandon our post in the coming battle.   I’d like to share three reflections with you:

First, when we sang “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,” the song took me back to the early days after my conversion at the California Lutheran Bible School from 1960 to 1962.  Those were foundational years in my spiritual formation.  My confession is this: I have lost my first love…  “Yet I hold this against you.  You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev 3:4-5). 

When the above scripture reads, “Do the things you did at first,” I confess that the enthusiasm and excitement of those early days has waned.  I now see that my life must be all for Jesus.  I have let spiritual practices, theology, and my spiritual improvement projects get in the way of my first love.  I just need to seek to know Jesus better (John 17:3).” 

Secondly, I have come back full circle to my roots, which are in the warm-hearted, evangelistic movement of the Lutheran church.  I belong to a church of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.   We are part of the revival movements within the Lutheran tradition.  I have spent much time “tasting” the rich spiritual fruit of other movements and traditions.  But God has brought me back home to my roots.

Thirdly, I must be willing to speak the name of Jesus in a culture that is fast becoming an “antichrist” culture.  This has happened throughout history in cultures that have forsaken the Lord.  I John warns us, “Children, time is just about up.  You heard that Antichrist is coming.  Well, they’re all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look.  That’s how we know that we’re close to the end” (I John 2:18 MSG). 

I share this confession with you because the enemy wants you to become lukewarm or even deny the Lord, like Peter did.  But we need to sing, “Jesus, to You we lift up our eyes.”  With the Psalmist we make it our confession. “Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.  Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2 NLT).

October 31, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  What a great win for the Vikings yesterday and an exciting game!! This morning I have been doing food prep and soon going to my exercise class. Hope to walk the trail as the weather has been perfect. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 With Halloween here, we are made more aware of witchcraft and occult activity taking place in our culture. There are many shows, movies and books that deal with the supernatural and so many people are taken in by spiritual forces that are opposed to the Lord.\
  When I was a teen, we were warned not to meddle in Ouija boards, palm reading and seances as they are not harmless but open the door to the enemy. I realized this in a deep way when a gal in one of our churches, went to the cities and was involved in a séance, She saw first-hand the power of the enemy and was so scared she rushed to her car and drove many miles to our house to get prayed over.
   I read an article by the late Billy Graham who warned us of the dangers of the occult and not to involve ourselves in any practices of spiritual forces that are opposed to God. The Bible warns us and in Eph. 6:12 the apostle Paul says, ”For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
   In one study, it revealed that 73% of the youth in America have been involved in at least one type of psychic activity or witchcraft. How sad that so many gravitate to forces that are opposed to God and in league with Satan.
   We need to protect ourselves and our children and not get sucked in to the enemy’s tactics. He will make us think it is not big deal but it is when we give him entrance into our lives through occult practices. Let us pray much, read the Word and be in fellowship with other believers so we can stand against his schemes. God is far more powerful and may we stand in the strength of his might.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you against anything that opens the door to the enemy.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

October 29, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. We are enjoying our walks on the trail before the weather gets cold. Today I cleaned and made a Birthday dinner as we will be celebrating Leif’s birthday a little early when they come through Baxter later today. It will be good to get back to our church tomorrow as we have missed lately because of traveling. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   All of us are needy and desire to be loved and fully known. God also wants to be known by us in relationship to Him and to one another. In I Cor. 13:12 the apostle Paul says, “Now I know in part; then I shall be fully known.” As we come closer to the Lord and expose each part of ourselves to Him, we often feel shame. We may make the choice to move away from the Lord, and from others, in and effort of trying to hide. But that is the opposite of what will remove our shame.  Al has felt that in preaching over the years, that people are quite aware of their sinfulness and don’t need that pounded into them, but to let them know there is a God who forgives and loves them, along with those in the Body of Christ.
   I just finished reading a book by Curt Thompson M.D. on shame and how to reframe it in light of the Lord. For most all of us, our natural tendency is to hide our weaknesses, mistakes and shame from ourselves, our family, church, and friends. We are afraid to reveal our real selves as it leaves us feeling inadequate and not enough. We want to hide! But Thompson says we need voices that say we are loved and cared for and to share our vulnerabilities. Healing comes as we come out of hiding and share our wounds and shame. It is so true that to be loved-and to fully loved- requires that we are fully known.”
  Our son and daughter-in-law go to a small group weekly with people from their church. It is a safe place and opportunity is given to share their life stories and to reveal themselves. As they receive healing prayers, they also hear words that express care and love from others. Shame is exposed but is now is seen through the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father who forgives. They are given hope and courage to flourish again.   
   Let us not hold on to shame but share with others and let ourselves be known, that our story may be retold in light of grace.
Challenge for today: Identify areas of your shame and share with a trusted friend.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

October 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Happy weekend to you!! Nice to see the sun shining! Today we will be celebrating birthdays here and Al and I are soon going to Costco to get the cake. I baked S.F Choc chip cookies this morning and will make chix soup later and set up for the party. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    How patient are we? That is a question I ask of myself. As I read Juliet Canha’s book, Life lessons in Transformation and Rest, I was made aware of how short I fall short in having a patient heart.
  None of us were born with patience for we cried whenever a need wasn’t met until we were fed and tended. As adults our impatience is evident as we want instant everything; our computers don’t work fast enough, we want to be waited on the moment we arrive at a restaurant, and we get impatient if we have to wait in the checkout line etc.
   Patience is a fruit of maturity and hopefully we learn patience in life, even if it is learned the hard way by suffering consequences. Maybe we have all bought something impulsively online without checking further and reading the reviews etc. to find out it is not something of worth. Or could it be that we sometimes run ahead of God and take matters into our own hands? There are so many examples in scripture of those who missed out because of their impatience in waiting for God’s timing. Saul found that out as he lost the kingdom. On the other hand, in contrast, think of David who was anointed king by Samuel and yet it took many years before he could take the throne. He was patient and didn’t try to make it happen in his timing.
   We can live in peace when we trust God and wait for Him to direct our lives. Canha shares some suggestions and tells us first to quiet our own spirit so we can hear God’s whispers as He directs us. It is also important to ask the Holy Spirit to shine His light into our hearts that we might ask forgiveness of anything that would stand in the way of us hearing Him. Then going a step farther, we invite Him to take control of our schedules and agendas and empty us of self. Then we can wait for Him to lead as we patiently stay in neutral and watch for His leading.
  Let us not take off in our own power but wait as the disciples did to be clothed with power from on high. In our patience for the Holy Spirit’s direction for us, we will come to experience that our dependency is truly on Him.
  Challenge for today: Begin the day by asking the Holy Spirit to direct you in all things and give up your own schedule.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy



October 27, 2022

Dear Ones,  
Hope you are enjoying this day. I went downstairs for donuts and coffee this morning and then shopped for the Good Samaritan boxes. Soon we will have Bible Study and then going to do errands. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The truth is we all need the Lord but we also need one another. I love that the Lord gives us others to help us on our journey through life. He speaks encouragement to us through His Word but sometimes He uses a friend and even a stranger to give us just the exact word that can lift us up when we feel down, or give us hope when we feel afraid of the future etc.
   We recently went to a wedding where the Lord brought together a young man who had prayed for a Christian wife and a woman who had prayed for a godly man to marry. God has joined them together in a strong bond but the fucus is not just on them, but pleasing God first. What an encouragement they are to one another. 
   Just like this couple who are tightly knit,  I also believe that the Lord wants to closely unite His body together so we also are mutually strengthened and encouraged. More than ever before, as we see things in our culture get worse when God is left out, there is strength when Christians bind together in oneness. Rom. 15:1-2 (Message), says, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each of us needs to look at the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” When we are knit together in oneness we can speak truth to one another, bear each other’s burdens, remind one another of God’s promises.
  We all falter at times, even as the prophet Elijah who was so discouraged and scared after a run-in with Jezebel, who wanted him killed. But just like him, fear and disappointment can trip any of us up; but when others shine their light on us, or lend a hand there is strength and power and oneness.
   Let us not neglect to gather with those who God sends our way/
Challenge for today: Take a moment to encourage someone God puts in your path today.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


October 26, 2022

Dear Ones, Alzheimers
Hope you are having a great day! We are glad to be safely home again and I am sending a more detailed account of our trip back. This morning I did food prep, washed clothes, went to my exercise class; this afternoon is a coffee party and time to view all the Alzheimer’s quilts that we made these past weeks. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
  There are times we just have a vivid sense of the Lord’s presence with us and we find ourselves leaning into His strength. We may feel needy and call out to Him for help and there is great power in the very name of Jesus. Like the song goes that many of us learned at an early age, “In the name of Jesus/ In the name of Jesus/ We have the victory/ In the name of Jesus/ in the name of Jesus / demons will have to flee/ Who can tell what God can do/ Who can tell of His love for you/ In the name of Jesus, Jesus/ We have the victory.”
  Such was the time when we went to our son’s home in North Carolina. We prayed before we took off on our trip and then committed each day to the Lord’s leading. We never knew what was in store for us but our desire was to follow His leading. After a wonderful time with Mark’s family, we took off at 2:30 a.m. for home and traveled 953 miles to a hotel in Iowa. But we encountered what was probably an accident on the freeway as traffic was at a standstill and we got off on side roads, as some others did. It began to rain and was dark and very hard to see on narrow roads. As Al drove, I often said the name of Jesus and we asked for His help. I recalled the verse in Jer. 33:3 (Message), “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” Tell us Lord where to go, we are lost and tired and hungry and the road is so narrow and dark and hard to see.  I also saw a car that had just been hit by another. After quite some time, all of a sudden, Al took a turn and we saw lights ahead and got back on the road exactly where it led to our hotel. We couldn’t believe it. The gal at the hotel desk said we have 5 minutes to get our food before the buffet was over and told us to just unpack later. As we sat at our table, eating, our hearts were so grateful and Al and I kept saying to each other, “It was the Lord! It was the Lord!” Our hearts were so thankful and aware of His presence and power.
   There are times we all experience that are dark and difficult and we wonder how we are going to get through. We feel helpless and alone but we must remember He is there in the midst and will get us through. Let us call to Him and who can tell what He will do!!!
  Challenge for today: When going through a tough circumstance, make your first response to call on the name of Jesus and watch for what He will do!!


October 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day, entering into all that God has for you. We are in Coralville, Iowa, after traveling 16 hours and 900 miles yesterday. As it was getting dark and raining hard, the freeway was totally stopped and thought it might be an accident as lights flashing etc… we got off and took another very winding narrow route. We were so grateful for your prayers as we arrived safely to our hotel! Today we head home!!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Are we people of faith; faith in a God we can’t see but loves us and is true to His promises? In I john 5:4 it says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Today we need faith more than ever before as we live in this uncertain world. We don’t know what will happen next and life seems more fragile today.
   It takes courage and faith that comes from trusting in the Lord to overcome the darkness around us. At times we may feel like tight rope walkers as we try to live a life of faith and not be overcome by the world; but the Lord is our safety net underneath us at all times.
   Maybe we are doing our best to escape difficulties but we are not to run from them but stay faithful. That means believing God will bring good out of whatever challenges we are going through right now; nothing can touch our lives without God allowing it to happen. Joni Eareckson Tada knows what it is to trust and accept His will for being a quadriplegic; but she says she would never exchange her suffering and pain for all the spiritual benefits she has gained in coming to know the Lord in this deep way
    God wants us to have faith to surrender everything into His hand which includes all of our hurts and pain. We hear so often that we need to take control of our lives but the truth is we need to surrender control of our lives to the Lord. Author Juliet Ann Canha writes how when we are in control of our lives it is the same as self-rule. We want to run our own lives the way we want and that means resisting what God has for us. But it is in wisdom not weakness that we surrender in obedience to obey God. Instead of working things out ourselves and trying to manipulate others and force our own way…we simply let go and let God have His way. It’s really the only way to live if we want peace.
Challenge for today: In faith, daily choose to surrender to the Lord and say, “Your will, not mine.”
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you have been enjoying this weekend. I am sending this to you early as we plan to go on the road home early tomorrow morning and  would appreciate prayers for a safe and well journey. We were blessed to be at Mark and Andrea’s church this morning and out to a Mexican restaurant; then an afternoon of more games and fun times together.Tonight is popcorn and more fun. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Each day is a gift from God and also a day that the Lord has given us to know Him better and to seek His will. A good way to start the day is to praise and thank the Lord for He has kept us through the night and to ask for His directions for the day.
   I was reading in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians and his desire for them is “to walk to please God” and to continue to do that more and more. He also says in I Thess. 3:12 (SV) “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus.” At the close of his letter, he reminds them again to get along and to encourage one another, to do good, to pray without ceasing, to give thanks in all circumstances and not to quench the Holy Spirit. Think of how blessed each day would be if we practiced all that Paul was saying.
   When we were with Mark and Andrea’s pastor and wife, they were so open to the Holy Spirit and excited over what God was doing in the lives of the congregation. We loved hearing how many were getting words from the Lord that spoke to their hearts, healings, and changed lives. When we are open to the Holy Spirit, we have no idea what wonderful miracles of God will follow. Since we are not in charge, we are often surprised by what transpires as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s no longer all about what we want but rather the will of God.
I had an e-mail today from someone who sensed God was telling her what to do and say to  group which was different than what she had planned. She knew afterwards that it was the right thing and there was beautiful fruit! 
   God wants to meet us where we are at, and the Holy Spirit uses the Word and others to speak to our life situations. May our focus be on Him and let each day unfold with a readiness to do His will.
  Challenge for today: Pray to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading each day as you wake.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

My Little Red Wagon

Recently Judy and I attended an annual gathering of friends we have known for a long time.  They all have been instrumental in our spiritual journey.  We always enjoy a rich time of fellowship as we share our faith journeys over the previous year.

While we were in prayer, I had a vision of a little, red, shiny wagon.  I have had visions before when I have been in prayer with others.  I have learned to test and discern if it is from the Lord or part of my overactive imagination.  When a vision sticks with me and is so vivid and relevant, I can trust it to be from the Lord.  

I wonder!!  Are visions going to be more frequent in our day?  With so much hostility and unbelief being expressed towards the Good News of Jesus and his kingdom, will God manifest himself in direct ways to let us know, “I am here, and I am at work?”  Could God be giving his people visions to awaken our souls, giving us a hunger to seek him with all their hearts?  May we not be hardened to the awareness of his presence.     

We read in Acts 2:16-18, “In the last days,  God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophecy.”  Peter included  these words in the first sermon preached in the book of Acts.  Could we be in the last days?  I don’t know.  But if people are having visions and dreams, it is time to pay attention (Job 33:14-17). 

Now for the vision:  It was a bright, red wagon, the kind youngsters would use in play.  I was pushing the wagon with much effort.  Then Jesus came along and told me to get into the wagon and let him pull the wagon by the handle.  So I got into the wagon and allowed him to pull it.  So, what is God wanting to show me?  And how might it be helpful for men reading this blog?

First, I was reminded to be on constant guard against spiritual pride. The wagon was bright and shiny red.  I was with friends who know me well.  I wanted to look “bright and shiny” spiritually.  I was trying to push the wagon.  I wanted others to see how spiritual I was.  I was reminded of the parable in which Jesus is invited to the house of Pharisee in Luke 14.  Noticing those who choose the higher place, Jesus warned about being “humiliated” when asked to take the lowest place.  Then he said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). 

Secondly, I was reminded about being childlike, by getting into the wagon and allowing Jesus to be in charge.  Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4).  I need to let go, get in the wagon, and simply be childlike in my enthusiasm and joy of being pulled by the Lord.   

Thirdly, I was reminded to let Jesus direct and pull the wagon.  All my effort in pushing my shiny, red wagon is for naught.  I need to constantly remember that I am not “pushing” my walk with the Lord.  He knows best how to bring change in my life. I have to let go and give him control (Gal. 2:20). 





October 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We had a wonderful day yesterday as Al had the morning with Mark and I had time with Andrea to really catch up. The whole afternoon was spent playing games outdoors with John Mark and A.j. Then we had a scrumptious steak dinner and rich evening of fellowship and prayer with their pastor’s family. Tomorrow we will go to their church and out to a Mexican restaurant they love. By the time you get my next e-mail we will be heading back to MN and would appreciate prayers for a safe and well journey. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  I pray daily for the Body of Christ to be bound together in unity and love, for the days ahead are going to get more difficult for all of us. We need one another and the Lord will strengthen us as we gather in unity of Spirit and stand against all that the enemy is pouring out against us. Does that mean we all agree on everything interpreted in scripture? Or that we politically agree? No, but we are not to major on the differences but stand together in oneness of Who we serve. I woke today with a song going through my mind of how it is in the cross we can hide and it is His grace that is sufficient so we can stand together at the foot of the cross.
  In war, we need others around us to protect our back, and we don’t care what color they are, what political party they are, or what their view is on the rapture. We are in a spiritual battle that is getting more intense and need to fight together but with spiritual weapons. That means we won’t have to argue about who is right on issues but humbly lay down our pride. Like it says in II Tim 2:24-25a (NRSV), “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, and correcting opponents with gentleness.” We can count on God to defend the truth of the matter and we can let it go. That may mean we are quick to ask forgiveness when we insist our way is the only way and fail to listen to others.
   The enemy loves to bring disharmony and cause us to look at fellow Christians as the enemy rather than him. Let us not use our swords on one another but only use the sword of the spirit to quench the enemy’s fiery darts.
   This should be a time when the fruit if the Spirit will be evidenced more. When we are put near others in the Body of Christ, we love them no matter what. We express joy even in our struggles and live together in peace. Also, we show kindness, goodness. Patience, gentleness and self-control.  May the Holy Spirit empower us to be faithful to the Lord and to love Him as He binds us together as His followers in a culture that doesn’t embrace truth.
  Challenge for today: Be willing to be closely knit with others in the Body of Christ and respond in humility and love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


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