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: December 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

December 31, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you have are having a good New Years Eve day. We just got home from Applebee’s as we got a gift card to celebrate there. Yesterday we ended up going to the lake and saw friends and had supper with Ann’s family. This morning I cleaned the apartment and made Al a hot pizza dip that he likes as he watches the games. I’m sure we will not make it up to midnight tonight! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 A New Year is almost here and it is a good time to reflect on what God has done in this past year and to praise Him and celebrate that. Then it is wise to move on and make room for the new things He has in store for us if we are willing to let go of the old. 
 Our friends are moving out of the split-level home they have known for 21 years, to enter into a Senior Living apartment. It is a huge process to let go of the many things that will not fit into the new apartment and they have been working on that task this past year. In January they will have to let go of the old familiar and enter into a whole new way of living and that takes a great deal of adjusting. We know about that from experience as we did the same thing almost 4 1/2 years ago. But in looking back now, I think of all the blessings we would have missed if we had not taken that step of faith.
  Each of us will experience new things in 2023 as we desire to walk closer in His presence and to know the Lord in deeper ways.  What He did in the past was wonderful, but there are always new and wondrous things awaiting us. We don’t have to worry about His provision for He will give us all that we need in abundance. His generosity exceeds ours. As the apostle Paul said in Phil. 4:19 (NRSV), “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to the riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” We need to open our hearts and our minds and spirits and simply trust Him. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and to point out the path we are to take each day as we walk in the light that He gives us. It says in Isaiah 30:21 that when we are open to the Spirit, we will hear a word behind us telling us the way to go, whether to the right or to the left. Let us experience and enter in to all the new He has for us in 2023, as we let go of the old.
  Challenge for today: End the year in praise for all that the Lord has done, and then enter 2023 with faith and openness to the new!
Blessings on this New Years Eve day and prayers and Love, Judy


December 30, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy New Year’s weekend to you! I have been trying to clean out the old to make ready for the New Year. I went through our cards and want to do the finances next. This morning I made Oh Henry bars and a veggie stirfry and shopped. We do love to still go for our walk each day. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   As we grow in the Lord and learn to decrease and for Him to increase, many things will no longer trip us up that use to. If we are attacked or maligned by someone, we can let it go and respond with God’s love instead. It takes a lot of decreasing and dying to our own ego, but it is possible when His love gives us the grace to respond more as the Lord would have us. 
   As Paul said in Galatians 2:20- (Message), “I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
   Recently my cousin called and shared something that happened to her family. They got something in the mail regarding the cost of her mom’s care in Assisted Living. It was going to increase because of the next level of care she was needing. But there was only one problem; her mom had died more than a month before and we were at her funeral. It was a time of celebration of her life lived for the Lord and for others. Now Linda had a choice if she would give the nursing home a piece of her mind or if she would respond in love. This is what she wrote and you can determine which way she took.  
 “Pioneer Care Staff,
I am writing you to inform you that my mom, Rhoda____, died on November 8th, at your Care facility. You sent us a letter that you were increasing mom’s level of care to the highest level, which will increase the amount you have to pay. Well, I can assure you that my mom is receiving the highest level of care possible. She is up in heaven at the feet of Jesus. My only hope is that she doesn’t have to cook or clean, she’s really good at both. My mom was an awesome, loving, caring, faithful woman. By the way, mom loved it there. And, thank you to anyone that took time to wash mom up ad keep her clean. That took time to put her wig on, and straighten up her room. God bless you all who are ambitious enough to work.”
  So far no response from the nursing home!
Challenge for today: Pray before responding to difficult situations and ask for God’s words and guidance. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

December 29, 2022

Dear Ones, 
It’s warming up and hope you are having a good day. This morning I put away our Christmas decorations and presents, and went downstairs for cookies on a stick. This afternoon we have Bible Study and we usually have a good number that come and also share. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  At this Christmas season we focus on the coming of Immanuel, whose name means God with us. Just think that Jesus left His heavenly home in glory to become one of us and to die for us to receive forgiveness. It is hard to take in and His very name gives us the assurance that He will not abandon us but is always, always with us. What a comfort that is when we get hit by difficult circumstances and go through things we don’t understand and can’t make sense of.
   When we commit our lives into His hands, we can rest assured that we don’t walk alone but He is in our midst, His presence is right there with us. So many lack that assurance today as loneliness is at an all-time high and the suicide rate is soaring.
   I am reminded of Moses words, just before his death, that he spoke to Joshua to encourage him to go in and take the land that God had promised His people. He first of all tells him not to be afraid because God was going to go with Him. He said in Deut.31:6 (God’s Word), “Be strong and courageous. Don’t tremble! Don’t be afraid of them! The Lord your God is the One who is going with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you.” That is a word for us also, for the Lord will never abandon us and He can give us a song to sing in the darkest night.
    Like the song goes, “There’s within my heart a melody/Jesus whispers sweet and low/ Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still/ in all of life’s ebb and flow.” And then verse 4 says, “Tho’ He leads thro’ waters deep/ trials fall across the way/ Tho’ sometimes the path seems rough and steep/ See His footprints all the way.” But then the chorus rings out, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus/ Sweetest name I know/ Fills my every longing/ keeps me singing as I go.”
  May the Lord give us a song to sing even in the night when things are the darkest for Immanuel is with us.
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord as you start your day that He is with you every moment of this day.
Blessings on  your day and prayers and love, Judy


December 28, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We enjoyed time with relatives over Christmas and now it is good to be home again too.This morning I am going to Aldi’s and my exercise class and hope to walk the trail this afternoon. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  God wants His way in our lives and of course, His way is always, always best. I thought of the song that you have probably sung, “Have thine own way, Lord!/ Have thine own way/ Thou art the Potter/ I am the clay/ Mold me and make me/ after Thy will/ while I am waiting, yielded and still.”  Maybe we can picture ourselves on the potter’s wheel and know He is shaping us into a vessel for Him. We don’t know what it will look like, but at times we may feel like we are crushed down and have to be reshaped in certain areas of our lives.
  I have been in the book of Genesis in my devotions and am reading about Joseph and all he went through. I am quite sure he felt like his clay was crumbled when he was 17 after he unwisely told his brothers of his 2 dreams of the sheaves and the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowing down to him.  His overconfidence and bragging cost him many hardships, pain, even imprisonment, but through those crushing times, he let God form Him and became a man of integrity who God used to save many in the time of famine. He had a choice though, if he would let his adverse circumstances level him, or if he would have a positive response and learn from them. He chose the latter and others recognized God’s was with him.
   Like Paul says in Romans 9:20-21 (God’s Word), “Can an object that was made say to its maker, ’Why did you make me like this?’ A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasions or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay.”  We do well to let Him work our clay into His desired shape. When the Lord sees our imperfections, He has to crush it down to a lump and begin the process of reshaping again. But if we resist His will, we experience pressure in our lives and need to come to repentance. When we accept what He is forming us into, the pressure is relieved and He makes us into a vessel that He has chosen for us.
   God is sovereign and may we remember that He is the potter and we are the clay.
Challenge for today: When you sense you are resisting the Lord’s work in your life, yield to Him and let Him mold and shape you into something beautiful.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



December 27, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a glorious Christmas! We are home now from the cities and had a wonderful time with about 35 relatives for two days. So thankful as we all had good roads, a wonderful time together, lots of sharing, games, shopping, and just being together. I came home feeling so full of blessings from above!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Christmas is a time of giving for God gave His very best gift by sending His Son. But every day is a time for giving if our hearts overflow with gratitude and thankfulness. Today I came across a couple verses in Proverbs that speak of giving. I know the Lord doesn’t need our gifts for He owns everything, but He wants our hearts to be open to give to others as unto Him.
I read the from Proverbs 11:24-25 (Message), “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” As I read these two verses I thought of a friend of mine whom I recently visited and whose life is blessed as she knows the joy of giving. It isn’t that she has a lot to give, for she doesn’t, but she wants to give what she has. All year long she thinks of what she can give at Christmas to those who give her care and those around her who need care. Since she has very limited sight and is confined to her wheelchair, she has to be very creative. We both pray that she will be able to give each person on her list something special. This year it was jewelry for the women and warm socks for the men on her list. She couldn’t rest until all the gifts were wrapped and addressed so she could give them out. She found so much joy in giving, especially to those who would not otherwise receive any gift for Christmas. When I arrived to see her, she and a friend had a table set up in her room with pretzels and eggnog that she was going to serve to the aids and friends. She gives without expecting anything in return.
How opposite the world’s way is of holding on to things, and saying mine, mine, mine! People want more and more possessions and run out of room to even store them. Really, who need a house for two people that is bigger than a hotel? But God’s way is for us to give not only of our possessions, but our time and our energy too. The paradox is that when we are generous we become satisfied and richer, but when we are stingy we become poorer and we just keep wanting more without being satisfied.
Let us be giving and generous and not withhold what God prompts us to give.
Challenge for today: Gladly give to someone in need the next time the Holy Spirit prompts you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


December 25, 2022

Dear Ones,
   May His peace and joy fill your hearts on this Christmas Day! 
We enjoyed time at Ann’s yesterday with a delicous meal, presents, and a win for the Vikings. The snow covered trees made the drive so beautiful. We got home just in time to greet at the Candle light service. Today we are leaving early for the cities to join many relatives at the hotel to spend two days and nights together to celebrate Christmas. We look forward to seeing everyone and to catch up with family.I am sending the devotional for Monday early as I am not taking my computer with me. I hope to write again when we come home on Tuesday. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
On this Christmas day I am sending a prayer by writer Meg Mucher
  Praise You for Christmas! Even the surrounding commercialism could not dim the Truth cast by the light of the stars the night Jesus was born on earth. This is the day You have made! We will rejoice and be glad in it! This Christmas is as unique as all of the others. Speak to us, and show us who You are this Christmas. Illuminate the Truth at an angle we’ve never stopped to think about before. Help us to notice the nuances of the day Jesus came into the world and embrace the gravity of His arrival on earth. 
  Your mercies are new every day, God. Great is Your faithfulness! This Christmas, embolden us to share what we have received with everyone You place in our paths. When we feel alone, remind us You know who we are. We are never alone in Christ. He is with us, always, through the Holy Spirit residing in all who believe in Him. 
  Father, let us not forget the latter part of today’s biblical truth: “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.” Father, Christmas can challenge our schedules, patience, and ability to see through all of the commercialism to the real Truth of Christmas. Help us to consistently turn to You daily. Don’t let us embrace the idols of materialism over You. Stay first and foremost in our lives, God. Let us be fully prepared to share the Truth of Christmas.
  Father, help us be aware of twisted truths and false teachers. We pray for their exposure, and also their restoration and way back to the actual Truth. Help us to focus on the Truth, Christ Jesus, this Christmas. Let nothing knock our focus off of Him, God. Show us, in new layers, why He came …who He is …and what Your will is for us as we follow Him faithfully as the magi were guided by the light of the star to Him.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen”

Blessings to you on this Christmas day! Prayers and love, Judy

Slippery Ice

In an article in Mere Orthodoxy, Leah Libresco Sargeant points to the need for traditions in culture: “Traditions are tutorials in practical wisdom.  At their best, they are desired paths, wearing a clear trail to follow through the landscape, shaped by the experiences of many prior walkers.”  She quotes philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein on the danger of losing clear trails, walking rather on slippery ice: “We have got onto slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground.”

We certainly seem to be slipping a great deal today.  With so many opinionated voices pontificating on the future, the impression is given of a group of children, sliding on the ice, indifferent to any possible collisions… simply enjoying their freedom without regard to any consequences. Growing up in northern Michigan, I have fond memories of playing on ice with my buddies, unaware of ensuing chaos.  The illusion of safely playing on ice was soon met with the reality of painful accidents.  I remember the bumps and bruises received from playing so carefree on the ice.  

This image of slippery ice reminds me of Jesus asking his generation if they were really listening to him.  Remember: John the Baptist portrayed Jesus as “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him'” (Matt. 3:3).  Jesus asked, “How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy.  I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff.  Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they?  The proof of the pudding is in the eating” (Matt. 11:16-19 – Message).  Are we listening to Jesus or are we more concerned about the opinions of our culture?

Slipping on ice is like having our finger in the air, paying more attention to opinion polls than to the potential consequences of slipping on the ice.  Without traction there is little hope of finding direction for the future.  We will continue to be like children, enjoying our freedom, with no sense of direction? How can one make sense of this carefree chaos, when this seems to be the dominant narrative?      

As followers of Jesus, we belong to the “Way” (Acts 9:2).  We walk on the ancient paths of pilgrims who have gone before us.  Jeremiah warns us of a crossroads: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths; ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls ” (Jer. 6:16).  It behooves us to get “back to the rough ground.”  It may not seem like freedom, but it helps us prepare for the collisions ahead.

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we are “surrounded by… a great cloud of witnesses.”  We embrace “the great tradition” – walking in the path of those who have gone before. We belong to the communion of saints. To maintain our focus on the great tradition and the well-traveled paths, we need community.  “The nature of tradition,” notes Sargeant, “is that it is too large to be contained in only one person’s life.”  We need to cultivate the work of living an alternative to the dominant culture.  This can be found in the body of Christ.  




December 24, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are having a blessed Christmas weekend. We are leaving this morning for Ann’s and will be stopping on the way at Assisted Living to see a friend. We plan to be home for the candle light Christmas eve service at our church. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  If we were asked if we know that God loves us, most of us may answer yes, of course I do. But in our heart of our hearts, we may doubt that He can love us when we do wrong, and that He can accept us as we are. If we were loved by parents who expressed love no matter how poor or well we did, it will be easier; but often love is conditional. Since we are all flawed, we often pass on to God this same conditional love and as a result we miss the joy of knowing we are loved no matter what. God so loves the world and as it says in John 3:17, “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him,
   God loves us not just when we have good behavior or do spiritual disciplines but even when we are at our worst. This is contrary to the world whose love is based on our appearance, how we perform and how much wealth we have. There will always be others that are prettier, accomplish more and have more money. But God loves us just as we are, so why shouldn’t we love ourselves as He loves us. I am so imperfect and know more each day how much I need His forgiveness and love. But I also have to remember that He loves me just the way I am right now in my broken condition.  Author James Smith gives the example of St. Teresa who was a Carmelite nun and wrote a poem of her experience of God’s love. She reflected on all she had done in her life and was hesitant to draw close to the Lord; She sensed she was not worthy and then wrote, “God showed me His compassion and spoke a divine truth, “I made you, dear, and all I make is perfect. Please come close, for I desire you.”
   Maybe we also need to hear that word today that God made us and we are perfect. Smith says,” We can be perfect in our being, even when not perfect in our doing, because we are made exactly as God intended.
  Our love is fickle as sometimes we love and other times we don’t, but God is love always and wants what is best for us.  His love is complete and it is never-ending and endures forever. He loves us every moment of our day. I never tire of Al telling me he loves me and may we never tire of Jesus expressing His love for us.
Challenge for today: Open your spiritual eyes to see all the many ways God is loving you. 
Blessings on your Christmas and prayers and love, Judy

December 23, 2022

Dear Ones,
  Happy Christmas Weekend!  Hope you are keeping warm on this cold weekend. This morning I cleaned the apartment and did food prep and some packing. Tomorrow we plan to go to the Lake and have a Christmas dinner with Ann’s family. We also hope to get home in time to go to the Christmas candlelight service at our church. Then on Saturday we all go to the cities to celebrate with extended family.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How hard it is to let go of our old ego, to die to our old self that keeps wanting to rise up again. We all go through humbling times and we may want to strike back when someone treats us wrongly but that is not the Jesus way. We must move on from an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, as Jesus calls us to refrain from seeking to get even. That is a hard one for sure. He says in Matt. 5:38-42 (Message), “Here’s what I propose: Don’t hit back at all. If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
  The closer we grow to the Lord, the less we have to get upset about. It is great when people treat us well but of course we all will experience times when we are blamed, taken advantage of and spoken against. Our natural inclination is to stand up and defend ourselves and our reputation. John Michael Talbot writes about an extreme example of nonresistance that I just marvel at. The desert father, Marcarius, was falsely accused of fathering a child by a promiscuous woman. Instead of trying to get justice, he passively accepted the blame and cared for the woman and the coming baby. The birth was a difficult one with much pain and the woman believed it was a sign from God and she repented and cleared the monk’s good name. The townspeople also repented for they had judged him, but Marcrius didn’t gloat but went on as if nothing had ever happened.
   Would that describe us? I am quite sure I may have tried to defend myself. There are times I have done that in the past, but it would have been better if I would have let it go and endured it silently.  May we all seek to die more to ourselves and not react but embrace the cross.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help your respond in love to those who do you harm and not react but pray.
Blessings on your Christmas weekend. Love, Judy

December 22, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day and keeping snug and warm. We are glad we don’t have to go out today as our Bible Study is just downstairs. This morning I have been busy in the kitchen and made Cauliflower potatoes, sweet potato rounds, S.F. blueberry muffins and also went downstairs for a quick cup of coffee. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Soon we all will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate Christmas which usually means a feast of good food, laughter, gifts, carols, games, reading the Christmas story etc. But in all of our celebrating, do we really remember Jesus’ birthday and the reason we are gathered in the first place. At some gatherings He is totally ignored and other places his name cannot even be mentioned lest someone be offended. How sad that the birthday of the coming of the King of Kings is ignored by so many in our culture.
  But even if we are not overt in honoring the Lord, our actions and behavior should tell the story of His love that has changed our lives,and those closest to us would be the first to take notice. Today I read about the man who was tormented by evil spirits and lived among tombs. He suffered greatly and cried out to Jesus. Then Jesus did a miraculous thing for He cast the demons into a herd of pigs who then rushed down the slope and were drowned in the sea. What a miraculous change happened to that man and he wanted to accompany Jesus as he went about preaching and healing.. But Jesus told him in Mark 5:19 (Amplified), “Go home to your own (family and relatives and friends) and bring back word to them of how much the Lord has done for you, and (how He has) had sympathy for you and mercy on you.” He told him to start with those that knew him best like his family and friends, for they would certainly see the wonderful change in his life. And that’s exactly what he did; he went home and began preaching in the region of Ten Cities about what Jesus had done for him.
  Our mission field begins with our families and friends and goes out from there. Some of us may not have seen part of our family since last Christmas, and what would their take be about us? Would they be able to discern that we spend time with the Lord, that we desire to live for Him and do His will? Would they see love reflected in our eyes, and kindness in our actions?  
  Let us be witnesses of God’s mercy and share when we get an opportunity, but also let our unspoken actions witness of His grace.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for opportunities to humbly share Him with family and friends. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


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