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: February 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

February 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a peacefilled day. The sun is shining and hoping that it will melt the ice on the walks! I just finished making 2 spaghett pies and did food prep. This afternoon we are invited to new friends for coffee and fellowship. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   When we know the Lord, we become His ambassadors to share Him with others so they may also come to faith in Him. There are many people who have never heard about Jesus, not just in foreign countries, but here in the United States. I remember when Al was an intern in CA and we had Vacation Bible School. There was a little boy in my class that had no idea who Jesus was, as he came from a Buddhist family. Such a privilege it was to share with him, Jesus. Jesus last command before leaving this world was that we go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.(Matt. 28:19)
  Recently I read the true story on Facebook that brought tears to my eyes of a little 9year old boy. He lived in Tennessee and had never been to church and had not heard about Jesus. The Bus Pastor of a large church, 3 miles from his house, stopped by one Sunday morning to see if he wanted to go to S.S. When the young boy came to the door the pastor asked to talk with his parents; but the boy responded by telling him that each weekend his parents went away and left him alone with his little brother. The pastor then asked him if he would like to hear the greatest love story and he shared with him about Jesus. At the end, he asked the boy if he wanted to receive the Lord, and he said, “Well sure!” He got down on his knees and invited Jesus into his heart. When asked if he wanted to go to church the next Sunday, he was more than willing. Church was puzzling to him as he had no idea what was going on. When the offering plate was passed around, he didn’t know what people were doing. When he saw that they were putting in money, he searched his pockets but had nothing to give. He tried to hold on to the plate but had to pass it on. He kept his eye on the plate and when it got to the very back of the church he went to the usher and asked for the plate. He proceeded to put the plate on the carpet and then stood in the plate and prayed, “Jesus, I don’t have anything to give you. Just me!”
  Of course, that is what Jesus is after from all of us; He wants us and not just a small part of our lives. Let us be like the little boy and give Him our whole heart. Like the song goes, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you are holding back from God, and give Him all.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

The Asbury Awakening

By now you may have heard about the movement of God’s Spirit which began on Wednesday, Feb. 8th during a chapel service at Asbury University and ended on Feb. 25th, attracting close to 15,000 people from across the country each day.  As a firm believer in revival, I want to share my testimony as it relates to awakenings and revival movements.  

  • I am a product of a revival movement in the Lutheran Church.  By God’s abundant grace and mercy, I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the California Lutheran Bible School. There I met students and instructors who had a personal relationship with Jesus. From that day in March of 1960, I have been a follower of Jesus, still highly motivated to see God move among Lutherans.   
  • I attended Fuller Seminary (1962-66), where I was deeply impacted by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who had studied revival movements most of his career.  “An Evangelical Awakening,” notes Dr. Orr, “is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and in its related community.  Such an awakening may change in a significant way an individual, or it may affect a larger group of believers.” I came away from Dr. Orr’s lectures convinced of revival being a sovereign movement of God’s Spirit.   
  • I experienced a local revival as a youth pastor during the early 1970’s.  Our youth group embraced the “Jesus movement” as an indirect result of the Asbury Revival of 1970.  I simply made myself available as a clay vessel for the Lord’s use.  It is truly amazing the work God did in the hearts of teenagers in those days.  Programs and attractions did not convert hearts. It was the love of Jesus breaking into the lives of affluent young people.
  • I was part of a spiritual awakening during the late 1970’s and 80’s, when the Holy Spirit was being poured out on many church denominations.  Just last week, Judy and I spent an evening with six couples we had not been with for over 30 years. We all marveled and praised God for all we learned during those days at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Des Moines, IA.  I am eternally grateful for those folks and all that we learned together as we allowed the Holy Spirit to teach and lead us in new ways within the Lutheran tradition.  

So, I am sold on revival. A key verse for me is Habakkuk 3:2: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Oh, God repeat your mighty works in our day.  When I watch what happened at Asbury, I think of Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  The word refreshing “implies relief from difficult, distressful or burdensome circumstances” (NET).  God in his mercy is rescuing a whole generation of young people from a decadent and destructive culture. 

I am now at least 30 years removed from the last awakening I experienced.  I hope I am more mature and a little wiser.  When I see young college students bowing in repentance before the Lord, crying out to him for mercy, and wanting to be free from sinful habits, I say, “Amen.”  My task, at my age, is to pray and cry out to the Lord from afar, that these young people might be guided and molded to change our nation. 





February 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend. I enjoyed going to the baby shower for the mommy who is soon going to have her baby and then can start treatment for her own cancer.Please pray! Today I am doing food prep, making a trip to Aldi’s and then to my exercise class.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   I was so joyful when my favorite Christian magazine, Just Between Us, came in the mail and I read they had chosen the word Joy as their word for the year. Joy is meant for all of us to experience for it doesn’t depend on our circumstances but is found in the person of Jesus. Joy is different than happiness that depends more on right circumstances and pleasureful things. David said in Psalm 16:11 (God’s Word), “You make the path of life known to me. Complete joy is in your presence. Pleasures are by your side forever.” Because our joy resides in His presence, no matter what happens, we can still experience deep down joy.
  We also know that joy is something we choose and have to keep choosing each day of our lives. As we do, it is acknowledging that we trust Him, even when we don’t know the outcome, for He is in control. Paul was such an example as he was joyful even when in prison and facing trials of many kinds. He tells us also to be joyful always, to never stop praying, and to be thankful. (I Thess. 5)  It helps for us to spend time in His presence as we read the word, listen to praise music, worship, and obey Him.
   To me Joy is like a perfume that draws others to the Lord. When they observe our joy, it is like a pleasing fragrance that they want to experience too. One thing that stands out to me, is that joyful Christians love to serve others around them. They can make work look like fun, for as they are helping others, they experience more of Jesus. Their faith grows and their own souls are fed at the same time. We have a friend who doesn’t make a big deal about serving but she is often found working in the kitchen at church, or teaching Sunday School, or filling in the gaps and doing what may be overlooked by others. She doesn’t call attention to herself but quietly serves and does it for the Lord. Serving is good for all of us and our hearts are enlarged to overflow with more joy in the process. Let us choose joy!
  Challenge for today: Serve the Lord in a new way today, and let His joy effervesce in your soul.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

February 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend and may you take time to get refreshed. This morning I plan to clean and then go to a baby shower at church for the mom who is battling cancer and soon to deliver her baby girl. Please keep her in your prayers. Last night Al and I enjoyed the movie, Jesus Revelution, and hope you have a chance to see it too. It brought back many memories of the 1970’s and all that God was doing in the hearts of the youth. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    We must all be watchful for we can fall into the mindset of setting personal comfort above knowing God and making Him known to others. When we know the Lord, we believe that God has something far better than anything in this world waiting for us some day. We however must be patient and not demand that we have a comfortable and prosperous life now. As I read Larry Crabb’s book, “Waiting for Heaven”, he said, “Wait for tomorrow. Demand nothing today. But enjoy God’s blessings today. And yet, whether in blessings or trials, live to love well today.”
  God never promised us an easy life in this world. In my daily devotions I have been reading about Moses and his life was not a piece of cake. Yes, he might have started out having everything he could wish for as a Prince of Egypt, but he gave it all up because of his faith that believed God had something better for him. Leading the children of Israel was not an easy task but he didn’t turn away from what God had for him to do; he was waiting for God’s best one day rather than pleasure in the now!
   But isn’t that what the enemy likes to tempt us to do as well, to indulge in the fleeting pleasures of today rather than waiting for what God has for us some day? We must say no to temporary pleasures and snares the enemy puts before us and embrace what God has for us. We need to each ask, what is God’s call on my life? Can I say no to the other choices and embrace what God has for me?  Crabb wrote that Moses left behind wealth and power and pleasure for mistreatment, the company of broken and despised people, and humiliating suffering.
   No matter what we suffer in this life, “wonderful joy is ahead even though we must endure many trials for a little while.” (I Peter 1:6)
Let us live in faith today because we eagerly wait for what is ahead!
Challenge for today: Resolve to wait for what God has for you rather than trying to satisfy yourself with fleeting pleasures.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and  love, Judy

February 24, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Hope you are not buried in snow! We are thankful we did not get what was predicted yesterday and had a normal day. This morning Al and I will be going to Costco for the Birthday cake and then preparing for the monthly party this afternoon. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Do we feel good about ourself on days when we accomplished a lot but less about ourself when we didn’t get much done? Maybe we had a long list of things we felt needed attention but we didn’t make much of a dent in it because of the many interruptions. At the end of the day, we may go to bed feeling poorly about ourselves, but judging ourselves on that basis is not wise.
   I read a devotional by Sarah Young and she makes a point of how we shouldn’t push ourselves so hard that we feel good about ourselves only when we have been productive.Yes, it is good to work and to use the gifts that the Lord has given us but our identity is not based on that premise but rather that we are His child. Even if we are severely handicapped and couldn’t accomplish anything, we can still feel cherished and loved and valued.
  There are times the Lord would say to us that we need to slow down and just relax and rest. After all, He is the one that rested on the 7th day after finishing the work of creation. We also need to keep the Sabbath and take time to rest. Sometimes that is the most spiritual thing we can do after a hard day or work week. As King David said in Psalm 23:2-3 (ESV), “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
   I felt His pleasure one busy day after shopping and serving at a party, being on my feet for several hours and then busy in the kitchen. I told Al that night that I am not going to study or do any more work but just watch a good movie and relax. It was just what I needed and I felt like my soul was restored as well.
   Let us not push ourselves beyond what the Lord has for us to do, for the bottom line is that we will actually be more effective when we are refreshed. And whether we accomplish a little or a lot in our day, we are His beloved child.
Challenge for today: Listen to the Holy Spirit and rest when He directs you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

February 23, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm and safe. It continues to snow here but Al got to his dentist appointment at 7:30  this morning . We wonder iif people will be canceling appointments today. I baked and did food prep this morning and this afternoon we have Bible Study here as noone has to go out. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Are we living to please God or to please people?  If we get focused on what others think of us, we will end up not doing what God calls us to do and He is the One we need to please. When we come to know the Lord, He doesn’t erase our weaknesses. Some of us would like to hide our frailties and certainly not accentuate them; but rather the Jesus way is letting His power be seen in the very areas we are weak. 
  The apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, which we are not privy to know what it was, but told that God’s grace was enough. In I Corinthians 12 he is told that God’s power is most effective in his weakness and that His strength and power would rest on him. He could actually glory in his weakness.
   Jesus took on a human body when He came to earth so He can identify with us and knows all our frailties and can understand our weaknesses. He knew what it felt like it to be rejected, accused of things that He didn’t do, but He was so careful to do the will of His Father. If we are His children then it is His approval that we need to seek!
   We can ask ourselves if we want Jesus’ approval or are more concerned with that of others? The Pharisees big concern was what others thought of them and they did many things to be seen of men. It says in John 12:44 (Message), “When push came to shove, they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.” Sadly, there were those that came to believe in Jesus but were not open about it, for they feare they would be excommunicated from the synagogue.
   Are we afraid to let others see our weaknesses or are we desiring that they would see Jesus in us and His power to strengthen us? May we choose His way of humility and experience His grace.
Challenge for today: Give your weak areas to God and ask Him to display His power in you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

February 21, 2023

Dear Ones,

Sorry I neglected to put this devotion on our blog site yesterday.

May you wake to a day of joy and awareness of God’s presenThe question for this week is:Have you ever been part of a an awakening  movement in your life and what  affect did it have on your life?

Devotions from Judy’s heart

  As I watch what is happening at Asbury University, it is so obvious the hunger that young people have today. There is so much depression, loneliness, and emptiness as the search goes on to find fullness and purpose. Many try to fill that hunger with busyness, accumulating more things, and getting to the top of the ladder but it will never fill the void within.

  God wants to pour His love into us and fill us with His Spirit and that is what is happening not only at Asbury, but other campuses across the country. There is such an awareness of God’s presence and holiness that people don’t want to leave. In fact, there is a long line outside of those who want to get into the chapel to not miss His joy and loving presence that is being poured out.

   Al and I experienced a time of revival in the 1970’s when Al was a youth pastor in Edina. When Al finished seminary, we had hoped to go to the poor in the inner city, but God sent us to the rich in the suburbs. We wondered what we could give to the affluent kids who already had everything. But God did a sovereign work in the hearts of the youth and so many lives were changed. It had nothing to do with glitzy programs and attractions but it was the work of the Holy Spirit, converting hearts of the young people. God broke through hearts as His love was poured out. We had so many hungry souls in our basement each week and many of them have become full time workers for the Lord and ministers.

   More than ever before in our day of such decadence we need a move from God, we need a spirit of repentance that acknowledges our sin and turn to the Lord for forgiveness. If we have thirsty hearts, He extends His invitation to us in John 7:37(God’s Word); “Whoever is thirsty must come to me and drink. As Scripture says, “Streams of living water will flow from deep within the person who believes in me’.” 

  May we respond and daily drink of His living water.

Challenge for today: Say no to anything that would block the springs of living water from flowing out of you.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


Februaru 22, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a good day and are not getting buried in snow. We hear the cities may get up to 18″ the next few days and we will get a possible get 3″to 5″. I plan to go to my exercise class today and later crafts and Lenten supper and service. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   We are in a new season of the church year and Sunday Al and I changed the paraments on the church altar to the color purple with a crown of thorns embroidered into the cloth. A beautiful reminder that is the Lenten season and a time to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection.
   Lent is a very old practice and varies a great deal among Christians but this time is especially meant to help us become more aware of our need for the Lord. Some years I fast and give up something, like desserts; but the giving up of a particular enjoyable thing or action is not what is most important but rather time spent to focus more on the Lord. As it says in James 4:8 (God’s Word), “Come close to God and He will come close to you.”
    Lent is a time of preparation reminding us of what Jesus went through for us on the cross to save us. Hopefully, we use this time to draw closer to Him and know Him in deeper ways and experience His grace and mercy. In many churches ashes are put on foreheads of the people in the sign of the cross symbolizing repentance and a time of cleansing and renewal.
   At our particular church we have a soup supper and fellowship before a Wednesday night service. Each week Pastor or a different person will be speaking on the various aspects of Jesus journey to the cross. We can get ho hum about Jesus’ death as we have heard the story many times over our life time, but Lent is a time to refocus and remember.
    Maybe this Lenten season, we need to do something new, perhaps a particular spiritual discipline; or go on a weekend retreat, or just go for a walk out in nature and reflect on what Jesus did for us. Let us not just go through the motions but ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to go deeper with the Lord and to experience Him anew and receive from Him all that He wants to pour into our hearts.
Then it won’t be long until we will be celebrating His amazing resurrection with such gratitude and joy.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how He would have you celebrate this Easter season in a new way with a fresh awareness of His sacrifice for you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


Verse of the Year

Many of you probably know about the YouVersion Bible app. Operated by Craig Groeschel’s Life.Church, the app was designed to encourage and challenge people to seek God throughout the day.  It offers a free Bible experience in more than 1,900 languages and has been installed on more than 545 million unique devices. YouVersion named Isaiah 41:10 as its most referenced verse of 2022: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

“The popularity of this verse speaks to our desire to be reminded that even when we feel like we’re alone in our struggles, we’re not,” said Bobby Gruenwald, founder and CEO of YouVersion. “As this verse says, ‘God is our strength and He’s always with us.”‘

This year, Cuba stands out as the country with the greatest increase in Bible engagement – 76% higher than 2021.  Meanwhile, the fastest regional growth for Bible engagement is in Europe and Africa.  The app also saw Ukrainian-language Bible engagement hit an all-time high with increases in Poland (241%) and Germany (733%) compared to 2021.  Overall, Bible engagement in Ukraine rose by 55%.

At the beginning of the war, YouVersion searches in the Ukrainian language nearly doubled compared to the previous month.  Initially, trending search terms were words like “war,” “fear,” and “anxiety.”  As time passed and the war progressed, the top search term in Ukrainian became “love.” “These families are going through something most of us can’t imagine.  In the middle of what’s likely the most difficult time of their lives, they’re turning to the Bible for comfort, peace, and hope.”

I imagine myself living in a war-torn nation like Ukraine.  It very well may be that our days of relative peace and prosperity are coming to an end.  If so, I hope I will ever increasingly turn to scripture for inner strength.  It would be a time when I am humbled before the Lord, knowing how much I need him.  May I remember the words of Deut. 8:3: “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

I pray that I can draw strength from Isaiah 40:11 as the believers in Ukraine. Here is the Message translation: “Don’t panic.  I’m with you.  There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength.  I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” What strikes me is not panicking, but knowing God has a firm grip on my life. 

In the meantime I need to heed the instructions of Jesus as I anticipate the coming days.  “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). 

Jesus warns us to watch and pray: “Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).  I can’t take anything for granted.  I Peter 4:7 instructs me to be vigilant: “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted.  Stay wide-awake in prayer.” 

Lord, give me the grace to stand for you when the time comes.  I will look to the Lord for my strength. 




February 20, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend and time to relax. It is starting to snow and we hope it won’t snow too much as we are going to a funeral this morning in     for our friend who just lived down the hall from us. We will all miss him and we are comforted that he is now with the Lord. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   There are some hard things we go through in our lives and later remark, “ It was worth it all!” Such is our lives as followers of Jesus, that no matter what we go through in this life, it won’t begin to compare to what awaits us in heaven some day.
  One of our friends here at Northern Lakes is now with the Lord and we will celebrate his life today. I wrote of Dan’s witness for the Lord some time ago as he was such an example to us of perseverance and someone who never gave up. He was 91 years old and usually was the first one to Bible Study each week and rarely missed. I went to bed last night thinking of his witness to us all and woke with an old familiar song that many of you know. “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.”
  Perhaps we can all identify with the  second verse when things seem stormy, “At times the sky seems dark, with not a ray of light; We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight. But there is One in heaven, who knows our deepest care. Let Jesus solve your problems, just go to Him in prayer.”
   There isn’t any burden that is too small or too great that we can’t hand over to the Lord. He gives us the invitation in Matt. 11:28-30(God’s Word), “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The Lord promises to shoulder our burdens with us and lighten our load until one day we will lay all our burdens down as our lives are over. We will know that it was all worth it for we will spend eternity together with Him in heaven. What a glorious time awaits!
Challenge for today: Give all your cares to the Lord and experience His rest as you wait for that day.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy


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