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: July 2023 (Page 1 of 4)

Common Good Men

In an article entitled “Common Good Men” (Touchstone), Nancy Pearcey asks, “How can Christians create a balanced view that stands against the outright male-bashing that is so common, yet also holds men responsible to a higher standard? ” She decides to “dig into the history of the idea that masculinity is toxic.”  

Throughout much of human history, people lived on family farms and in peasant villages.  Family and industry were not separate activities.  Fathers were “as comfortable in the kitchen as women, for they had responsibility for provisioning and managing the home.”  Both fathers and mothers were responsible to sacrifice individual interest for the common good.  But men began to surrender their traditional paternal role as the industrial revolution took them out of the home and into the factory.  And “rhetoric around masculinity began to focus on traits” such as ambition and self-assertiveness.  

The individual replaced the household as the basic unit of society, with fewer moral obligations.  Increasing numbers of men grew up as “mushroom men” emerging and growing up without many social obligations.  Pearcey asks, “If there was no common good, then a man’s duty could no longer be defined as responsibility for protecting the common good.”  Men could now pursue self-interest rather than to “be servants of one another” (Gal. 5:13). 

Removed from the private sphere, men lost an “active religious sense” of values meant for the private sphere. “The male character was redefined as coarse, pragmatic, and morally insensitive,” notes Pearsey.  Religious values became part of the private sphere, cultivated by the women in the home.  “Men were being told that they were naturally crude and brutish – and that they needed to learn virtue from their wives.” Women were now considered morally superior to men.  As Anthony Rotundo writes, “women took men’s place as the custodians of communal virtue.”  Masculinity was being “de-moralized.”

The church failed to stand against the demoralization of men, but rather started to appeal more and more to women – and became increasingly feminized.  Women became the custodians of virtue.  Men attended church less, often being described as morally hardened and spiritually insensitive.  “If men are repeatedly told they are naturally less religious,” Pearcey observes, “eventually they will begin to believe the cultural narrative.”

Women’s attempts to “tame men” began to focus more on public vices such as drunkenness and prostitution. Rotunbo saw this as “a plan for female government of male passions.”  “It gave men the freedom to be aggressive, greedy, ambitious, competitive, and self-interested, then it left women with the duty of curbing this behavior.”  

One can begin to see the emerging roots of toxic masculinity: “Men are inherently coarse and immoral – virtue is a womanly trait, imposed upon men only through great difficulty.”  The idea of being less spiritual and virtuous was insulting to men.  “When virtue is defined as a feminine quality instead of a human quality, then requiring men to be virtuous is seen as the imposition of a feminine standard.”

Concern developed over the “overcivilized” man becoming soft and effeminate.  Mothers filling the gap left by missing fathers created a “boy culture” in which boys became wild and rambunctious.  Attention was given to the wild, untamed masculine nature of men.  Now “manhood was redefined as crude and combative, governed by the biological instincts for lust and power.”  Churches began to teach about “Muscular Christianity.”  

Pearcey suggests a biblical view of God as servant leader, featuring gentleness, love and compassion as masculine virtues.  Many young believers learn just enough about headship and submission, but not enough about responsibility and sacrifice.  Rightly understood and practiced, “Christians have a practical answer to resolving the war between men and women… We should be bold about bringing it into the public square as a solution to the charge of toxic masculinity.”





July 31, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Each day has been sunny and warm. This morning I am going to go to my exercise class and this afternoon Ann is coming and then a party after that. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 It is so beautiful to be with unselfish people that are always on the lookout of how they can serve others. They live out what Paul said to the Philippians in Phil. 2:3-4, “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” It is a joy to work with people who put that into practice and their focus is off of themselves. They are not concerned if they will get noticed or receive credit, for they look out for the needs of those around them.
  Each month I work with two people like that for the parties here and we have so much fun, as we work side by side. Not just at parties but one of them seems to notice the needs of others in our complex and is quick to help in any way she can. When new people come, she welcomes them and invites them to the special events we have here. The other one is 96 years old and has just as much or more energy as we have. She is never idle, and she also knits 100’s and 100’s of caps for the needy for when the weather turns cold. Neither of these friends sit down during the parties we have, but help me serve and pour coffee and clean up etc.
   All of us serve someone, either the Lord, or ourselves. When it is God, we surrender our plans to do what He asks of us. If it is in serving ourselves, our world is small, and we never seem satisfied. We are here on earth to bring glory to the Lord, to be interested in the needs of others and to share the good news with them. Let us not insist on our own selfish way but submit ourselves daily to the Lord and let Him direct our lives.
  Challenge for today: When feel nudged by the Holy Spirit, respond to the need before you, and let go of your plans.  
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy 

July 29, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend! I just made egg dishes for Al and soon going to do more food prep and clean the frig etc. Happy news! Our granddaughter got engaged last night and we are so thrilled for them both!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   When we know the Lord in a close relationship, He reveals God’s love to others by our words, prayers, and acts of kindness. It’s not out love, but His love that flows through us and enables us to love what some may call the “unlovable” and even our enemies. Many people we meet may not be interested in hearing a sermon about God, but some kindness done to them, grabs their heart and it begins to open.                                              But we all need to guard against our own attitudes and actions that can nullify people receiving God’s love. One thing that kills love is envy and Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Cor.18:4) that, “Love does not envy.” The Corinth church must have had that problem for some envied even the spiritual gifts of others. But we all have to beware since envy causes conflict and resentment. People compare themselves with others and think of them as the competition, rather than brothers and sisters in Christ. When we do that, we will come up feeling deficient and unhappy as there is always someone who we feel is better or more talented than we are. Envy can start early in life if parents compare their children with others and leave them wanting. It happens in the church also, if we forget who we are in Christ. Maybe another person is chosen over us to take a position we wanted, and we are envious and make sure others know that person has weaknesses!                                     
  Each of us is unique and not to be compared with anyone else. Our motive for wanting to do well, should not be to compete with others but to do our best for the Lord and to enter into all that He has for us. When we envy others, it shows we are not sure in our hearts of our worth to God, although we may know with our minds. I love the verse in Ps. 149:4, “For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” The Lord accepts us, rejoices over us, and even sings over us; our response should be praise and deep joy! If that is hard to believe, it is good to spend time in the Word and to let the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts. When we spend time in His presence, we won’t have to feel insecure by someone outshining us for our lives are secure in His love. God has a place for each of us to fill, let it not remain empty but rejoice as we fill that position.
Challenge for today: Confess any envy that you hold for others, and thank God for who he made you to be.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

July 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you!  Today is Birthday party day here so Al and I will be going to Costco soon to pick up the cake. I am going to make soup and do food prep but doubt we will walk in this hot weather today. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   What is the state of our heart? I wonder what God sees when He looks at each of our hearts. It is one of lightness, openness and compassion or is it hard and locked up and heavy? The state of our heart is important as it shapes our life.
  I must admit that there are too many times my heart is fearful and I need courage to do whatever it is that God puts before me to do. I’m sure I have missed things in the past that the Lord had planned for me and I have had regrets and asked forgiveness. I desire to have a courageous heart!                                                   
 Each one of our hearts has a different shape as no one else sees the world exactly as we do. Maybe you have a heavy heart and life seems burdensome and keeps you from experiencing the abundance of life God has for you. Or maybe you have a compassionate heart and feel for others and help carry their burdens. Perhaps you have a forgiving heart that experiences freedom because you don’t hold on to hurts but give them to the Lord. Or maybe you have a joyful heart that sees the positive side even in difficult things.                                                                                           But one thing we know that we all need to allow our heart to speak and to listen to what it is telling us. When we aren’t in touch with our heart, how can we know who we really are? Our heart’s longing is for the Lord, and it is the place where He lives. Most of us are busy all day long but at night in the quiet and darkness we often hear with greater clarity.                                                                                                   
  In Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” May each of us guard our hearts and listen to what the Lord would say to us this day.
Challenge for today: Invite the Lord to show you the condition of your heart and ask Him to change it where needed.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


July 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are keeping cool today. Al is off to men’s group, and I am cleaning as we are having a pastor friend and his dad from Tulsa coming this afternoon after our Bible study. We see them only once a year so it is a special time. It is also Donut Day here! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
  Money, money, money! What is enough money? Some people have very little money and are extremely happy and some with more money than they can ever spend are very unhappy. Jesus had lots to say about money for we can’t serve both God and Money. Wise King Solomon wrote that “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Eccl. 5:10)
 Money is one of the hot topics in marriage, as each of us have our own perspective of money which influences how we make decisions daily. If a lavish spender is married to a stingy hoarder both will have to do lots of compromising if there is to be harmony. Also, both may be greedy as Michael Mangis says in his book, Signature Sins, one would be greedy for spending and the other greedy for having money. As a practicing psychologist, he rarely sees a couple that money isn’t an issue of lots of contention and difficult discussions.  Maybe each one of us can think of how we feel about money…are we generous to a fault, or are we stingy and worry if we give away money or goods, we will not have enough for ourselves?  We see a little bit of both sides of the coin in Scripture for Jesus said we shouldn’t be so concerned about money and what we eat and drink but be like the birds and flowers who don’t toil. But then on the other hand, he also speaks of sloth of the servant who doesn’t make a profit for his master. Or throw in the example of Mary who pours a whole bottle of expensive ointment on Jesus feet, that would have been enough to feed many poor and yet He commends her. Then there is the question of how much do we need, and what else is simply wants or luxuries?
   Sometimes we have a hard time letting go of our money as we don’t believe God will take care of our needs, as if it all depends on us; but we forget we have a very rich and generous Father. How about tithing and giving at least 10% of what we have been given? Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48. I am always so astounded at the many times when we gave to others and how the Lord returned it to us in other ways with more than we gave. We can never ever out give God! Let us remember our security is in the Lord, not in our money or things!
Challenge for today: Give as the Holy Spirit prompts you and renew your trust in the Lord to provide all that you will need each day.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
 Hope you have a peace-filled day! I am going to the dentist early this morning and then to an ENT doctor at noon. Praying that she will uncover and treat my hearing loss. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
  I would like to share a bit more from a previous devotion on being patient with the weaknesses of others. Of course, there are times we get irritated with the weaknesses we see in others, but we can patiently look for things in them to celebrate and focus rather on that. What about exercising patience in the willingness to forgive those that sin against us? That may be a bit harder.    
 Author, Ajith Fernando, writes of how patient God is with each of us. As it says in I Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”                             
   The Lord has showed unlimited patience with us when we sin, and I am so thankful He doesn’t give us what we deserve; but how patient and forgiving are we when others sin against us? We pray in the Lord’s prayer that we would be forgiven as we forgive others that trespass against us. But do we?  We must remember that God’s love is greater than anything that anyone can ever do to us. If we truly believe that, we will be able to love those who hurt us for the Lord can take even our pain and make good come of it. But if we allow our thoughts to be dominated by the offense that we have suffered then we are saying that their influence on us is stronger than that of God. We have a choice though each time we are offended. Are we going to identify ourselves as a victim and let self-pity take over or are we going to apply God’s love and forgive and live in freedom?                                                                                                                                      
Sometimes the offender does not admit or is sorry that they have hurt us, but even then, we are to extend forgiveness to them. It’s important for our own healing as well as doing what the Lord tells us to do. If we refuse to forgive, then we block God’s grace from entering our hearts. But when we forgive, we set the other person free, and we also find that we are no longer a prisoner.                                                                                                                                         
 I have recently tried to pray for and bless anyone who has hurt me in the past. Even though I forgave them maybe long ago, praying a blessing on them is helping my own heart also. One lady that Fernando writes about was in a car accident and lived with neck pain for 22 years. She wasn’t able to turn her head so had to give up her driver’s license. Her pastor’s wife asked her if she had ever prayed for the driver of the accident, and she said no. This woman began to bless him and prayed aloud, “I forgive him.” As she did her pain all left and she was free after 22 years!    Let us not hold onto the wrongs done to us but forgive, as Jesus asks us to.
Challenge for today: Forgive and pray a blessing on someone who has wounded you! 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy 

July 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of joy and kindness. It appears it’s going to be another very warm day, so we may walk early. I am going to Aldi’s and doing lots of food prep.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As the days are getting darker in our culture, the light of Christ seems to shine brighter in His followers who have made love for Him and others their aim. We have only to watch the news to see how rampant evil is and then contrast that with those who put others before self and overflow with kindness and love.               
   Here where we live at Northern living there is good evidence of kindness and caring for others. Just recently one of the gals had a stroke and others were alerted; two friends stayed with her and one was on the phone with the ER, another watched for the ambulance, and one was at the hospital almost to midnight with her; even when she was recovering, one of the friends stayed the night to be sure she was okay. All acts of kindness. If someone here at our apartment needs to get to an appointment, there may be offers for a ride, or food brought to someone who is sick etc. Of course, for all of us whereever we live, there are so many needs around us every day if our hearts are open to share God’s love in a variety of ways.                     
We who have received so much from the Lord are told to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph. 4:32. That can cover a lot of circumstances and extend to not only friends but strangers and even enemies; maybe especially enemies. When we reach out to those who have done us harm and show them kindness, it can begin a process to bring peace and unity.                   
 Of course, we don’t meet every need around us, or we would be quickly worn out and our own families would suffer too. But we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to respond when He directs us to meet a need. When that happens there can be deep down joy in our obedience even if the person doesn’t seem grateful for our help. It’s nice to get fulfilment from helping others but it is most important to draw our strength from the Lord and to spend time with Him. He is our ultimate fulfilment and let us spend time with Him and get refueled for whatever He has for us next.

Challenge for today: Do a deed of kindness as you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit today.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy



Groping Along the Wall

The prophet Isaiah continually reminded God’s people of their calling to bring the news of God’s glorious reign to the whole world.  This still holds true in our day.  But why does the church seem so weak and ineffective, continually on the defensive, caving into the popular narrative of self-sufficiency?  Isaiah warns us: we are the problem – not God.  “Look! Listen! God’s arm is not amputated – he can still save.  God’s ears are not stopped up – he can still hear.  There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you” (Isaiah 59:1-2 – MSG).  The moral and spiritual condition of the people did not allow God to work through them. 

In verses 3-8 the prophet points out many social evils but more their relational sins: “cutthroat cruelty, wicked lies, unjust lawsuits, dishonest testimony, deliberately planned evils that do not even benefit the perpetrators (3-6a).”  “The eager malice with which God’s people can attack one another, and the destruction they can leave behind, creates nothing but human misery, worthy of condemnation by God” (6b-8 – Ortlund: Isaiah). It seems to breaks out like a deep infection, affecting all human relationships.

To their credit the people were realistic about to condition of their nation.  They could very well be describing our own nation. “So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living.  We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.  We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes” (Isaiah 59:10).  A nation groping, “like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes” paints a picture for me of the aggressive national press corps peppering our elected leaders about national and world affairs. Our leaders are simple groping along a wall, hoping to find a way into the light.  They are not able to  accept that “even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark” (v. 10).  They can recite the latest “talking points” but have no certainty regarding the present narrative to bring peace and prosperity. 

Then the people acknowledge that “…our sins are piled up before God and testify against us.  Yes, we know what sinners we are.  We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord.  We have turned our backs on our God… Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked” (v. 12-15).  Those who speak out in our time are called “bigots” for pointing out truth. 

God, however, would not let himself be used by a disobedient people.  “He has withdrawn so that they may taste the full, bitter consequences of their sin” (Webb – Isaiah).  Then Isaiah describes God coming to help his people in an impossible situation. It is a picture of pure grace to those who are undeserving. “So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him” (Isaiah 59:16).  In verse 17, we see the Lord getting ready for battle.  He puts on the garments of righteousness, salvation, vengeance and zeal.  “For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along” (Isaiah 59:20).

“Taken as a whole, this powerful picture of God’s girding on his armor expresses the truth that he will not stand by while his people are destroyed; he is totally committed to saving them” (Bible Speaks Today).  Men, are you ever tempted to think that God does not care about you or his people?   He “will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes” (Is. 59: 18b). 


July 24, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a lovely weekend!  As you will read in today’s devotion, we enjoyed time with our former Board and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with us. Today I am going to my exercise class, and then my cousin is coming from the Lake, and we are going to the Assisted Living to see our dear friend who is in the Alzheimer’s unit and bring chocolate chip cookies on a stick and have coffee with her.  Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Our lives are forever changed by love. When we open our hearts to the Lord and others to let them in, something beautiful happens. We grow, we change, we become more of who we really are. Both Al and I felt so blessed as we came home from our annual gathering of our former Board of Canaan’s Rest. Eight of us gathered to share together from the Word and then from our lives over the past year. It is our favorite time for these couples have known us for many years. The youngest member has known us for over 40 years as he was in college at the time and later on our Board. 

  This particular day we felt a special touch by the Holy Spirit as we remembered seeing the Lord at work in our past days together. There were tears as we shared different actions by others who helped us know we were standing together when going through some hard times. There was praise and thanksgiving as we saw the Lord shining through in the giving to others who were at times in need. But we also felt free to share what we were experiencing now in our lives and questions we might have. Prayer followed as we could commit it all to the Lord, knowing His answers will be on the way in His timing.
  There is strength and power to be united in Spirit and the enemy will do all he can to keep believers separated. We must not let him win but strive for unity and openness and vulnerability. We are one in Spirit and that means we are to help each other along the way and stand together in oneness. Then as we all shared from Isaiah 26;1-21, we read how He will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him! We can trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is our eternal rock and our hearts desire is to glorify His name.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for trusted people who love Him and that you can share with.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy


July 22, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend! Al and I are going to Mora today to meet with our former Board for Canaan’s Rest. We do it once a year and it is a blessing to be with those special friends that shared our retreat vision and helped it come to pass years ago. We are now in a new place, and it is good to hear how the Lord is leading each of us now. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The grace of God is immeasurable and powerful and we need grace every moment of our lives. Where would we be without His unmerited favor and mercy? Like the words of the song by Julia Johnston, “Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within”; it goes on to say grace is greater than all our sin and freely bestowed on all who believe. Our part is to believe and then just receive it. We are so far from perfect and can’t earn grace, no matter how hard we try, but Jesus already paid for it on the cross.   As it says in Eph. 2: 8-9 (The Message), “Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish.”  He is the One to change us from the inside out and does what we could never accomplish.
 Maybe we try at first to change ourselves and soon find it doesn’t work and discouragement sets in. Our outward behavior may change for a short time, but we find that we are not able to keep it up. We need instead to admit we can’t do it and simply open ourselves up to receive His grace. Then we will find that the Holy Spirit brings the changes within us that we worked so hard and failed to accomplish and yet it comes now with ease. All the credit to the Lord for it is not by our own striving but all by His gift of grace.
  I challenge us all to think of something in our lives that needs to change, and I can think of something right now in my life. Let us just give that to the Lord and ask Him to work the change needed in our hearts by His Spirit and with our cooperation. Then may we listen carefully to anything that we feel He is prompting us to do, and then obey. It could be an idea suddenly popped into our minds or we are faced with a decision, and we have to quickly choose. If it is the Holy Spirit prompting us then we know the grace is there for us to choose the right thing. The other day I felt I obeyed partially in something that needs changing in my life, but I stopped short and could have gone a step farther. I knew the feeling afterwards of missing out on the greater blessing.
Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to work a change in you that is needed and then ask for grace to respond in obedience.  
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
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