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: August 2023 (Page 1 of 4)

August 31, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day. I am making a hotdish and soon going downstairs for donuts. Al is at men’s group and this afternoon we have Bible Study. I have attached  pictures of the little tree I wrote about. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Isn’t it mind boggling how God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise?  As it says in I Cor. 1:27-29, “But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame. God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something. As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence.”

God’s ways are so different from the worlds, and He often uses weak and humble people that have no extraordinary abilities nor are esteemed by the world. In fact, others may view the persons as unqualified and looks at them as being weak. But God views them far differently and sees what He can do through them since they are humble and open. I still remember a sermon back when I was a young adult given by a lay person who would not be viewed by the eyes of the world as important or eloquent. Yet he spoke deep truths with conviction and authority of the Lord. I knew that night that God will use who He wants to accomplish what He purposes.         

Recently we were at a friend’s home for coffee and were served fresh apple pie ala mode. I smiled as that very morning I thought how soon it will be the season for apples and I would be able to taste delicious apple desserts. But during our conversation, it became known that the apples for dessert came from the little apple tree in their yard. Now it is not a big tree at all and looks much like Charlie Brown’s tree with hardly any leaves. They had had it for 4 years and at one point Bruce was going to cut it down, but he saw some blossoms coming forth. He dug around the tree and put in some black dirt and continues to water it faithfully every day. But it is still so small, and it’s hard to believe that it produced the big apples for the pie. When first told, I thought he was kidding as it seemed impossible since it was even anchored by a small rope to hold it up.  On the way home my thoughts were reflecting on how God uses the weak and foolish to produce fruit and confound the wise. There is no mistake it is not them, but it is the Lord in them, that His power is demonstrated for all to see. Let none of us think that we are not valuable and able to be used by the Lord for His kingdom, but may we be like the little tree that produced big fruit.

Challenge for today: Don’t consider man’s qualifications but rather look at God’s enablement to do something great through you.  
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a beautiful day! I am going to my exercise class this morning and then this afternoon we are having another birthday party. The friends we walk with are coming over as his birthday is close to mine. Tonight, we have a class at church on The Holy Sexuality Project.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I love to give gifts and have wrapped prizes to take with when we go to N.C.see our grandsons in September. I am delighted when I hit hot sales and can buy more to give. We usually have prizes for games that test our skills or help us share with one another and give cause for much laughter. But who doesn’t like to receive gifts…. some beautifully wrapped but also even those unwrapped that perfectly meet our need.

I think of my cousin, Mary, who is with the Lord now, and how she loved to give. We never went to see her that we didn’t go home with a gift of chocolates or something special. When she came to visit us, she always had a gift in hand. Even at her funeral she arranged handouts to be given us to take home, for she had ovarian cancer and knew ahead of time that her time was short. 

Jesus’ desires to give us good gifts far exceeds our own pleasure to give to our loved ones. Of course, His gifts come without strings attached and all come wrapped in love. No one can outdo His generosity and ability to provide every need we might have. He says it is okay to ask for specific gifts like wisdom, strength, courage, daily bread, forgiveness etc. There is no limit in asking or no limit in His provision for us. In Matt. 7:11(Amplified) He says, “If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven (perfect as He is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!” His gifts are perfect and meet the needs we have, even when we don’t recognize a particular need we have at the moment.

We can also give back to the Lord and show our love for Him in many ways like in our praying, in giving of our time, meeting needs of others, giving of our money, witnessing of our faith, etc. He said that as we give, we will also receive and that the measure we use to bless others will be measured back to us. Let us not be stingy but generous as the Lord has been with us.  We can never outgive the Lord!
Challenge for today: Give to an unsuspecting person today as the Holy Spirit directs you. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 29, 2023

Dear Ones, 
Hope you have a beautiful day in every way. The house is full of aroma as I made G.F. cookies on a stick and have a meatloaf in the oven now. I had a lovely birthday yesterday and also good news as my MRI was negative. PTL! Today we are going to friends for coffee and fellowship and tomorrow we are having another birthday celebration here as the friend we walk with has a birthday too. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Sometimes those small decisions we make turn out to be the doorway to bigger things. It is very important that we pray even about what we may call insignificant decisions as they may play out to be bigger than we can imagine. I was reminded of that just recently on my birthday. It was such a pleasant day that started even the night before when our door was plastered with a banner, gifts and birthday cards. The next day proved to be even bigger as there were cards on the door every time I opened it, and more gifts. It prompted me to thank the Lord that he brought us to this place, where we now reside. Almost 5 years ago we were making a decision to move off of the lake to find a place in Brainerd. We prayed and visited one place several times that we were ready to sign on, but waited and prayed and then looked here at Northern Lakes. There was a two year wait but felt if the Lord wanted us to get this place it would come up sooner… and It did. When we went by one day to ask where we were in the placement line, the manager said, one apartment just opened up and you can look at It now. We saw it and loved it and signed that day for it was like a gift from the Lord.
   But what if we would have made a decision to take the first place without praying, I don’t think we would experience the kind of life we have here. We are blessed to have Bible studies, opportunities to have fellowship, coffee times all throughout the day and evenings if we like, parties, and being around people that care for one another etc. 
  We don’t always know what is ahead in our journey, but we must just take the first step in obedience, and he will show us the next, one day at a time. We don’t know the future as He does, so we must seek His will. We can go to the Word and find promises to lay hold of. As the song goes by Amy Grant, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet/ And a light unto my path/..When I feel afraid/ and think I’ve lost my way/ Still, you’re right there beside me/ Nothing will I fear/ As long as you are near/ Please be with me to the end.”                                                                                    We don’t want to miss what God has for us by jumping ahead and we don’t have to know what is far ahead in the future but just to trust Him for today and doing His will. As it says in Psalm 119:105 (Message), “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order. “ Let us walk in obedience and just walk one step at a time in His will.
Challenge for today: Let the Lord guide you in all your decisions and seek His will first. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy 

Hopeful Song

This blog is a personal testimony celebrating a luminous experience on my spiritual  journey.  These kinds of moments often happen when I am introduced to new songs I have not heard before.  A song entitled “Hopeful Song” by a group called “Going to the Sun” was such a song for me.  The YouTube video features a group of musicians who are totally into their performance.  The lead singer, I believe, was singing about his own inner pain, declaring the need for a “hopeful song.” I can testify that I was moved to tears by the energy and passion of their performance.  

The chorus goes like this: “Oh, someone sing a song/Oh, of better days to come/’Cause I know this isn’t right/You can’t hold back the light for very long/Somebody sing a hopeful song tonight.”  Other lines throughout the song go like this: “Have I become predictable/A story told a hundred times before… A driver who will carry me/from rocky roads to sunny golden shores… Could I get up, could I get better/Could I have faith in sunny weather/Let’s light the night on fire/And laugh at the shadow that surrounds.”  

Why did this particular song from a relatively unknown group have  such an impact on my soul?  It was the energy of the group, their countenance, and the hope in the song.  It seems to me the group was celebrating a spiritual breakthrough.  It mirrors my own struggle with the darkness all around and within me… “You can’t hold back the light for very long.”  The group was singing a “hopeful song” about better days to come.  They cry out in passion, “Somebody sing a hopeful song tonight.”  I believe “better days” are coming. 

As I share how this song has spoken to me, you might reflect on how different songs have spoken to you in the past. For me it meant focusing on the light.  Isaiah encourages us “walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5), since “the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).  

1)  Have I become predictable, a story told a hundred times before?  Even as I am living in darkness, I know this isn’t right.  I hold on to the promise of Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”  In these latter years of my life, I spend time in the prophets, asking God, “What are you wanting us to know from your prophets during a time of darkening shadows and uncertain light?”  God will show us light and make our way smooth.

2)  Could I get up, could I get better, could I have faith in sunny weather?  Of course, the answer is “Yes.”  Isaiah prophesied, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Is. 9:2).  Again, the prophet declares toward the end of his book, “Arise, shine for your light as come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers to earth and thick darkness is over the people, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (Is. 60:2).

3)  Let’s sing a hopeful song tonight.  Isaiah exhorts us to “walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5)  Why? “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more: the Lord will be your everlasting light” (Is. 60:20). 


August 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Our door has been plastered with cards and it is fun to open the door and find even more! Today I am baking Oh Henry bars and going to Aldi’s and my exercise class before Al and I go to Culver’s for lunch. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  When we start out good in a race and may leader of the pack, we feel energized and hopeful. We are determined we will keep going no matter what the cost for we want to go across that finish line to victory. We reject thoughts of giving up even when we start feeling weary. But something often happens along the way. We may see the progress of another runner and some discouraging thoughts filter into our minds. Or we may start questioning if it is worth it to expend all this energy and time when friends are simply out for fun. The enthusiasm of starting out fresh is one thing but keeping on when we are tired is another thing.
  In my devotions I have been in the book of Kings and reading about King Solomon. He started out so good, wanting wisdom from God rather than riches and a long life etc. And God was so lavish in His giving to him and not only gave Solomon wisdom but wealth and power and honor and a long life, if he followed His ways. He began well and was blessed beyond imagination with wisdom and riches etc., that was until he got sidetracked and began to take on foreign wives who were worshipers of idols. He lost sight of the finish line and even built high places for idol worship. How sad to begin well but to lose sight of the finish line.
   What about us? When we first came to know the Lord, we were so full of joy and enthusiasm and probably believed we would run with Him every moment. But often things distract us, and our hearts get focused on other things and take His place. Even the small decisions we make can put us in a place of compromise and later we find ourselves slowing down or quitting.
  Our son was asked by our granddaughter and her fiancé if he would marry them. He has taken this privilege seriously and has just started giving them premarital counseling. He is reading a book to help open up to ways to keep the Lord first and then to help the two of them to run together always. The first surprise mentioned in the book is that one day their eyes will open up to the fact that their perfect mate may be selfish! And not long after they will notice that they themselves may also be selfish! Our human nature is selfish and as we run together, we will find that the Lord starts helping us to deal with that, and to have Him first and others second and ourselves last. That is a lifelong lesson for all of us, and the more we die to self, the less encumbered we will be as we run towards the finish line.
  Let us all set our eyes on the Lord and ask Him to keep the finish line before us and to run well.
Challenge for today: Run with endurance the race the Lord sets before you that you may finish strong.  (Heb. 12: 1-2)
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

August 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend! I just made egg dishes and cookies and am cleaning the apartment as I am trying to get my work all done before the Vikings play!Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
  One day I listened to an interview with Bishop Robert Barron and again I was touched by what he had to say. This time it was on death and why we should ponder our own death. I have written on death in the past but sometimes we need reminding that the time we live in this world is not all there is. In fact, for the Christian, we are told that what awaits us is far more glorious than anything we experience on this earth. In I Cor. 2:9, it says, “Eye hath not seen or ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” We cannot even imagine with our mind how glorious our next life will be, but God has given us His Spirit to reveal those things to us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         When we live with the truth that we are going to die and leave this world, it should change the way we live today. At one monastery, the monks were to dig a scoop of dirt from their own grave each day as a reminder of the life to come. Wow! That certainly would help us approach our lives today with the future in mind. We should not be afraid of death but looking forward to what is ahead.                                          Bishop Barron shared about how so many TV shows and movies are full of sex and violent deaths. Some movie stars when interviewed about death believed it was all over when you breathe your last breath.  Arnold Schwarzenegger said that you just go into the ground and rot!
Many are so afraid of death and try to keep it at bay. Years ago, the one who was dying was surrounded by family and after death placed in a coffin in the main room where people came to be with the family and grieve together. Today many people die in a hospital room and often alone. During COVID that was sadly a common practice. We’ve tried to ignore thinking about death, but it will come to all of us one day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bishop Barron shared about frightening things that people view about death. One that when you die you are no more. But that is not true for we are just transfigured into a new version with a spiritual body, and we are still a person. Secondly, that all our achievements are gone and fade away. No, what we did in this life is transferred over to God and he rewards us for all that we did for others. Thirdly, that death robs us of love of our loved one. No, even when they die God’s divine love is more powerful than death and our love for them is not lost. Fourthly, death robs us of earthly pleasures and joys. But that is not true either for what is in glory far exceeds anything we have known on this earth. Like Paul said, we can’t even imagine what God has for us ahead.
Let us be careful how we live each day, making the most of our opportunities but also with heaven in mind and life forever with the One who is love.
Challenge for today: Tell the next generation of what the Lord has for those that love Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

August 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! Hope you have time to enjoy some time to relax and get renewed.  Today it is party day here as we celebrate all the August birthdays. Al always asks a question to the ones whose birthday it is, so we get to know each other better. Today we will also have to answer since we will both be celebrating our birthdays. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We were made to fellowship with others in spirit as well as in person. But often we receive hurts, that hinder friendships and times of fellowship together. Sometimes it is not intentional, but wounding takes place, and we need be honest with one another so we can forgive and heal. If we pretend nothing happened, we will experience space between us for we no longer look at them the same. But when it is brought out in the open and the one who wounded asks forgiveness of the pain they caused, it is like a miracle since healing can follow.                       
   Author Lewis Smedes who wrote Forgive and Forget, said we can’t forgive people for things we have forgotten about, but we have need to forgive what someone did because the pain is alive. That doesn’t include trivial things that we simply overlook but rather the pain we dare not remember as we stuff it under the rug of our unconsciousness. But it will pop up again unless we deal with it. Once we have forgiven, then we can experience the freedom of forgetting. Lewis says, “The test of forgiving lies with healing the lingering pain of the past, not forgetting that the past ever happened.”.                                                                                                                    
   He goes on to say that forgiving is not excusing the person because of their upbringing, their genetics, the culture etc. for it is how we played the hand we were delt. Forgiving is not just smoothing over conflict and never dealing with it but helping people forgive one another. He also writes that accepting others is not the same as forgiving them either. We all need to accept people because of the good they are to us but we also have to forgive them for the unacceptable things they have done to us. We don’t have to tolerate everything someone does to us, even though we forgive them.  
   It is most difficult to forgive people we cannot see or touch like someone who has died as the reunion of coming together again will have to be fully completed in heaven. It is also hard to forgive people who don’t seem to care if we forgive them or not. Perhaps it is hardest for us to forgive ourselves or God. But whenever there is need of forgiveness, we each need to see what we’ve done through the eyes of the other, that we enter into their suffering, that we confess our sin and that we desire not to hurt them again. Let us not stop short by just excusing or smoothing over or putting things under the rug but forgiving as the Lord forgave us.  
  Challenge for today: Memorize and put into practice Eph. 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

August 24, 2023

Dear Ones, 
Hope you wake to a peace-filled day! Al is going to men’s group and today it is Donut Day here. We have Bible study this afternoon and in between. I hope to do some baking. The question for you this week is, what scripture has God used to comfort you and give you hope in a situation that was difficult? How did it change how you viewed things? I memorized Psalm 91 years ago and it was like a lifeline to me while going through a challenging time. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Do we face life with open hands and give up trying to control?  When we face life with open hands and let go the urge to take charge, it will lift a great weight off of us! No more trying to control situations so they happen the way we think they should. Instead, we learn to be where we are right now and take in what is there, which is the center of where God is at. I have been reading what Gem and Alan Fadling have to say about control, for in giving it up we learn to be present and focus on Him and one thing at a time.                                                                      
  It’s okay when we don’t know what will happen or what is best for us and others, for it may lead us to connect with the Lord in new ways. It all rests in Him. Every person has the right to choose how they will live their life and it is not up to us to tell them how to do it. It is their life! Letting go is a process and one of the best gifts to take hold of for ourselves and viewing others.                                                                 We will find we have less anxiety and fears when we are able to give up the controls and abandon ourselves to the Lord. I had a recent experience of this as I had my first MRI yesterday. I didn’t know if I was claustrophobic, so I was encouraged to get a pill to help me if needed. I had no idea what it would be like enclosed like a mummy in a tube, but I began to picture it beforehand as being held tightly in the Lord’s arms. I clearly did not have control of the situation but was just trusting Him. I told the Lord it would be nice to be warm enough and that my focus would stay on Him during the MRI. He answered as two warm blankets were placed on me and I had peace throughout it as I rehearsed scriptures and prayed. There was such an awareness of His presence with me, and it was like we were doing this thing together and of course He was in charge. My how it lightened my heart, and I didn’t even need the pill. I left feeling uplifted by the Lord, even though I don’t know the results yet. It’s easy to understand that I was not in control over the MRI but maybe harder for us to believe that we are never in control. When we really get that and surrender to Him, transformation can take place in our lives. He does it in us. God will never force His way but offers us a life of open trust in His love and power to do all things. Our security is in Him and we will come to rest..
Challenge for today: The next time you feel you can do something all yourself, stop and ask the Lord to take charge as you do it together. (I said Psalm 121 many times in the tube!)
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 23, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a beautiful day! I am writing very early as I am going to have an MRI at 6:15 this morning. It is to help rule out why I am having hearing loss, so I am eager to get the results. Prayers appreciated! Later I have exercise class and Bible Study in the evening. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We are never ever alone so why do we fear? If we know the Lord is always, always with us then why do we feel fearful and anxious at times? Certain temperaments lean more towards fear and other ones seem to lean more towards anger. My personality is the fear one which I have lived with all my life. I especially feared speaking in public and would rather serve in the kitchen than to be upfront giving a talk, particularly to a big group. Your fears may be different than mine but very real. You know the feeling! Our culture is so fear orientated, and most advertisements try to manipulate us by tapping into our fears to make a sale.
  Today I am getting my first MRI and fear would be my natural tendency. I wonder if I will get claustrophobic and what if my nose itches, or I move, or if I get really cold? But I was reading Gen and Alan Fadling’s book (What Does Your Soul Love) and was amazed how open about their fears they both are. They advocate not pushing fears away, but to face them and feel them and speak aloud of them, so they can dissipate. I am going to try it and will let you know what happens.
  The bottom line for all of us is that we need to find rest for our souls, rest from our fears, in the person of Jesus. I am going to picture myself wrapped warmly and snugly in His embrace as I am put in the tube. He will be present and with me. I am refreshing my mind with scriptures that I memorized while going through hard experiences in the past, so that I might let them fill my mind while in the “tube”. I think of Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Also, I may picture the “tube” like a shelter as I rehearse Psalm 91, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”  Also, Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
   Of course, we need courage for there may be some fear left in us as we battle the enemy of anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt etc. Fadlings wrote, “Courage is acting in the face of anxiety and fear.” They go on to say that where there is trust in a loving and powerful God, that the roots of fear wither. I’m all for that! We can lean into the fearful things as we see them in light of God’s power and remember that He is with us. 
  Challenge for today: Memorize a verse that will help you face your fears.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

August 22, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a hope filled day. Early this morning Al and I both have our routine eye appointments. Later Ann is coming, and we may do some shopping together as she is needing new glasses. I also have birthday Kohl bucks to spend! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Hopefully we all want to not just settle but to go on to grow and be more transformed into the likeness of Christ. It is easier to profess those words when things are going well, but what about when we are in pain or going through difficult situations? Many times, God uses suffering to shape us and it becomes the soil of our growth, but it may not be the way we would choose. We ar not to respond by giving up but rather by accepting and letting Him change us. As we let go and let Him have His way, we will have a deeper sense of His presence and love.
  With Pain, comes a message from the Lord which is specific for us. He might be saying, I love you just the way you are and even though you can’t do much right now, you are still valuable. Or maybe our pain is saying that we need perseverance; or are there some things that need to change in order to regain health and to put our body into balance. We need to listen to what our body is telling us and be willing to do the changing.
   Gem and Alan Fadling, share in the book, What Does Your Soul Love”, of how suffering and transformation are connected. They use the example of James when he tells a church who is going through great hardship to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3) He goes on to say that these trying times can help us mature and make us complete. They tend to show us what we really believe about God. If you are like me, we first want to do all we can to alleviate our pain and numb our suffering rather than asking God what He is trying to show us in it. Right now, I am struggling with hearing as I have profound hearing loss in one ear and the other has serious loss as well. I am doing what I can to find out why, but I also need to ask the Lord for perseverance and to know what He is trying to produce in me through this. For all of us, whatever we are going through, we know the Lord is with us and we are not alone and “all shall be well.” Let us be open to the new ways the Lord teaches us in all of our sufferings.
   Challenge for today: Allow your pain and suffering to help you gain wisdom and be transformed into His likeness.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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