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: September 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

September 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend, even if it is raining there. I just did food prep and cleaned the apartment and am still catching up on mail from our trip. We had a fun party yesterday and good turnout and good helpers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We have lost friends and family recently as several have gone home to be with the Lord.  it makes the eternal things more real as we stop and ask ourselves if we are living with heaven in mind or are we focused on earthly things. We need to be God-conscious and focused on the things of the Spirit and not distracted and weighed down with the things of this world.

 A short prayer I read this morning by A.W. Tozer that may help us in this:  “ Oh God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou are good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen.”

Only fellowship with God will quiet our soul’s longing, for all that the world offers won’t satisfy our heart’s desire. We all have a choice if we want to follow the Lord and choose His eternal kingdom, or if we will choose the world and all that will pass away one day. Our answer has huge ramifications for if we choose God, we find great joy in His presence. We might ask, how does the Lord manifest His presence to us? He does this through a myriad of ways.

One of our friends just began teaching at a Disciple Training School and her whole subject for this year is on Intimacy with the Lord. The other pastor is going to speak on Spiritual Gifts, and she will be sharing on the different aspects of growing in Intimacy with the Lord to about 30 eager young people. What a privilege that is to teach them about what it means to really have a close, loving relationship with the Lord, to experience His presence through prayer, scripture, praise, worship and adoration; also, through humility, repentance, and holiness. At the first class she had them practice quiet listening for 5 minutes and then some shared what they felt the Lord was saying to them. What an encouragement to help them find pleasure in the Lord’s presence and to talk with Him all throughout their day.  

Jesus wants to reveal Himself to each of us and wants to love us and converse with us. Let us be spiritually aware and respond like David in Psalm 27:8, “They face, Lord, will I seek.”

Challenge for today: Sing or pray the song: “Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move; stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art, and make me love Thee as I ought to love,”
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 29, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It is good to be home again after a wonderful trip, and now we are regrouping and will get ready for Party Day here. I have lots of food prep to do and then we will go get the cake and set up. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Have you ever had to fight discouragement and wanted to throw in the towel and just give up? We have probably all had such times but when we love we must never give up but patiently endure as it says in I Cor. 13:7, “Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.” Love hopes and endures and bears all things!  We must hang on to those words, for our culture today lives much the opposite for it wants instant gratification and instant answers and no pain.

Of course, the enemy’s message to us is to give up when the going gets tough, and tells us the lie that God can’t be trusted. He puts doubts in our minds and we must quickly counteract those lies by going to scripture and praying that He give us confidence and trust that He is in control. The Holy Spirit can give us hope and a positive attitude even while going through hard trials. Apostle Paul certainly experienced so many, but he knew he was called by God and never gave up. He writes to us to have patience and endurance and to expect good to come from our trials.

We need to hang on to the truth that God can work all that we are going through for good someday. We may not see it while we are going through it, but later we may understand and can even give praise. The Bible is full of verses that tell us to persevere, to not get discouraged, to endure. I was reading about Dwight L. Moody who was a world evangelist. He worked among the poor and became discouraged that he didn’t see more results. But his Sunday school teacher told him to study carefully about the story of Noah, which was familiar to him. When he did, he realized that Noah worked 100 years and didn’t get discouraged even though people were making fun of him as he built the ark. He didn’t have fellowship outside his family, and people weren’t coming to him for prayer or to know God. He just kept doing what God told him to do! Moody was changed by studying Noah and decided to simply do his best but leave the results up to the One who called him to preach.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let us not get discouraged and quit but do the work God has called us to do.                                         
Challenge for today: Go in the strength of the Lord and never, never give up.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


September 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a peace filled day! We will be heading home today, and home always looks good. Thank you for prayers for our trip as it has been a wonderful one and also a blessed time of retreat, more than we could have anticipated. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How important it is to hear Jesus’ words to us daily and to build our life around what He speaks to us. Today I was reading from The Message translation of Jesus words that He spoke to the crowd in the sermon on the Mount, which He also speaks to us. In the 6th chapter He says, “The words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on.” It’s not enough to say “Yes Sir” unless we actually do what He says to us. He goes on to say that we need to work His words into our lives and let them be foundational to keep us strong and standing when the storms of life come.                                                                                                              
As His words become part of our lives, “our true being will brim over into true words and deeds.” Isn’t that what we truly desire? Some of the old will need to be stripped away and removed.  It may have been good at one time, but now we need a new mindset and perspective. I think of my trip to the dentist not long ago. I had to have 2 teeth removed and some work done to prepare me for my eventual implants. Right now, my gums are healing and getting ready for it. Even though those teeth were fine at one time, decay has gotten in and it was necessary to remove them. It is humbling as I am missing 2 teeth, but fortunately they are not upfront! But a hidden and necessary work is being done and I will have two brand new teeth to replace the old.    
Maybe we can think of things in our lives that we gave so much time and attention to in the past. It could be a position we held, but we find that God’s grace is no longer upon it, as it is time to give it over to someone else. Or the Lord may be stripping us of old habits that are now causing us to get weighed down. It is helpful to set aside time to just be quiet before the Lord and listen to how He wants to lead us in a new way. “The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” (II Cor. 5:17) Let us hear His word to our hearts and move into the new and build our lives on Him. 
Challenge for today: Spend some quiet moments just listening and if you are directed to cast off something old, follow in obedience. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


September 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have been having a great day. We are at the Drury Hotel in Coralville, IO and I just had a wonderful swim indoor and outdoor as I watched the beautiful clouds. We had a good trip today and tomorrow we will head home. Thank you for prayers as it has been a great trip and even here we were given an upgrade without asking and perfect for retreat. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Haven’t we all had times when we looked forward to a special time and it didn’t turn out anything like we expected?  Maybe we felt disappointment as we realized what we hoped for was not going to happen. But just maybe God has a better plan, and we will have to wait for it to unfold. I just read from Romans 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” He is the One who loves us more than any other and knows best, desiring to give us what is according to His perfect will.
  I want to share an experience we had yesterday as we began our trip home from North Carolina. We left at 5:30 a.m. after a wonderful 5 days with our son’s family. We were able to play many games with the grandkids, go out to celebrate Mark’s birthday, shop, play be the stream, share and pray together, etc. etc. Our hearts were very full when we left and Al and I talked the first 4 hours of our trip homeward, expressing gratitude to the Lord. Our intention was to stop in Louisville at a Drury Hotel, where we have stayed before, that has an indoor/outdoor pool etc. We planned to stay there early afternoon and have a time of retreat but as we neared there, the traffic was terrific since there was road construction and cars all stopped; we got out of there as quickly as we could. I was disappointed as we were looking forward to that time of retreat and I got busy on my phone trying to find another place while the storm clouds were nearly overhead. We stopped in Seymour and every place at the hotel there was taken for the night and the next 3 nights. We made a further stop in Columbus and nearby we saw the Holiday Inn sign and decided to inquire and found something that surpassed what we had hoped for. We told the manager we wanted a room to write and would need a desk and two chairs in the room; and he responded by upgrading us to a suite that turned out to be perfect for retreat.…we had 3 rooms, 2 TV’s, 2 desks, 2 sinks, sofa and access to the pool etc…far more than we would have ever asked for. My disappointment was turned to joy and thanksgiving that the Lord would give us such a gift. The Lord delayed us to give us something greater.
 In my heart it was also a reminder to be grateful for whatever way the Lord chooses to answer the desires of our hearts. It’s all up to Him, whether it is less than we anticipate or more than; for it comes from His loving hand.
Challenge for today: Express to the Lord a need you have but be thankful for however He chooses to answer.
Blessings on your evening and prayers and love, Judy

September 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have enjoyed the day. We left early this morning from Mark and Andrea’s after 5 days of fun and food and fellowship together with their family. I felt like I had a real vacation and time with the Lord and them. We are at the Holiday just south of Indianapolis. There is a beautiful outdoor pool but looks like a storm so will wait. Thank you for prayers. Going to Iowa City tomorrow. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What is the most wonderful thing in life? Is it not to be loved? Loved for who we are as a unique person and chosen by God? I am reading James Smith’s book, Embracing the Love of God, and though raised in a Christian home and becoming a preacher and author, he still struggled with comprehending He was loved by God. If we are honest, we have probably all had those thoughts of wondering would others love us if they knew really knew us?! Al commented that he read this book over 25 years ago and preached 10 sermons on it!
   But the truth is, God looks at us and smiles and loves us with a passionate love. He wants us to know it and feel it deep in our souls. Like me, maybe there are days we can really sense that love, but other times, especially after we have blown it, we wonder if He can love us still. But when we are forgiven and truly loved, it not only affects how we see ourselves, but it spills out on others. In many ways knowing we are loved is a process as we journey through life and more and more believe that He loves us and is always with us. Like Paul said in Eph. 3:18-19, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
  God doesn’t love us because we get up early to pray or that we help the poor or try to live flawlessly. But like Smith discovered, “God does not love, God is love.”  He never stops loving us because love is His nature. We can’t say the same about ourselves. We have to learn to love and receive His grace to be able to love like Him. He accepts us and loved us first and loves us every day of our lives. His love won’t ever change for us because it was not based on anything we did in the first place. We can’t earn it; we just receive it. He loves us as we are, not as we should be and want to be. We can’t lose His love for it is a gift. It is His pleasure to fill us with His love,
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to give you heart knowledge of His love for you!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

In the Midst of cultural confusion

In Micah 7:1-6,  the prophet grieves over the condition of Israel.  After being the mouthpiece for the Lord (6:9), Micah takes a figurative  walk through the city (Jerusalem).  He is overcome with what he sees, “What misery is mine!” (v 1).  He becomes aware of the wickedness and the impending doom he can see coming.  “The faithful have been swept from the land” ( v 2).  Wickedness has become deeply ingrained, leading to the unravelling of the whole fabric of life.  The heart of the problem is  one of leadership:  “the ruler…….the judge…….the powerful……the best of them” (3-4) have become skilled in doing evil.

As a watchman, Micah declares, “But your judgment day is coming swiftly now.  Your time of punishment is here” ( 4). It will be  “a time of confusion” (v 4)).  This one phrase seems to describe what is characteristic of the soul of our nation.  There would be social disorder with the brake down of relationships. “The situation is so dire that the people can’t trust a neighbor, a friend, or even a spouse (5).  Close family relations have broken down (6).  Judy and I are experiencing confusion among people we have know for years.  Jesus later used verse 6 to say that following him may also damage family relationships (Matt. 10:35-36) 

Micah pictures a society turned upside-down, in which “a  son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother” (6). It is important to note that Micah’s critic of society is not political but spiritual.  “Political comment on social disintegration today often revolves around the need to focus, not so much on crimes and criminals, but on the causes of crime.   Micah would direct us all back to the way we have steadily ignored, and often directly flouted, the requirements of God for our personal, social and working lives, as well as for our nation.  Defiant rejection of God’s revealed truth is the fundamental reason for the social disintegration we see around us” (Bible Speaks Today)

After the darkness and gloom of contemporary life, Micah straightens up and declares his confidence in God.  “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me” (7:7).  Men, notice three things from this prayer uttered in the midst of a literal brake up of society.  It sure can point us in the right direction, when we stand for Jesus in the midst of significant confusion.  

First, “But as for me” Micah was contrasting himself with the message of other “watchmen.”  He was looking “to the Lord for help” (7).  He was confident of better days ahead. “I confidently for God to save me.”  Remember Jesus taught us to pray, “your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Micah could see beyond the confusion

Secondly, Micah said he would “wait.”  The same Hebrew word is translated “depend” in 5:7.  Micah had faith that God would preserve Israel through the coming judgment.  He saw beyond the headlines. “Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light” (8).

Thirdly, Micah was confident that God would hear his prayer of lament, as he witnessed the brake up of society.  This chapter “began with a cry of mourning (v 1-2) ends with the quiet confidence that God will act.” (NIVZSB)

Then in 7:8-20 Micah looks past the coming defeat and destruction to the future day when the Lord would reverse that judgment.  A repentant people will raise again (7:8-9), the enemies would be defeated and Israel would be rebuilt (vv. 10-11).  “This enemy who kept taunting, ‘So where is this God of yours?”  I’m going to see it with these, my own eyes – my enemy disgraced, trash in the gutter” (v 10 MSG).  


September 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and had time to get refreshed. We are enjoying our time here at Mark’s with many games, good food, lots of sharing together, going to their church and out for dinner, floating little boats on the stream, a good movie and popcorn etc. Andrea will be home schooling all morning and Mark and Al and I will have time together. Then tomorrow we plan to head for home after a wonderful time here. Appreciate prayers again!                                                                                                                                                                                                 Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                          
When I was very young, I use to love to sing the chorus, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before, every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more. Jesus saves and keeps me and He’s the One I’m waiting for. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” As we grow in our walk with the Lord, every day is an opportunity to bring us closer to Him in intimacy as we taste more of the sweetness of His presence.

 We are in Statesville, N.C. as I write this and God gave me the most perfect day with Him on Friday. Al and Mark went out for breakfast and Andrea was homeschooling our grandsons, so I had several hours to myself in such beautiful surroundings. My tummy was full as Andrea provides us with amazing nutritious meals. And this time while here, we have the whole lower level for Al and I to just make ourselves at home, as her parents who usually inhabit it, are gone for a time.  

  Although we use to run a retreat house for pastors, it was seldom that we got to actually go somewhere and also enjoy retreat. So, this day, I felt like I was the retreatant and could spend extended time in quiet with Him. Mark and Andrea have several acres of huge trees, one being 400 years old, and a stream running through their property. I took a leisurely walk and shared with the Lord as I walked. Then I just sat on a big rock by the stream and was just in His presence. No talking, just being with Him. I noticed in the stillness the smallest flowers about me at the water’s edge, that would have been overlooked if walking by. I found several items to use as the boys and I were to give a spiritual talk using 10 things in nature when together for a meal. I felt like that little flower, who is more hidden (since I am an introvert), and I realized how the Lord saw me. I sat in the sunshine and just let Him warm me outwardly as He filled me with warmth inwardly. I didn’t have to rush for I had until a late lunch and no expectations from others. I gave the Lord the things on my heart and asked requests of Him, which later were answered in a more perfect way than I had imagined. The verse came to mind of Jer. 33:3, “Call to Me and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” It is good to give our requests to Him but not tell Him how to do it, for He is infinitely wiser than we are. I even took a short nap and felt so rested when the grandsons were ready for games. Before the day was over, we had deep sharing with family and I went to bed thanking the Lord for the most perfect day with Him, and my heart overflowed.
   Challenge for today: Schedule an extended time with the Lord for retreat with Him.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy



September 23, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! May you enjoy some restful time! The Lord has provided above what I could ask or think about this time away as we are having great times with the grandsons, and deep times together with Mark and Andrea. I may just write about it and send it out to you on Monday! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What gave you joy as a child growing up? What picture comes to mind? I think my favorite thing was to be by the quiet lake and lay in the sun with a yummy book to read and an apple to munch. I could stay there for hours, and recently I had to pay the consequences with putting an anticancer cream on my face each night for a month to rid the precancer cells. But real true joy is not found in perfect circumstances and responding to outward things, but instead comes from within by experiencing the presence of the Lord.
  We discover that deep down joy is not found out there in the world that we need to go look for it, but it is rather already here in our life with the Lord. When we come to know Him, we experience a depth of joy that is hard to describe, and it energizes us and is a fruit of the Spirit. It doesn’t have to do with our outward circumstances or our station in life at all, for Paul had joy even when he was in prison. I read today how Habakkuk expresses all the things that were not ideal for him, like no fruit on the vines or herds in the stalls etc. but then says, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.” (Hab 3:18) Our list might look different as we may say, “Even if I lose my job, even if my health deteriorates, even if my children reject me…yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”  When we choose Jesus, we choose joy!
  Maybe our present life circumstances seem disappointing, and we may ask the Lord to help us find joy in the midst of it all. Some may try spiritual practices, spend more time in scripture and time in nature; or slow down and give more attention to the Lord.   Our true joy is found as we connect with the Lord each day and surrender ourselves to all that He puts before us. There is joy in obedience even when we don’t understand His ways at the time.
  Challenge for today: Begin each day with the Lord and then just bask in His love and let the joy bubble up. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 22, 2023

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Happy weekend to you! We arrived safely yesterday in Statesville, N.C. at our son’s home and thank you for prayers. Our two grandsons have grown, and we have already played several games of Horse, went to the gym. and will be playing many more games today after they have their home school homework done this morning. Wonderful to be together again.

Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How big is our faith? Do we believe God before seeing? Faith is a gift of God, and it comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17). There are many definitions of faith but like Thomas a’ Kempis said, “I had rather exercise faith than know the definition thereof.” When we believe God’s promises we have expectation of what He will do. We might say that is faith, for we can’t yet see it but yet we believe it is coming. We have to get ourselves out of the picture and remember who God is and focus on Him. Faith is “looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. “(Heb 12:2) Faith is looking outward to Him, and not dependent on ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                              
As I am still reading Pursuit of God, I will share some of the things that struck me in a new way. Raphael Simon said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances! To seek Him is the greatest of all achievements! To find Him is the greatest human achievement!” Let us ask ourselves if we pursue God and think of Him often during our day and in our work. If we invite a friend over to visit but didn’t pay attention and simply left him alone, how rude that would be. But do we do that with the Lord? Do we neglect talking to Him and even recognizing His presence with us throughout our workday?                                                                                               

Faith is lifting our eyes to the Lord and it can be done anytime and anywhere. We don’t have to be rich or have any special ritual, but just raise our eyes to Him in believing trust. God, I don’t know how you are going to do something, but I am trusting and believing…something deep inside sees and believes God. It is a joy to teach children as they find it easy to believe, and if you tell them something they have no reason not to believe it will happen. Like Lucie Christine said in such a beautiful childlike way, “My way is very simple-my soul lives in God by a glance of love between Him and myself. By this glance God gives Himself to me, and I myself to Him. This is my habitual state in which God has placed me.”

Let us form the habit of lifting the eyes of our soul to the Lord and listening to His voice and in faith believe what He will do, before we see it with our eyes,

Challenge for today: Lift your eyes to heaven several times during the day and thank Him that He is looking down at you with love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


September 21, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. We got as far as Knoxville, TN this afternoon and I had a delightful swim while Al had a walk. We are having a time of retreat and enjoying this time so much. I am sending this early for tomorrow as we will be on our way to Mark’s and so eager to get to see him and Andrea and our grandsons! Again, thank you for your prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   On our trip Al and I talk a lot together and I also read books I have saved for such a time as we travel. We got to talking about what we still want to do in life before we no longer will be able to. I couldn’t think of any big things, but I said I wondered if I was missing out by not paying more attention to what is going on in the world, having coffee in the morning while I read the paper or a magazine and knowing the latest songs and movies, or what is happening in the life of celebrities etc. Somehow, I never get to that but start my day with the Lord and then jump into my work etc. But so neat how the Lord answered as I was reading A.W. Tozer’s book, Pursuit of God. The very next day I read about what is really important. A few words, “Listen to the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind—short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings… Practice spiritual concentration.”  
   We live in the world but we don’t want the world living in us. We are the one that needs to always bend to God’s ways and not try to fit Him into our way of thinking and doing. We are to conform to Him who is infinitely greater than we are and who created us for His pleasure. It is like walking out of the world’s parade for we are out of step with it, and walking in step with the Lord. That may mean making choices between Him and some of our relationships, or between Him and our personal ambitions etc. Life becomes actually more simplistic when He is central as we are on the same course, yoked to Him and our burden becomes light. Even though we often fail at times, He looks at our intention and desire to please Him. He tells us to come to Him and learn of Him and He will give us rest. (Matt. 11:28-30) Our self-love and pride is a heavy burden and He gives us release from it. We will not care so much what others think, but only what God sees.
   May the Lord make us childlike and help us to live simply and without pretense and take up the yoke of self-forgetfulness.
  Challenge for today; Give the Lord first place in your life and let go of the ways the world would try to suck you in to its mold.
Blessings on your evening and day tomorrow and prayers and love, Judy
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