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: November 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

November 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day filled with peace. Al is soon off to men’s group, and I will have donuts waiting for him when he returns as it is Donut Day. After our Bible study here this afternoon, he will be going to the dentist to get a wisdom tooth extracted. Emoji Prayers appreciated!  I am going to make a pot of stew and soon the aroma will fill our apartment.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 The way we live and interact is a gift to others!  Today there is a great lack of unity as many people in likeminded groups wall themselves off from others that don’t exactly agree with their way of thinking. Gone is the likelihood of influencing others for good as walls are put up around closed groups that are not open to those with other viewpoints.
 The question arises, how can we influence others for the Lord, if we are secluded and not welcoming to others? When we have Bible Study here at Northern Lakes, we come from so many different backgrounds, and Al is careful that we don’t make an issue of infant baptism or modes of communion, or any kind of doctrinal differences. We are one in the Lord and unity is more important than being right in a doctrinal debate.  Paul says to Timothy in II Tim 2:14 to “avoid petty controversy over words, which does not good but upsets and undermines the faith of the hearers.” He goes on to say we are to avoid all empty, vain, and useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
 So much in the Word speaks of the unity of Christ’s Body for we are one family with many different parts. It says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider and give attentive continuous care to watching over one another studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.” We are also told to gather together to encourage and admonish one another for we are of the same spirit. Yes, we are diverse, but we have One who is our common denominator, and unity is found in Him.  Others outside of Christ, may be drawn to Him, just by observing our unity and oneness of spirit.
  Let us let the Holy Spirit guide our conversations and live with openness to others and also humbly receive from them.
Challenge for today: Purposely have conversation with someone of a different viewpoint and be open to what you may learn.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 29, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you have a day filled with joy-filled moments. I plan to go to my exercise class, then with Al to his post op appointment, home in time for crafts and later Bible Study.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Where does the time go? The older I get the faster time seems to go and the days seem to fly by. How did we get in a new season already when I hardly had a chance to enjoy the former one? I was reading an article by Patricia Engler on tips for making the best use of time. She quoted Charles Spurgeon, who over a hundred years ago said, “Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity.”
   It is important that we use our time for things that really matter and to enjoy each day we are given. Moses prayed that God would teach us to number our days so we would gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) Life is so brief and I don’t want to waste my time on earth investing in things that don’t have eternal value.
  Jesus spent his time doing His Father’s business and he had only 3 short years to prepare His disciples to take over the huge task of preaching the good news of the kingdom, healing the sick, baptizing, teaching them all that they had learned from Him. Yet He took time to be alone with His Father, wasn’t rushed but stayed on His Father’s time schedule and did it His way. way.
  It is good to ask ourselves how we are doing with our time management. Do we come to the end of the day and realize we neglected to spend time with the Lord in the Word, and yet we read the latest on Facebook, had time for games online etc. What are our motives for spending time and are they worthwhile? What things help us to draw closer to the Lord and enable us to share Him with others that they may know Him and grow? As we answer those questions it will help us to say no to things that simply waste our time and are not worthwhile.
 Some people like detailed planning and scheduling, and others may find that too restricting. We need to do what works for us. We may have certain circumstances in our lives that demand more time of us right now, like having a baby, starting a new job, or caring for the sick. God can give us creative ways to accomplish what is needed as we follow His leading.
The Lord looks at our heart and knows our motives. May our desire be to draw close to Him and use our time wisely to enlarge His kingdom here on earth. One day this will be all over and only what we have done for Him will last!
Challenge for today: Before you shut your eyes tonight, review your day and ask the Lord if there are things you need to cut out or add.
  Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of thankfulness! Today I hope to do some baking and we are invited to friends for coffee and fellowship.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Upon waking one morning, the verse came to mind from Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is in me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”  David goes on to list his thankfulness for forgiveness and healing, saving his life, and for grace and mercy. He is full of gratitude for God’s love and compassion and recalls His deeds to his people.

  Just the day before when Al and I were walking together on the Paul Bunyan trail in some fresh snow, we were sharing with one another as we usually do when we walk. We were recalling how God has always been with us, and always provided what we needed at the time. We never lacked or went without a meal; even though poor while Al was in seminary the Lord always gave us enough and even at times enough to have company. We reminisced of how one of Al’s college roommates just happened to be over at our apt at graduation time when Al’s folks were visiting. Al had been thinking we would be going to N.Y. for his seminary training and Terry said, “Have you ever thought of going to Fuller Seminary?” Well, that would be nice but something we couldn’t afford. Al’s dad must have been close enough to hear and offered to pay for his tuition. God’s provision in an unexpected way! We lived paycheck to paycheck on Al’s parttime salary and my babysitting of the pastor’s 5 kids so that I could be a stay-at-home mom. Never did we lack the basics, and we didn’t worry about the “what-ifs.” We trusted God would provide as he had in the past and He did!

  We also recalled one benefit after another of how the Lord had healed us, led us and guided us, but not always the way we thought. After seminary we hoped to go to a church in the poor part of Mpls and instead, we were sent to the rich in Edina. His plan! Yes, there were also hard times and we recalled how God saw us through and gave us His strength to overcome. As we concluded our walk, my heart was so full of gratitude and praise to the Lord.
 Let us not waste time worrying about tomorrow but remember His goodness to us in the past and trust Him for the future.
  Challenge for today: Spend some sharing with someone your story of how the Lord has poured out His goodness on you all the days of your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Men Singing

Recently a group of men in my church sang during our annual Thanksgiving service.  One of them had decided to organize a group of men to simply come up front and lead our congregation in praise to God.  He choose two songs: “O Worship the King” (with) “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” & “Holy, Holy, Holy” (with) “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts.”  At least 15 men stood there facing the congregation, joyfully singing to the Lord.  That time of worship seemed angelic.    

The experience prompted me wonder about the battle going on in the spiritual realm.  Our archenemy, Satan, and all his demonic forces do not want to be reminded of the throne room in heaven, where the worship of the Lamb is taking place.  Heartfelt worship reminds the forces of evil of their defeat.  The new song in heaven declares, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).  When a group of men committed to Jesus sing in unison from their hearts, the spell of the illusionary lie of evil is broken.  The spiritual air is cleared and Jesus’ reign is actualized in the hearts of those in worship.

As we sang, I thought of the large “Promise Keepers” events I attended at the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.  A spiritual presence gave men permission and motivation to sing heartfelt praises to God.  It was truly inspiring to be caught up in praise to our Lord in a stadium built for sports team.  In that moment it became a sanctuary of praise to the Lord, as men “let loose” with praise to the Lord.  It felt like are large spiritual pep rally, where men were preparing for battle.

I thought of the spiritual battle we face in our nation at this time.  I remembered King Jehoshaphat, who appointed men to go out ahead of the army, praising God as they went into battle against Ammon and Moab.  They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”  II Chronicles 20:22 tells us, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”  Earlier the king had been told in a message from the Lord, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s… Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (II Chron. 20:15-16).    

I wondered about our experience as men in church singing “unfettered” before the Lord.  By this I mean men oblivious to cultural restraints from voices implying that anything masculine is toxic.  The negative feminine voice is silenced by the unified voice of men lifting their voices to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  On this occasion a group of ordinary men stood before a community of fellow believers, declaring in a strong, unified voice that God reigns.  It was a powerful declaration.

In Revelation 4-5, we have an image of the throne room in heaven, with high praise being offered to the Lamb of God.  After the four living creatures, the next to be mentioned were 24 elders, representing the church.  These were men laying down their crowns before the throne.  They sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).  


November 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I imagine our thoughts now will be turning to Christmas and making preparations. This afternoon, we will be gathering downstairs to decorate the Christmas tree in the community room, each of us bringing a special decoration to hang on the tree. There will be hot cider and cookies too! This morning I am going to Aldi’s and Exercise and make a couple spaghetti pies.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Forgiveness is costly and when we forgive someone it is not excusing them or condoning what they have done but letting God give the final judgment.  He is the judge, and we are relieved of judging others because He is worthy and just. Even if the person somehow escapes punishment in this lifetime, one day he or she will have to give account to God. Wrongdoing is always punished but the crime is paid for either by us, or if we know Jesus, it is paid by His sacrifice on the cross. In Rom. 12:19, it says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

  The words of Ajith Fernando caught my attention as I have been trying to do what I wrote about previously to pray and bless those have hurt me or my loved ones. He says, “Loving a person who has hurt us activates the love of God in a way that brings healing to our wounds and releases God’s provision of strength.” He goes on to say that the most effective weapon we have against evil is good deeds motivated by love. In the past I think I have only done the first part of forgiving others, but not specifically carrying out deeds of kindness and love and blessing them. In fact, when we do that, it may even cause them to feel regret for their behavior and repent. We know Jesus paid the price fully for their sin, and they need only repent. Trying to get even, moves us in the opposite direction of reconciliation.

  There are times we are to confront, and it may be that church discipline is necessary for the one who has caused another hurt. In one church we attended, when one of the members was married but living with another woman, the Pastor and elders confronted him and delt with it, and later he repented and returned to his wife.

   All of us need to take responsibility for dealing with our own sin when we have hurt others and to seek forgiveness from the Lord but also from the one we have wounded. We name what we have done and try to make amends if possible. So whether we have been sinned against or if we have caused others hurt, let us deal with it and receive God’s grace and healing power of forgiveness.
  Challenge for today:  Do a kindness for someone who has hurt you in the past.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

November 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Hope you are enjoying time to regroup and be refreshed. I plan to clean today and wrap some Christmas gifts.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    Forgiveness is a precious gift and one that is needed by every person. We will never outgrow our need for forgiveness for we sin daily, both by commission and omission. We also have to keep forgiving others who sin against us and we need the Lord to help us with that as it is too easy to justify our own actions and responses.
   We are commanded to forgive as it says in Eph. 4:32, “Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ.” Prior to that Paul writes that we are not even to say anything that would hurt another person but speak only what is good so that we can give help wherever it is needed.
Of course, the enemy wants to cause friction in our relationships and bring divisions, so we separate from others. He loves disunity and tells us that the other person is more at fault than we are, and they don’t deserve forgiveness. In fact, we should give them a piece of our mind and let them know how much pain they have caused us; or he could tell us to bottle up our feelings and let them continually fester and cause us unrest. But as we harbor vindictive feelings our conscience becomes desensitized and before long, we find that we can’t hear the Lord clearly.
  But Jesus way is vastly different, and we are to forgive as He did. It takes humility and grace but will bring us a sense of peace, even in our hurts. We are to forgive others even as He forgives us. We are not responsible for the other person, but only for ourselves and even though we don’t feel like forgiving we can do it as an act of our will. Then as it follows that we pray for them and let go of trying to get even, we will find our hearts soften. For some time after going through a hard time in one of our churches, my hope was that I would not have to meet up with those that hurt me when I went shopping etc.; but that was an indicator I hadn’t fully forgiven. It took a while longer for that.  But the bottom line is that in giving it all to the Lord, letting Him work on us and them, we can feel peaceful and free.
   Let us not harbor resentment and forgive as Jesus forgave those that did far worse things to Him than we will ever experience.
Challenge for today: Pray for someone that has hurt you and forgive from your heart.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

November 24, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Hope you had a wonderful meaningful celebration yesterday. We came home from our daughter’s veery full and blessed by the day with family. I just made cookies and am now in the process of making bars as my freezer was depleted of any sweets. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  There seems to be a big shortage of men that are stepping up to the plate and being fathers to their children. In so many homes today the father is absent and the children suffer. I wonder if dads know how important they are in how their children view them and also their outlook on life, their manhood or womanhood, and their view of God. A dad is like an earthly example of our Father in heaven who is for us, who loves us and who will cheer us on.

  On Thanksgiving we went to our daughter and son-in-law’s home on the lake to celebrate together with all 3 grandsons present. After a wonderful feast, while still at the table, I introduced a game that had $10 prize for the winner. Each of us was to tell one thing we were thankful for each member of the family. The one receiving all the complimentary comments then chose what remark meant the most to them, and that particular individual was given a point. Of course, the one who scored the most points won the money. It was interesting how what each person was thankful for so accurately described who the person was. But most interesting was that Leif got the most points as the boys chose their dad’s comments as being most important to them. Some of you moms might groan, thinking of all you do for your kids and yet what dad does seems to make the most impression on them.

  But God has placed the man as head of his family and so many are abandoning their roles. It has an effect on the family but on the whole culture, as many males today feel lost and lonely and depressed. Let us not fall prey to how our society views family and the roles each of us is to play but rather what God says. In Ephesians 5 we read that the husband is to be the head and provide leadership and the wife is to summit in the same way her husband must be submitted to the Lord. Christ was also submitted to His Father, and we are protected as we are under God given authority. There is a call today, as never before, for men to take their rightful place.

  Challenge for today: Encourage the men and boys in your life to not cop out but take their God-given place.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

November 23, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you will be celebrating this day not only by feasting but in a way that is meaningful and full of thankfulness. We are going to the lake to be with Ann’s family and stopping on the way to see a friend in Assisted Living. All 3 grandsons will be home, and I am hoping for some hot games!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  May we each have a grateful heart that overflows with thanksgiving! Even if we are in a difficult circumstance, we can still choose to thank the Lord in the midst of it, for we look from the vantage point of eternity. One day it will be all over and we will live forever without pain or sorrow, forever in His presence. Let us be thankful in all things as we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day. I would like to share a short prayer by Debbie Przbyski to help us express our gratefulness to the Lord.

A Prayer for a Thankful Heart

Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life. I long to bring pleasure to Your heart daily. Break the power of the enemy in my life. Defeat Him through my sacrifice of praise. Change my outlook and attitude into one of joyful contentment with my present circumstances. I thank You for… [Name a difficult circumstance in your life presently and thank God for it.]

Jesus, I want to be like You who obeyed the Father without complaint. You embraced the chains of humanity when You walked this earth. Convict me whenever I complain or compare myself with others. I know that Your truth dwells in a thankful heart.

‘I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens’ (Psalm 7:17-18

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Challenge for today: Spend time thanking someone else that that has blessed your life.
Blessings on this Thanksgiving Day and prayers and love, Judy

November 22, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine. Thank you for prayers for Al as his surgery went well. Early this morning we go to his post-surgery checkup and then I will go to my exercise class. Since we are going to Ann’s for Thanksgiving, I took out our Christmas decorations yesterday so now we have our early prayer time together in light of our little Christmas tree.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What is our One thing in life? Is it to know the Lord, to hear Him, and to be transformed into His image? Lately it seems like what I read in scripture and in other books all point to being aware of His presence and knowing Him in a deep way. I want to get better at hearing His voice and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the transformation process. I was reading today from The Message translation from Romans 12 and Paul writes: “Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

  I am getting on in years, and I don’t want to miss the One thing in life that is most important…to really know the Lord and to let Him transform me to be like Him. That is a big order and the transformation process takes time and cooperation with the Spirit. I hope you are also paying attention to your soul and want to go below the surface of just asking the Lord for your requests, but rather going on to know Him in a deep way. For all of us that will involve change and to give up lesser desires so we may cooperate with the Holy Spirit. But the journey is personal and how He leads me may differ greatly from how He directs you and also the pace for each of us. Al and I have recently observed the transformation of a friend changed from an anxious indecisive person to one that just glows in her trust and love for the Lord.

  We all need to stay open and when the Lord shows us things that need to change, we must have a willingness to let go of them. We can only do this if He is our focus. Our lives shift from dwelling on what we want, to asking what the Lord desires for us. He knows exactly what we need and wants what is best for us. Perhaps the bottom line is trusting Him. Do we believe He has our best in mind and wants to free us from our old self to become more like Him. Let us open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit, give up our resistance and receive His grace to be changed and more like Him.

Challenge for today: Dare to ask the Holy Spirit where you are resisting and ask for help to move ahead in all that He has for you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

November 21, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a peace-filled day! I am doing food prep and then we will be off to get Al’s other cataract taken care of. Thank you for prayers for him. It’s a beautiful thing to sense the prayers of others. EmojiEmoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  What kind of a person do we want to be? Is there purpose behind what we do each day, or do we just go along with what is comfortable? Maybe we are only concerned about what is immediate in our work rather than the ultimate purpose that will be noted at the end of our life.
   Some time ago at our Wednesday night Bible Study, we had the Now We Live video series and our first class was really asking us the question if our worldview aligns with our beliefs and how we live. Do our actions show consistencies between what we believe as truth and how we behave?  Or do we say one thing and live another?
 God has a purpose and a plan for our lives, and we are free to choose His plan and to become the person He would have us to be or not. The choice is ours! As I was reading today in Psalms 139:16, David said that every one of our days was decreed before one of them came into being! God has the plan! If we choose to go God’s way, we are in for the ride of a lifetime. We give up the reins of controlling our lives and let Him direct us each day which means some of our old patterns and ways have to go. He will take us to new places we have not been before, and life becomes meaningful. He invites us to a life of purpose and one of fruitfulness and love. He says in John 15:16 that “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” That’s kind of it in a nutshell for when we love Him and want to live for Him, then we are to be fruitful and share Him with others. We have an eternal purpose, and our actions will flow from our love for Him.
Challenge for today: Share the Lord today by an act of love.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


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