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: March 2024 (Page 1 of 3)

March 30, 2024

Dear Ones,
This Easter devotion is early since I don’t send out devotionals on Sundays. Tomorrow we hope to be on the road at 6:30 a.m. to go to Hackensack and visit a friend before going to Leif’s church for Easter breakfast and service and then on to the lake for dinner. May your Easter be a time of blessings and much joy for He is risen!!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  A blessed Easter to you! As we celebrate this special holy day let us be reminded of Jesus’ sacrificial death for us and that He is our hope and the One who gives us new life and victory. Today I would like to share a prayer by Debbie McDaniel and may it be our prayer as well.
“Dear God,
  Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for the Victory and Power in your Name.          Thank you that you hold the keys over death, and that by your might, Christ was raised from the grave, paving the way for us to live free. Thank you that you had a plan, thank you that you made a way.
  We praise you for your great strength, we praise you for your lavish love. We praise you for you are Conqueror, Victor, Redeemer, and Friend. We praise you that you alone are our Deliverer, you are Worthy, you are our everlasting Father our great and awesome God.
  We confess our need for you. We ask that you would renew our hearts, minds, and lives, for the days ahead. We pray for your spirit of refreshing to fill us again. Keep your words of truth planted firmly within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us of where we have been, whispering his lies and hurling attacks our way, may he be reminded again of his future. For we have a future and a hope in you. We’ve been set free, redeemed, the old has lost its grip, the new has come.
   Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set your way before us. May all your plans succeed. May we reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.
  Thanks be to you, God, for your indescribable gift!
  To you be glory and honor, on this Resurrection Day, and forever.
 In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
   As Debbie said, “His power could not be contained in a grave. His love could not be conquered by death, His truth could never be buried and forgotten. Jesus rose again. He is victorious!”
Blessings to you at this Easter time and prayers and love, Judy

March 29, 2024

Dear Ones,
Blessings to you on this Holy day. We will be having a drama as part of our Good Friday service tonight with both adults and children participating. Pastor’s father preached last night at the Maundy Thursday service, and we had communion. A good way to begin our Easter weekend.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we Crowd Pleasers or are we God Pleasers? Just because large numbers of people believe and go along with something, doesn’t make it true and reliable. We can probably think of how masses have been taken in by false statements, and approved of things that are actually distortions of truth and harmful. Today we have only to think of the crowd that was stirred up by those wanting Jesus killed and went along with them to have Him crucified. What would we have done if we had been there in the crowd?

The also think of the prophet Jeremiah who was often in crowds, but he didn’t let it shape his message and values. He didn’t preach what the people wanted to hear about God or what would make them feel good, but rather what God told him to say. He listened first to God and only wanted to give messages from Him.  Those words certainly weren’t pleasing to the crowd for they would have to recognize the truth of their sinful behavior and distance from God. It would have been far easier for Jeremiah to hold back on what he was to speak, but when he did it became like fire in his belly that he had to get out. (Jer. 20:9)

 But how refreshing it is to see a person or a group of people that are willing to live in truth and have courage to go against the crowd mentality. Sometimes they even have to stand alone. As read in the book of Jeremiah, he writes about a group of people called Recabites. They were metal workers and lived in tents and were wanderers who lived outside the city. They drank no wine and built no houses or gardens but lived life according to their ancestor Jonadab. Jeremiah was told to invite them into an open room in the temple and serve them wine. The Racabites came but they refused to drink the wine and were not distracted to go along with what the crowd would have done. They held to their convictions set down 250 years before by Jonadab and didn’t waver. Jeremiah was using them as an example to the people to live according to God’s commands and not give in to the culture. The people had drifted far from God and he wanted them to be faithful to God and live by His commands, and not let the crowd distract them.

Let us also not be influenced by ungodliness in our culture but be persons of conviction who please God and not man.

Challenge for today: Ask for grace to stand for the Lord and for what is truth, even when you may have to stand alone.
Blessings on this Good Friday and prayers and love, Judy


March 28, 2028

Dear Ones,
A blessed Maundy Thursday! We have a service at church tonight and will be stripping the altar down after for our Good Friday service tomorrow night. May we remember Jesus’ example to us!
Al will be going to Men’s group early this morning and I plan to do some food prep and we have Bible Study this afternoon.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Would others know from our actions that we have a servant’s heart or would they take us as someone who thinks others should be serving us? I remarked to Al a couple days ago of my mom’s example of serving others without complaint. She so often invited company into our small dining room in our 2- bedroom home, and yet she served with joy. She didn’t think about the work that was involved inviting groups over, like teenage girls, a large family or even all the relatives (who she managed to put everyone around a ping-pong table and card tables in the basement), but seemed excited. She exemplified to me a servant’s heart and didn’t complain.

As it is Maundy Thursday today, I think of Jesus as He celebrated the last supper with His disciples and washed their feet. He took the role of a servant and did what none of the other disciples offered to do. Jesus said in John 13:14-15, “So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also must wash each other’s feet. I’ve given you an example that you should follow.” He goes on to tell them they will have a blessed life if they follow His example and do to others what He has done.

Let us ask ourselves how willing we are to serve others, even when it involves things that we would rather not do. But the Lord will enable us to it with His love!  A couple days ago I read an example that Mark Roberts, from Fuller Seminary, gave of the role of a servant. An Executive of a large company met the custodian as he was struggling to get some big boxes up some stairs. The boss offered to help and the two of them worked together until all the boxes were carried up and put away. As he went to leave, the sweaty boss noticed tears in the eyes of the custodian, who said, “I’ve worked for this company for many years. Before today, no boss has ever stopped to help me. Thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me.” It was a simple act but spoke volumes. Foot washing is sometimes carrying boxes or bringing a meal to a family, or helping someone who is hurt. Let us not think we deserve to be served but to serve with compassion and humility.

Challenge for today: Thank someone who has served you and be open to how you can serve others.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


March 27, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full peace! More snow than when we went to bed and wonder if I will get to my class or Aldi’s today. I love baking when shut in, and Al is only too happy to sample everything.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Why do some people seem to have a life of ease even though they don’t honor the Lord; and then there are others who love and serve the Lord and seem to have so many trials in life? I thought of a family who loves the Lord and has been through so many trials, but they don’t give up. They persevere and go on and are a witness to us all!

 When winds of adversity come to us and try to knock us over, we need a good root system.  As I take in the view out my window, writing to you, I look out on a courtyard with many trees. Some are strong and have deep roots and will withstand weather of all kinds; others whose roots don’t go deep will not be able to remain standing in stormy times. Trees need to press hard and tap into deep water if they want to be times of drought. The same goes for us. We need to be deeply rooted in the Lord if we are to stand when the going gets rough in our lives.

Especially during this Lenten season, we think of the Lord who endured so much and suffered more than any of us ever will. It is hard to watch movies depicting Jesus being whipped, spit upon, mocked, and crucified for he not only took it, but He endured it with joy. As it says in Heb. 12:2-3: “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of Him, so He endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought Him. Then He received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.” Jesus began and finished the race we are in, and He never lost sight of where He was headed, so He put up with everything along the way.

We are never to quit but to keep our eyes on Jesus. No matter what we go through in this life, we are not to feel sorry for ourselves and drop out and quit. Often, we do not understand why difficult things are happening to us, but like Job let us trust God and not lose heart or give up. We have a glorious future awaiting us and so let us persevere in faith!

Challenge for today: Let go of those things that distract you from the Lord and keep your eyes on Him and persevere!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

March 26, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you are keeping warm and enjoying the beauty of the snow, lots of snow! We have nowhere we have to be, so we can enjoy this time to spend with the Lord, bake, study, go on our walk in the underground etc.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How many of us feel valued for who we are, not how wealthy we are or whatever our status might be, but who we are as a person of God. The fact is that God loved us before we were born, in our mother’s womb, and treasured us and knew all about us. He considers us important and of such value that He would give His life for us, even if we were the only person on this earth.

We don’t have to run around searching for answers to life and who we are, but go to God, who knows us well and let Him tell us who we are. If we try to begin with ourselves, rather than God, we become egocentric. God is meant to be the center of our lives, the one who knows us better than we will ever know ourselves. I am reading Jeremiah, and God said in Jer. 1:5, “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that’s what I had in mind for you.”

I wonder how many of us, as we were growing up, asked for God’s plan for our lives and followed the path He had for us. He has chosen us and whatever He has for us in life, He will help us discover. We read today of men who were millionaires and did not find satisfaction in wealth, leave their high positions and do what their calling was from the Lord. Those are Holy plans when they are God’s plans, and He has chosen each of us for a specific calling. Some take a detour before being willing to embrace God’s plan, as happened to many in scripture. Jonah tried but got him in the belly of the whale. Pl

Our place in life is determined before we are born. God puts within us all the gifts we need to accomplish what He has planned. The important thing is that we are on God’s team, and not that we do everything right, but that we follow His leading and live for Him and to serve others. We are not an accident but all of us are called and chosen, and may we live the life that God has for each of us.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord if you are in the place He would have for you right now and make adjustments as necessary.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

The Great Confrontation

There is a growing awareness of a powerful, deceptive influence affecting our world order.  It is being carefully named by some as “spiritual” in nature.  This should not be surprising to followers of Christ.  Jesus gave us fair warning: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect – if that were possible” (Mark 13:22).  John warned of the appearing of the “antichrist.” “This is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come” ( I John 2:18).  Are we beginning to see the outlines of a great spiritual confrontation?  

I certainly am not suggesting a timeline for the end of history.  But it’s interesting to note what’s being said about the end – or at least a major shift in human history.  Interestly, I find key spiritual figures in the Catholic church articulating dramatic changes coming for followers of Christ.  

Shortly before he became Pope John Paul IV, Cardinal Wojtyla said the following during a trip to America for the United States Bicentennial:  “We are now facing the final confrontation between the church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.  The confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence: it is a trial which the whole Church … must take up and face courageously.”  I wonder – are we entering that confrontation in America?  

Ralph Martin, a lay theologian in the Catholic church warns about the end times: “The picture that the Scriptures give us of the ‘end times’ is not of the world becoming progressively more ‘advanced’ in what matters, but increasingly more depraved, believing lies that lead to destruction.”  He reminds us that “apostasy is not something that pagans do but something that those who were once Christians do.” Martin is willing to name “apostate” in speaking to the Church.

In a recent newsletter, Martin observed, “It’s a time of humiliation and chastisement for the Church, but also a time when seeds of renewal are germinating … and good yeast is being put into the dough of the remnant … We are becoming a remnant, but it is a blessing to be part of the remnant, and a remnant has a special responsibility to carry on with confidence, joy, and courage amid the growing darkness.” Are we in a time of humiliation and chastisement?

Joseph Ratzinger, before becoming Pope Benedict XVI said this back in 1969: “The church is facing very hard times.  The real crisis has scarcely begun.  We will have to count on terrific upheavals … From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge – a Church that has lost much.  She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.  She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in proposerity.  As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges.”  Are we being reduced so we might rise again?

The future Pope then ends with this hopeful sign:  “But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church.  Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely.  If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty.  Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new.  They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.”  Are we ready for this new day in the church?


March 25, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend and are not buried in snow. We look out on a very white landscape, and I wonder if I will get to my exercise class. I am going to bake cookies and make spaghetti pies and we most likely be walking in the underground today.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Have you noticed how many people who do evil things get in the headlines and on the news but those who live good and significant lives, standing for what is right, are not celebrated. What is wrong with our culture when people of integrity and faith are ignored and those who lie and cheat get a following? Also, people that are bored may try to find diversion through others that seem to live lavishly and have a glamorous lifestyle, when theirs seems so dull. But that is secondhand living, and they miss out on what God has for their life.

Of course, in scripture we see that the people God used didn’t try to copy someone else’s life for each one is an original and has a different script written by the Lord. They had to explore how God was leading them and then to obey. They didn’t achieve greatness by self-promotion but by obeying God. As we mature, we grow in self-lessness and humility and will live our best, whether or not noticed or celebrated. The bottom line is TO GOD BE THE GLORY! It’s not about us, but all about Him.

We were put on this earth for such a short time, and will we accomplish what God has put within us and live it out?  Of course, we will have failures, just like Moses and Abraham, Peter and Paul, but we can learn from our errors and live lives of significance. We are all in need of grace and forgiveness and our worth is not from living a prefect life. Neither is our worth in how much we make or the size of our house, but by how we relate with the Lord. Are we following Him and becoming more like Him? Our goal is to be like Jesus and let Him live through us. As John says in I John 4:16, “We come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them.” Let us not miss out on being a person of significance who lives in God’s love and lets it flow through him to others.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you your worth in Him and celebrate your life!
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

March 23, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to joy and peace, no matter what your circumstances are. May you have a great weekend and time to be renewed.
I plan to bake and clean today, and we hear more snow is predicted tomorrow.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We probably all have friends going through hard times and maybe dark times include us right now. But we can take heart, for the Lord is greater than anything we face and can bring us peace, even in the midst of whatever we are going through. I like what Debbie McDaniel wrote about how beauty and greatness can result from our darkness. She quotes Isaiah I:3, “He has sent me, to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of tears of grief, and clothes of praise instead of spirit of weakness.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful?! We won’t always have ashes for they will fall away but His glory will shine through the very places we are struggling with now.

The Lord will not only give us peace in our struggles but also comfort and deep joy. Sounds unbelievable but many of you have maybe experienced it, and it is hard to explain to others. The Message translation says that he cares for the needs of all who mourn and gives them bouquets of roses instead of ashes and messages of joy instead of news of doom, and a praising heart instead of languid spirit. The Lord is right there with us through it all and we can experience His peace and even a deep joy. Debbie writes a prayer that you may want to pray for yourself or send to a loved one who is going through a dark time.

Dear God,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In this season of Lent we’re reminded of our own difficulties and struggles. Sometimes the way has seemed too dark. Sometimes we feel like our lives have been marked by such grief and pain, we don’t see how our circumstances can ever change. But in the midst of our weakness, we ask that you would be strong on our behalf. Lord, rise up within us, let your Spirit shine out of every broken place we’ve walked through. Allow your power to be manifest through our own weakness, so that others will recognize it is You who is at work on our behalf. We ask that you would trade the ashes of our lives for the beauty of your Presence. Trade our mourning and grief for the oil of joy and gladness from your Spirit. Trade our despair for hope and praise. We choose to give you thanks today and believe that this season of darkness will fade away. Thank you that you are with us in whatever we face, and that you are greater than this trial. We know and recognize that you are Sovereign, we thank you for the victory that is ours because of Christ Jesus, and we are confident that you have good still in store for our future. We thank you that you are at work right now, trading our ashes for greater beauty. We praise you, for you make all things new.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Challenge for today: Trade the ashes of your life for the beauty of His presence.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

March 22, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful weekend even if you are getting hit with snow. Our landscape is all white and beautiful this morning.
Today is party day here so Al and I will be going to Costco to get the cake this morning and then celebrating this afternoon. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I have been in the book of Romans and reading it in more than one translation and it seems to speak to me in new ways. Paul says lots about cultivating our relationship with the Lord. He also tells us not to impose on others what we believe and how we view things, but to live a life of consistency. How we live speaks volumes without even words.

He reminds us in Romans 15 to step up to the plate in lend a hand to others who are weak and to ask how we can help. Other times we may not be the strong person but one who needs help ourselves. Jesus didn’t avoid those who were sick, downcast and troubled but responded as His Father directed. We are to reach out as well and welcome others into our hearts and lives and express God’s love to them. And in Romans 15:6 (Message) Paul says that when we do this, “Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!”

I see a lot of that happening where we live as there are people with health needs who feel weak and not able to do everything. But then along comes another person who steps in and meets the need, like taking them to their doctor’s appointment, or staying with them at the hospital, making a meal for them, putting a card on their door, praying for them etc. That’s what we are meant to do, and it means stepping up to the plate when it is not always convenient. We are all surrounded by people with needs, and some needs may be hidden so we need to ask the Lord to open our eyes and to respond as He directs us. Let us be like the Good Samaritan that stopped by the injured man on the road and dressed his wounds and saw to his needs.

Challenge for today: Open your eyes to the needs around you and respond as the Spirit directs you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

March 21, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is lived in freedom. Al will soon be going to men’s group, and I plan to make bake bread; Ann may come, and later we have Bible Study. No snow yet but we hear it is coming on Sunday.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 When we know the Lord, our life is changed from one of imprisoned to self to a life of freedom in the Lord. Of course, our culture tells us freedom is doing whatever we want and whenever we please. But we know that it is not so. We read in Romans 6, “You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer ourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourself to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in His freedom”

  Eugene Peterson shares how when Paul writes about freedom, he doesn’t give us a formula; instead, he gives his own story for us to think on. Paul tells of his former life when he persecuted Christians in his zealousness but then how God revealed Himself and set him apart before his birth for His purposes. Instead of Paul depending on his knowledge and all he has done, he came to experience God blessing him, saving him, and loving him. God was at the center and Paul’s part was to believe and obey. The same is true for us because we can’t be free by earning but by trusting the Lord and obeying Him. We simply respond as God touches our lives. And we all live it out differently, because of God’s grace in our individual lives. Paul was certainly much different than Peter, but each was used in a special way. Aren’t we glad we don’t all have to be a carbon copy of someone else, but that God sets us free to be who He made us to be. He uses even our past, so nothing is wasted as we are transformed to be more like Him.

We each have a work to do in life that is unique, that expresses God’s love. He had a plan for us before we were born. Even those parts of our lives that we regret or feel inferior, He can transform and use as an expression of His power and glory. Let us not resist His voice to our hearts that calls us to be free in Him and free to be the person He created us to be.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to work in you and change you to be what He has all the while planned, and then live daily for His glory.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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