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: April 2024 (Page 1 of 4)

April 30, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a blessed day! I am celebrating as I got my computer back yesterday afternoon after 2 weeks. Sorry for those of you who did not receive the daily devotions as I was only able to put them on the website from Al’s computer. Today Al and I are going out with friends and trying a new Italian place for an overdue birthday lunch. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Last Sunday we were blessed to have Teen Challenge at our church on Sunday morning and to hear the testimonies and singing was very moving. The leader’s wife shared what their life was like when her husband relapsed a few times and although it was very difficult, she never gave up on him. Now they are doing well and have a little daughter etc. Probably for most of the men, they had family and others that prayed for them and didn’t give up.
I had just read before going to church of how to pray for prodigals and so many examples of true stories of prayer that changed the lives of their loved ones. I’m sure we all have those who are away from the Lord, and we feel helpless and desire to know how to pray and intercede for them. Quin Sherrer wrote the book, “Good Night, Lord” and relates how she was led to pray over her son Keith. He had drifted far from the Lord, and she was veery concerned about his spiritual condition. She began by asking the Lord to forgive her for the many mistakes she made in raising him. Then she started saying aloud scriptures like Prov. 11:21, “The seed of the righteous will be delivered”, and Isaiah 54:13, “All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” She repeated over and over again the different scriptures she had been given. After more than an hour walking on the beach she picked up a small brown shell being tossed in the waves and felt the Lord saying to trust Him to polish and perfect her son. Quin cleaned the shell and put it in her kitchen and often said, “Lord, you promised!” Keith went to college and no change seen in him for some time. Then one night he called and asked her and his dad to forgive him and that was the beginning of his coming back to the Lord. He finished college and went to Bible School and served the Lord for 7 years with Youth with a Mission organization (YWAM) etc. He now has a wife, and two daughters and Quin’s shell still sits in her kitchen where she gives praise to the Lord for the answered prayers.
Her words to all of us are to pray for our children and be specific, pray Scriptures aloud, write down prayers, pray in accordance with God’s will, and pray for our children’s future.
As I talked to the men from Teen Challenge, I was so aware that they also must have had many praying or them to get set free and to know the Lord. May each of us store up scriptures like Prov.13:20, Heb.8:10 and Gal.4:1 that Christ would be formed in the lives of our children.
Challenge for today Ask the Lord for a specific scripture to pray over a prodigal that you may know.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

The Desecration of Man

To mark the 80th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man, Carl R. Truman wrote an article for First Things entitled The Desecration of Man.  Lewis wrote about a world losing its sense of what it means to be human: “Modernity was abolishing man.  It represented nothing more than a crisis of anthropology,”  The abolition of man as Lewis describes it took place against the background of “its disenchantment and its accelerating liquidity.” Modernity has pushed religion and the supernatural to the margins of life, stripping our lives of mystery. With liquidity, life is in endless flux with no solid place to stand.

Citing this, Truman proposes an additional category: the desecration of man.  “We have become cogs in the machine,” notes Truman “[and] it is because we built the machine.”  To make his point, Truman suggests that in the desecration of man, we need look no further than changing attitudes about sex and death. We are created in God’s image with a body.  The tendency of modern culture is to deny significance to the body.  “We think of ourselves,” points out Truman, “as primarily psychological beings, a notion reinforced by the frictionless, disembodied interactions of our online world, where we experience a battle against the authority of the body, specifically its sexual nature and its morality.”

Desecration helps us to understand the destruction of human exceptionalism and limitation as grounded in the image of God.  “Desecration is an assertion of power, reinforcing the greatest myth our culture, which likes to believe that we are the godlike masters of this universe.”  There can be an exhilaration in thinking we are gods.  “And there is no more dramatic way of being God than in waging a holy war against the God-given nature of embodied human personhood.”

With this desecration we are “divorced from the image of God and from personhood, [treating] the body is animate Play-Doh at best.”  We now use our humanity to dehumanize ourselves.  Augusto Del Noce calls this “a total revolution.”  Truman maintains our fundamental problem today “is not that man is disenchanted or turned into liquid, but that he has been desecrated, in part by the impersonal forces of modernity, but largely by his own hand.”  

Truman’s answer, first and foremost, is a theologically-informed liturgical one: “consecration.”  “The modern crisis of anthropology must find its solution among religious communities, worshiping in local contexts.  For it is in worship that human beings are brought into the presence of the God, in whose image they are made and who grounds their common human nature.”  Since this blog is intended for men, I take this to mean that men need to take the lead in living a life surrendered to God in word and deed, pointed to our heavenly father, in whose image we’ve been created. But we cannot do this alone.  We need to be in communities of faith, where Father, Son and Holy Spirit are worshipped.

Truman reminds us of the radical way the early Church affected Roman culture.  “Her vision of human beings as persons rather than objects and as possessing innate value was grounded in the notion that all were made in the image of God.”  This is our challenge today.  “The restoration of personhood and dignity to men and women requires the worshiping community of the church to grasp the greatness of the God in whose image we are made.”

The challenge for men: 1) Surrender to the Triune God of grace, 2) Adopting a scriptural worldview (II Cor. 10:4-5; Romans 1:16-32), 3) Involvement in a believing community and 4) Living intentionally as a follower of Jesus (I Peter 2:20-21).   






April 29, 2024

Dear Ones,

Hope you had a peace-filled weekend! We did lots of praying as our granddaughter and son’s family were in the areas of the tornadoes. All safe, PTL!  This morning Al and I have our annual physicals at 8 a.m.   I am hoping that my computer comes by tonight and if so, I will be celebrating!

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Maybe we have all gone through times when life seems routine and the same old, same old days. We go along not aware of how precious each day is until something gets our attention. It could be the Doctor’s diagnosis of our liver cancer or a death in the family, or a tornado that damaged our house; and suddenly we wish we could step back into a normal routine day. Why didn’t we appreciate it and live in the present moment, being mindful of it? But now we are in a different place, and we can ask instead, what can this intrusion in my life teach me? What is God trying to say to me and have me learn?

We should all live life with our eyes open to the present moment, seeing what is before us. Otherwise, the days pass and we miss what the Lord has for us. We need to quiet down and savor the moment we are in and take time to nurture our soul. Let’s not rush through the day without the awareness of the Lord with us and directing us but living life fully. That may include being transparent, laughing at ourselves, seeing others as our teachers to learn more about ourselves, and being open to change.
In I Peter 5:6 Peter says, “Be content with who you are, don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God’ He is most careful with you.” Let us live with contentment and humility and carefreeness, being in the present moment and thankful for what is right now.

Challenge for today: Embrace whatever comes your way today and give thanks to the Lord.

Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

April 27, 2024

Dear Ones,

Happy weekend! Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a little sunshine too! We have had rain here but it is needed, so no complaints. Today I am going to do some food prep, clean the apartment, and get the rest of our winter things put away.

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I can see why the Lord told us to be like little children as thy are trusting and don’t put up a front or play a role but are transparent. They are just themselves and spontaneous and what you see is what you get. How many adults can say that? So many spend a lifetime focused on their persona and reputation and don’t know their true self.

What would people say about us? Would they say we are merciful, warm hearted, patient? Or would it be that we are judgmental, concerned for ourselves and impatient” But whatever is said about us now, we don’t have to stay in that place but can go on to transformation. Much like children who are excited to grow, we are not to just go along on automatic pilot but be bursting forth into new growth. Just living is not enough for we can become more open like children and grow!

Hopefully we can enjoy the simple things in life without feeling we continually need something more to be happy. Think of how children who are satisfied and having fun can lose all sense of time as they live in the moment. They are not locked into doing things a certain way, but excited to do what is new. They don’t have to own something to enjoy it but can appreciate their buddy’s fort out in the woods or climbing on their friend’s jungle gym. Most children don’t hide their emotions, and neither should we. That doesn’t mean we need to tell others off, but admit that we are angry, take a breath and be willing to let it go. Can we get to the place where we can laugh at ourselves, admit our weak areas, and then ask God’s help to change and grow? We have so much to learn from children!

Paul says in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.”

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you see yourself as He sees you, His beloved child.

Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


April 26, 2024

Dear Ones,

Happy Weekend to you! Today is Birthday party day here so we will be busy going to Costco to get the cake and getting set up and serving. Two others help so makes for fun as we work together.

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Is it our desire to seek the Lord daily and to do His will? We are told in I John2:15-17, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”

Maybe today we are not so hung up on wanting more worldly treasures, but we want the applause of others. We want to be well thought of and we can end up doing what we feel pressured by others to do, rather than what God is directing us to carry out. We can see this desire to please others carried out to extreme in people who are worn to a frazzle as they keep saying yes to the expectations of what others want. They don’t want to disappoint so they rarely say no, and what God has for them is set aside. They may get to feel resentful, for they are trying always to make others happy, and they aren’t left with time to do what they feel God wants.

But if we want peace with the Lord, we need to put His will first. That may mean saying no to others at times and letting people get over their disappointment. I respect people who say they don’t feel God is calling them to do something; although it may be something good, they feel it is not in His will or not in His timing. We don’t always have to give them a reason but simply say No. There are some things I don’t take time to participate in here where we live, or I wouldn’t have time left to write.  You may have family issues that need attention and adding more to your schedule would not be wise and so you say no. Let us be led by the Spirit and not by the dictates of others.
Challenge for today: Seek God’s will first and say NO when necessary to others and be at peace.

Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

April 25, 2025

Dear Ones,

Hope you have a day of trusting and resting in God’s promises and speaking truth! Al is going to men’s group this morning and I am going to bake, get my hair cut and later we have Bible study. I am hoping soon that I will be getting my computer back again as they texted me that the part had come for it!

Devotions from Judy’s heart

When I was reading David’s words found in Psalm 12, it sounded just like people today. “Help, O Lord. No godly person is left. Faithful people have vanished from among Adam’s descendants! They speak with flattering lips. They say one thing but mean another.” David is asking God where are the godly people, the ones who speak truth and are faithful? It seems like they’ve disappeared, and as so many people today, they just lie, lie, lie. They speak flattery with boastful and deceitful tongues and may even brag that they can talk people into anything if they make it sound enticing enough. Many say one thing, but it is not what they really mean.

David feels like he is alone as his friends are gone and he doesn’t know who he can trust to speak truthfully. He was sick of hearing empty words! So many people today are double hearted saying one thing today and the opposite another day.

But David goes on to say in verse 6 that he can trust God’s promises and they are true and pure like silver refined in a furnace, purified 7 times. This process of refining burns away all the imperfections and impurities. God’s Word is truth; it is pure. God will keep His Word always. David asks God to protect and keep him safe from the lies of the wicked.

May the Lord help us to be faithful and speak truth and not be double minded. As a pastor’s wife there were times people spoke untruths about someone else, but I didn’t take it at face value. One such time it was against a close friend of mine, and I immediately knew this person was lying. I checked with my friend and there was no truth in what the person had related of her. Of course, it is especially hard when we are lied against and cannot defend ourselves, but we need to leave that with the Lord too. He is our defender.
Let us all strive to be people of integrity who say what we mean and mean what we say.

Challenge for today:  Be a person that others can trust and know that we speak truth from our heart.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

April 24, 2024

Dear Ones,

Hope you have a day full of peace and hope. A busy day as I plan  to bake cookies, go to Aldi’s, Exercise class, having grandson for lunch, and going to craft time and Bible study.

Devotions from Judy’s heart

There are many myths that circulate today about marriage and many of them are negative and so untrue. I recently read a review by Katelyn Walls Shelton from Yale Divinity School, who interviewed Brad Wilcox, the professor of sociology who wrote, “Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families and Save Civilization.” Our culture tries to convey that making money and living for yourself and staying single without kids is a recipe for happiness, but they are so wrong, and statistics verify this. In fact, couples who know the Lord are less likely to end up divorced and are happier in their marriages and more likely to have children who are flourishing.

Wilcox said faith is the biggest factor and women who attend church are 50% less likely to divorce and men who are religious are more likely to protect their marriages and refrain from pornography and be attentive to their wives. Even though the secular media will say that progress is made in “family diversity”, but truth be told, children thrive in marriages between their biological parents. The family is best when it is a display of Christ and His church that is faithful, loving and long-suffering. (Eph. 5)

I want to share 5 pillars that Wilcox gives to support marriages that are successful. They are, “communion between the couple that emphasizes oneness over the individual, prioritization for childrearing and family activities, stubborn commitment to fidelity and the longevity of the marriage, intermingles finances and co-ownership of assets and participation in communities (like the church) that affirms and supports marriage.” Isn’t that just what the church teaches, and the data is encouraging.

Let us not fall for all the misinformation but know that faithful Christian marriages are happier and stronger and produce more children who are successful and thrive.

Challenge for today: Work at the 5 pillars in our own marriage and encourage other couples in applying God’s principles.                                                                                     Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

April 23, 2024

Dear Ones,

Hope you wake to a day of spontaneity! We are having friends over today and I made a banana split dessert that we already sampled!

Devotions from Judy’s heart

Don’t we all want to live freely and that our life would speak volumes of Whom we serve. So wonderful when we know who we are and live transparently, not trying to be someone else but letting our light shine for the Lord. I smiled today when I read author Robert Wicks, description of a Lutheran Pastor whom he went to lunch with and asked the pastor to pray before they ate. In his words about the pastor: “He smiled, nodded, and then proceeded to belt out a grace before meals in such a booming voice that everyone stopped talking and put down their knives and forks. I even think that a couple in the corner who were planning on having an affair at that point changed their minds!) He obviously knew who he was and lives out of the knowledge without a concern for image or success.”

I hope we all want to be free and spontaneous and live transparent lives, enjoying who God made us to be in an open way. Maybe we struggle with self-consciousness and are always trying to read how we are coming across to others. Even if they don’t understand where we come from, we don’t need to be apologetic but enjoy the freedom, seeing ourselves as the Lord sees us. Recently we had a new couple come to our church but since we sit on the far right, I had never seen them before. But Rose showed up for the baby shower we had at church and sat next to me at our table while we ate. She was a delight and full of laughter and fun and just herself. Even though we had never met before, I felt like I had always known her. I told my husband about her as I was impressed at how free she was, and I described her to him since he is a greeter. So, the next day when she came to church, he met her by the door and greeted her by saying, “Welcome Rose!” She had no idea how he knew her name and asked who he was etc. We had coffee with her after the service and she said in a joshing way that she wondered if the Holy Spirit had revealed to him her name! Lots more laughter and sharing of her spiritual journey and others said they wished they had sat at our fun table!

When we accept who God made us to be, it has a way of prompting others to walk in freedom too. May we show gratitude for His workmanship in us and accept others also where they are at. As Paul said in Eph. 2:10, “God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that He has prepared for us to do.

Challenge for today: Share with a friend how you see God’s workmanship in them.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

God’s “Strange Work”

In Isaiah 29:1-16 we find a recurring theme in the prophet’s message to the people of Jerusalem: If there is any hope for the nation, it will be after God’s judgment on the nation.  However, the popular narrative perpetuated by the religious leaders of the day was different.  The people as a whole, came to believed, since they were God’s chosen ones, they would be spared God’s judgment.  For them, hope meant avoiding judgment.  But as John Oswalt explains, “To all of this Isaiah said a resounding no.  The promises of God would only be realized through fire.” 

In Isaiah 29, the prophet declares God will both punish and save Jerusalem, even though the people in their hypocrisy tried to control God through false worship. This is relevant in our day, since so little thought is given to God’s judgment on our nation. But it is imperative for the church in America to realize that hope for any kind of revival would come after judgment.  For the church to have hope for the future even while experiencing God’s judgment is a message believers in our nation need to grasp as we witness the darkness slowly descending upon our nation.  There is light after the darkness.    

Isaiah refers to Jerusalem as “Ariel” (29:1-2, 7).   Ariel means “an altar hearth,” which is “the flat surface of the altar on which a fire was lit to consume the sacrifices” (Webb/Isaiah).  Ariel alludes to Jerusalem as the nation’s religious center, but the word used by Isaiah has terrible barb to it.  Ariel “foreshadows the judgment that the Lord is going to bring on the city … the Lord is going to light another kind of fire in Jerusalem, the fire of his judgment, and when he does so the entire city will be like a vast blazing altar hearth … Jerusalem was heading for flaming judgment because it was on a collision course with the Lord.” (Webb/Isaiah).  When judgment comes, the humbled and frightened people of the city would barely be able to speak (29:4).

In verses 5-8, Isaiah pictures Jerusalem surrounded by foreign armies. The Lord, however, would come like a powerful storm and sweep away the invaders.  While the invaders anticipated victory, they would suffer a humiliating defeat.  “They would be like a hungry and thirsty man who thinks he is eating and drinking, only to wake up and realize that it was just a dream.  This prophecy anticipates the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.” (Chisholm/Prophets).

In verses 9-16, the prophet denounces the religious insensitivities of the people.  He depicts them as blind, drunk, and asleep (vv. 9-10).  Isaiah’s prophetic vision remained like a sealed scroll, not able to be read.  Yet the people maintained a semblance of religion. Their worship was meaningless ritual devoid of devotion to the Lord. 

For this reason God would wake them up by doing amazing things (v. 14).  The people thought they could hide their evil plans from God. Isaiah shows how perverted their behavior was, comparing the people to pottery denying  the potter, who had created it.  The people would discover how ridiculous this attitude was.  “Though his ‘strange work’ (28:21) of purifying  judgment (29:21-22), God would demonstrate his sovereignty over the nation (28:14-29).  Then he would transform the nation’s spiritual condition,  demonstrating that true security can be found only in him (29:17-24)” (Chisholm/Prophets).   

This is an alert with significant spiritual themes for men to consider in our day.  These include: 1) Judgment comes before hope,  2) God will deal with evil, 3) Be alert to falling asleep spiritually (deep sleep v. 10),  4) We can’t hide our sin,  5) Be alert to the wonders of God’s work, and 6) Don’t allow your spirituality to become rote.

April 22, 2024

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. We are enjoying our walk on the Paul Bunyan trail, and it seems like everyone was out walking yesterday. Today I am going to make a new dessert and go to my exercise class. etc.                                                                                                                   Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   We all go through hard times of suffering and who endured more than Job. He lost everything including his family, livestock, servants, health, reputation, wealth etc. and yet he passed the test and did not renounce his faith in God. Even though everything was taken from him, he still had God! As we know, later in his story, everything was restored but what can we learn for it? How do we face suffering and go through those hard times when things don’t even make sense to us? What is our response?                                                                                                            From scripture we are told we will go through times of trial and testing, and just because we know the Lord doesn’t give us a free pass. But we can glean good from our trials if we look to the Lord in them and we can grow and become stronger in our faith. I have spent quite a bit of time in Job, and I also remember going with Al to a class at Fuller Seminary on Job and I think we can learn much from him. If you are going through a big trial right now you may also be asking God, why is this happening to me? It doesn’t mean you have committed a grievous sin and God is punishing you; in fact, God may be working on your behalf right now. Like Job who answered his wife when she wanted him to renounce God (Job 2:10), “We take the good days from God—why not the bad days?” We get both and what do we learn from them?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     One thing we learn is patience as we may not be able to get out of the situation. We are in it as long as the Lord says. We may have to make a choice at times if we are going to let our heart get hardened or if we are going to endure with His grace. We may find if we don’t learn what He is trying to teach us, there may be another lesson down the line. What we are going through could be preparation for something bigger God has for us, and He is preparing us now. We also get understanding of what others are going through in their hard circumstances and have empathy, not like Job’s friends who made accusations of him. We may gain understanding more of what Jesus also went through for us. The bottom line is that God is enough, no matter what we suffer. We are here on earth such a short time and all of us, like Job said, will go through good days and bad days, but He is with us.

Challenge for today: Share with someone who is going through a hard time what you learned from a situation God took you through.

Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

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