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: May 2024 (Page 1 of 4)

May 31, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Today is party day here so we will be going to Costco for the cake and celebrating the May birthdays. Always a fun time and we feel blessed to live in a place where there are many gatherings and daily opportunities to share with others.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Recently we watched home movies and so many took place around our table in different parsonages or at our retreat house with family and various groups of young and old. As I look back, I am thankful for the energy and joy to host the groups. In those days, we had center pieces and used real dishes, cloth table linens and cloth napkins folded in napkin holders etc. It gave the sense that friends and neighbors were special, thought about. and cherished.
  But I recently read an article by Abby Turner Kuykendall who wrote of The Other Side of Hospitality which is a little harder for she writes about receiving hospitality and being served as well. In her words, “True hospitality involves something deeper, something beyond perfectly set tables and meticulously planned gatherings? What if it’s about opening our hearts to the natural ebb and flow of our season, recognizing that there are times for both serving and being served?” She is in the season of being served as she has a new baby and is a fulltime worker and is accepting help from her husband and others.                                                                                 We also need help in our lives at various times and must learn to accept being served as well. Think of examples in Scripture like Jesus who came to serve and even wash feet of his disciples but was also served by Mary and Martha and others. Receiving makes us more vulnerable and opens up space for a deeper and closer connection with others. We have only to go through hip surgery, death of a loved one etc. and it helps us become good receivers for a time with great appreciation of being served.                                                                                                                 Even though it may be more comfortable for us to be in the serving role, we need to be willing to receive. It may not be a meal, but it could be simply someone listening to us and hearing our heart. We will find that we become more deeply connected as we not only give out but receive.  As it says in Prov. 11:25, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Challenge for today: Embrace the season you are in if that changes, be ready to embrace it.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

May 30, 2024

Dear Ones,
May you wake today in the awareness of the closeness of the Lord’s presence. I had word yesterday that one of my friends lost her sister in the night. She had ovarian CA and was found in her bed and must have passed in her sleep. Do pray for her family as they make arrangements for her funeral etc. If I had a choice that is the way I would choose to die, to fall asleep and then wake in the Lord’s presence.  When we got home from Bible study last night, we also had a message that our daughter-in-law’s dad passed away. We know he is now with the Lord and no more pain, but we also know how much he will be missed. Prayers would also be appreciated for Andrea and her mom and the family.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
None of us knows what tomorrow may bring and many are fearful after watching the news as to what the future holds. Only the Lord knows! When we open our hearts to Him, we don’t have to worry but put our lives into His hands. Recently I woke with the song playing through my mind that Pastor Ira Stanphill wrote when he was going through a hard time after his wife died. He expresses hope even in his sorrow as he looks to the Lord. A few of the words are:

“I don’t know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Refrain: Many things about tomorrow,
 I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.”

We all go through hard times of sadness and mourning, and it is part of our healing, but let us not get stuck there for we need to let joy come into our lives again. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5

Where we live at Northern Lakes, many have lost their loved ones and grief is very real and huge adjustments result. I notice that others who have lost their mates, come along side of them, for they have known that darkness of grief but also have known that the Lord will walk beside them and hold their hand. He will shine His light of healing into their lives and one day joy will return. Whatever we go through now, let us be assured we don’t go through it alone, for the Lord will never leave us, but walk us through it.

Challenge for today: Give all your concerns and griefs to the Lord and thank Him that He holds you closely in His hand.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy


May 29, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of peace. Today I will be going to my exercise class (much needed since I missed walking yesterday and have had rich desserts), craft class, and Bible study.  After our company yesterday our grandson came, and he cleaned up the leftovers. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
When we come to know the Lord, we are traveling together with other believers on a road that leads us closer to the Lord and an eternity with Him and one another. We are going the same direction and have the same destination, so it is important that we get along and help each other along the way. I like to read scripture from more than one translation as it helps me see things, I may not otherwise be aware of. Today I was in Ephesians 4 in the Message translation, and it gives me a big picture of the Body of Christ traveling well together and hints as to how to get along on the journey.

  Because a person is a Christian doesn’t mean we will just naturally get along, but we may need to work at it; Paul gives some good pointers in Ephesians 4 as to how to stay unified. It made me think of our past mission teams to Mexico as we traveled many miles in the church van together, did ministry and then a long trip home again. We had to not focus on what we wanted but what was good for the whole. Some team members were easier to get along with and a few might have been challenging for the whole team. Paul tells us to have humility and “steadily pour ourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” He goes on to say we need to all grow up and keep in step with one another and be permeated with Oneness. He encourages us to use the gifts we were given and let God reproduce His character in us.

 Paul also warns us against lying to each other and to be truth tellers instead, saying what would help them. We are to be gentle and sensitive to one another and watch out for back biting. Yes, we may get angry with one another, but we aren’t to stay that way but quick to make amends. What Paul is telling the people is not just for them but also for us today, whether it be with others at church or our family members, to remember we are on the same team with an awesome destination. Let us not make it harder for them but use our gifts to encourage them. Who knows, they may be ushered into heaven first and will one day reach out to welcome us into our eternal glory.

Challenge for today: Travel in oneness on the journey and be humble and forgiving with others along the way.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 28, 2024

Dear Ones,
May you wake to a new awareness of the Lord’s presence working through you. Hope you had a wonderful Memorial extended weekend.
Today we are having company, and I made a very rich earthquake cake yesterday to serve. Emoji
As you read the devotional today, my question for you is: Was there a time when you saw someone close to you be changed so much that they seemed to be a new person and you knew it was the Lord’s work?!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How beautiful it is to see someone’s life being transformed by the Lord, and becoming new, almost unrecognizable! I had such an experience on Sunday as we went to our former church where we were members for several years before moving here to Baxter. For over 10 years I have prayed daily for the husband of a friend there who was not walking with the Lord and refused all invitations to attend church. He had health issues and many people prayed for him; the Lord not only has been healing him of his physical problems but spiritually healing him. I had heard that he had begun going to church and was hoping to see him and was wonderfully surprised to see how he had changed. When he walked through the church door, he was warm and welcoming, and we hugged and laughed. His whole countenance had changed, and he was now a man of peace, and joy was so evident in his life. It was so incredible and at the close of the service he stood up and told how the Lord had been with him through some recent medical problems and healed him and gave glory to the Lord. My heart just leaped for joy as I saw the miracle of his changed life.

It reminded me of II Cor. 518, “Therefore if any person is (ingrafted) in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold the fresh and new has come!” That was so true of the changed life I saw before me. He was not just reformed but he was made new. When any one of us comes to the Lord in faith, we are made fresh and new, and we no longer live for ourselves but live to please the Lord. It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past for it is forgiven and we are set free. When our heart is changed, it also shows up in our countenance, the way we live our life, and also in our works. It is not to bring glory to ourselves but glory to the Lord, out of His love for us.

Paul also said in Col 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Every day each of us should be growing and being built up in our faith and seeking to please the Lord. When we first come to know Himl it is only the beginning of a lifelong process of living our whole lives for Him.

Challenge for today: Continually open your heart to the Holy Spirit that you may be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

The Church in a Negative World

Aaron Renn has written an important book, “Life in the Negative World.” It is meant for evangelicals learning to live in a culture where a biblical faith is seen as a negative influence on others. In a recent blog, Renn noted “About a quarter of the book is an updated and expanded version of my diagnosis of what’s happening in evangelicalism and its relationship with society at large.  But three quarters of it is about how evangelicals should start living in this new era I’ve called the ‘Negative World.'” 

I have been following Renn on line for sometime.  I regard his insights  worthy of serious reflection and discussion.  In his blog he wanted to “highlight four themes that you can use as a guide in thinking through the ideas I share in the book.”  I believe they are worthy of our attention as men who want to follow Jesus.

First, a posture of exploration.  In the world as well as in the church we are in a time of rapid change and uncertainty. We all are experiencing significant change.  Renn believe this should lead us into “adopting a posture of exploration.”  “Today’s world is much more like a ‘zero to one’ startup.  We are in the unknown territory and have to get more comfortable walking by faith rather than sight.”  Using the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the promised land as an example, he suggests, “They had known only the wilderness, which was their comfort zone.   Now they had to venture into the unknown, following the ark because they had not been this way before.” 

Second, increased focus on being a counterculture.  Renn believes, “the evangelical church needs to spend much more time self-consciously and intentionally stewarding the strength and health of its own community.”  He sees evangelicalism as internally weak.  He suggests there should be more of an internal focus rather then that of an external focus.  The image of building an ark to survive the flood would be a good image for the church to adopt

Thirdly, a minority mindset.  We are no longer a “moral majority” representing the cultural mainstream of America. “This means,” according to Renn, “that evangelicals need to learn to act like other minorities have always acted. We have to create our own institutions and practices that demarcate and sustain community life and be less reliant on the mainstream institutions of society.  Evangelicals do not need to take responsibility for or invest in mainstream institutions.” 

Fourthly, raising the bar on church.  When Christianity was the de facto national religion, most people were members and attended.  The bar was rather low; discipleship and belief were seen as artificial barriers to membership.  But Renn maintains, “As evangelicalism becomes more of a minority faith that requires an unpopular choice to embrace, this gives evangelical churches the opportunity to raise the bar for what they expect out of their members.  Raising this bar will be crucial to having stronger churches as well.”

These four suggestions can work effectively for any gathering of men, wanting to combat the effects of the shrill voices regarding toxic masculinity.  Men, the culture is not going to give us the guidance, encouragement and support to be a godly man.  We must be more creative in building communities of men who are about to build an ark, so as to rescue especially younger men.  We will need to accept the status of minorities, while calling men to whole hearted allegiance to the Lord.  I am thankful for the godly men in my life.  Jesus said, “Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self” (Mark 8:36 – Message).



May 27, 2024

Dear Ones,
A blessed Memorial Day as we honor those who gave their lives for our country.
We had a fun weekend at the lake and enjoyed being with family, a picnic/birthday party, games,
and time to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Beginnings are important but we need the Lord’s help to finish well also. We can start out in a ministry and be doing great and then go off on our own and suffer disgrace. We forget who is giving us the power to do the work God has called us into. Saul was such a person. He was anointed by Samual to be king and the people responded with enthusiastic approval. He was very tall and handsome and a good general winning victories over their enemies. But along the way he began to disobey God and didn’t fully carry out His instructions; like the time he was told to destroy completely the Amalekites and all their possessions, but he allowed the people to keep back animals for sacrifices. To obey only halfway is disobedience and it seems to lead to more disobedience and a bad ending.

Eugene Peterson writes how David was anointed to be king while Saul reigned, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that he actually ruled and reigned as king. In the meantime, he learned how to rule with a servant’s heart How about us? What does our work reveal about us? Does it express our values and convictions, or do we do we hide behind our role and present ourselves as how we think others want to see us in a certain way? Some employees are shocked when they see their boss at a Christian rally as they had no idea that they knew the Lord. That doesn’t say much for their everyday behavior at work. Peterson writes, “The place in which God’s purposes are developed in our lives is a workplace in which we learn how to do king work.”  The way we do our work is equally important as the work we actually do. That includes being the CEO or being a housewife.

If we are to finish well in life, we need to be aware of the Lord in whatever work we do and do it for His glory. Our work should stand as a witness to others as to who reigns in our lives. Each day God desires that our work will develop our character and express His love. As it says in Isaiah 60:1 (Amplified), “Arise (from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life)! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

Challenge for today: Let His light shine through all you do, and may you finish well, and all glory to Him.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

May 25, 224

Dear Ones,
May you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Hoping for a sunny day as we are going to the cabin to enjoy time with family, having a wiener roast, games, and going to our former church tomorrow.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What a surprise when I looked out our bedroom window after being gone 10 days. Before we left, I noticed two spindly leafless trees on the right that had several barren branches that drooped down towards the ground and looked dead. The morning after we got back, I couldn’t believe my eyes as both trees were full of green leaves that reached high and also to those low branches. Who would have imagined that those trees had so much life in them.

When we know the Lord things can change in our lives. In many instances where there has been no fruit, we are noticeably transformed as we receive God’s love pouring into our hearts. It is not wise to give up hope not only ourselves but others also. It may be hard to even picture a grumpy, negative person who is transformed into a person of joy, but the Lord is in the business of changing hearts and fruit results! We all can change but not by gritting our teeth and trying harder but by surrendering to the Lord and letting Him make us new. As Jesus said in John 15:16, You didn’t choose me, remember, I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, He gives you.” Let us be fruit bearing and may it show up in loving actions and spiritual growth in our lives etc.

God values each one of us and He takes the broken parts of our lives and makes us new. We need to give him our fears, our failures, our wounds so that life-changing things can begin to happen. We all have been wounded but we also have wounded others, so the key is forgiveness. We are called to forgive others, even as the Lord has forgiven us. If we live close to the center of God’s love, we will discover who God made us to be and desire to give up our selfish ways to find our true life and fruitfulness in the Lord.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to make you into His fruit bearer for His glory!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

May 24, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a sense of God’s presence with you. Rain is predicted today but we are hopeful for no rain the rest of this holiday weekend. I plan to bake and clean today as tomorrow we are going to the cabin for a couple days and have a picnic with relatives etc.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Soon we are going to the wedding of our first granddaughter who is very excited to marry the young man who she loves deeply and has gone with for 6 years. They know each other well and our son has given them their pre-marital counseling and will be officiating at the wedding. We are glad they are choosing to get married for marriage sustains their love, more than just good feelings and intentions.

In marriage each couple forms their own routines and rituals. Neither person will be ecstatic and interesting and beautiful all the time, but they find their own rhythm. Marriage will sustain the relationship when they are tired and a bit grouchy, for they will live out their commitment to God and to love one another for better or worse, for rich or poor and til death parts them.

When Al and I first got married we could hardly bear to be apart to go to our individual jobs; but as time went on life becomes more routine and we have those close times together, but we also have spaces to be apart. We both desire to keep growing in our love for the Lord and our commitment and love for each other. That can speak volumes through our actions. While at a previous hotel we found out after we checked in and got the last room, that they were renovating the hotel. I was especially disappointed as I like to retreat, and the desk had no light along with the whole side of the room. That meant as it got dark, I could no longer read and study and write at the desk. Al was thinking of me for when he came back from his walk, he came in the door joyfully carrying a big lamp that he was able to get from the manager. Love willingly goes out of its way for one another and marriage keeps us faithful to the commitment. Marriage gives us the extra push to love in all seasons and causes it to deepen in appreciation of the longevity of the relationship. Though our culture acts like marriage is on the outs and fragile, it is a deepening relationship of mutual love.

Challenge for the day: Speak encouragement into the marriages of those nearest you.
Blessings on your holiday weekend and prayers and love, Judy

May 23, 2024

Dear Ones,
We are home now from our trip to N.C. and thank you again for your prayers. We had a wonderful time and the Lord protected us (tornadoes missed us) and we traveled many miles. I am sending this early as our daughter-in-law’s dad is being transported right now to a Hospice House so her mom can be with him until the end. The hospice nurse feels he is very close to his “Homecoming” and he is ready to be at home with the Lord. We visited with her mom while we were in N.C. but didn’t realize her dad may soon be leaving his earthly home. Please pray for the whole family.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Prayer is one of the most important things we can do and not just prayer for ourselves and our families but for our neighbors and friends and pastors but government officials and whoever the Lord puts on our hearts. We may never fully know the power of our prayers, even to save lives. Such was the case I read about in Dutch Sheets book, Watchman Prayer, concerning Anna Schrader. She was praying and felt like the Lord was saying that Gorden Lindsay, who was preparing to go on a world trip, was in great danger. She warned him to look to the right when he got to Hong Kong, and also asked others to also pray. When Gordon got to Tokyo the man who was to take him on to Hiroshima, had to cancel and Gorden didn’t know what to do. He asked the Lord and felt led to go to his next destination instead and got the first plane. He remembered to look to the right and saw a big Canadian plane and many people boarding. The next day the newspaper was put under his door, and he read that the Canadian plane he had seen crashed and all the people were killed. The following day he got another paper and discovered that the plane he would have been on if he had gone to Hiroshima also crashed and killed 124 people, for it exploded over Mt. Fuji. How important the prayers of those praying for Gordon were and saved his life.

As we pray and reach out to win others, a good place to start is in our own neighborhoods. It may simply begin with inviting them for coffee and getting acquainted and then maybe even a neighborhood outdoor picnic. We can ask the Lord how we might pray for them and then follow with acts of kindness as led. If they commit their lives to the Lord, we can follow up on them and help them grow by having a Bible study etc. Our church once had a period of several weeks where we prayed for unsaved neighbors and then invited them to a service where the way of salvation was made clear. We prayed for our unchurched neighbor and yet were so wonderfully surprised when she accepted the invitation, which we knew was only a result of prayers.

Of course, we don’t need to stop by just praying for our neighbors but gather with others to pray for our churches, our cities, and our nation. Jesus told us in Luke 18:1 to pray always and not lose heart.”

Challenge for today: Pray for those in your neighborhood or co-workers and look for opportunities to share the Lord.
Blessings on your evening and day tomorrow. Prayers and Love, Judy

May 22, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine! We will soon be leaving Coralville, Iowa today and heading home. We were glad to get here yesterday as there were strong winds and tornado warnings. I had a wonderful swim in the indoor/outdoor pool and some time to retreat. Thank you for your prayers for our time away.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Why are we surprised when difficulties arises when we are serving the Lord?  The first question that usually comes to my mind is, what am I doing wrong to cause this trouble? But when we encounter opposition, it may well be, not that we goofed up, but rather the enemy sees the progress being made for God’s kingdom and wants to sabotage it. In fact, we can expect it. Jesus told us it would happen, and we would be attacked and hated for His sake but also reminds us of His power to overcome. In John 16:33 He said, “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

I am reading in the book of Ezra, how Zerubbabel led over 42,000 Israelites back to their land after being exiled in Babylon for 70 years. It was God’s doing that the Persian King Cyrus, gave volunteers permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. They no more got started with the foundation laid and the altar built and sacrifices offered, when they had to face opposition that hindered the building for over 16 years. Zerubbabel was discouraged and the people fearful; but finally, when their hearts received encouragement by words from the prophets and leaders and reading of the scriptures, they were able to finish the temple and worship there again.

We will have those that oppose us and try to sidetrack us from doing God’s will and we may get discouraged. We should not be surprised or feel hopeless, but rather seek God’s help and move ahead. God may use others to come along side of us, and encourage us and pray for us so that we can complete the work given to us. Let us not be slowed down or to give up but to place everything in God’s hands and go in His power, not ours.

Challenge for today: When doing God’s will, don’t weaken by words from the opposition, but feed on God’s word and get prayer to complete God’s task through you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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