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.

Category: Sister Judy (Page 1 of 143)

October 16, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this weekend and all the fall colors. The temperature is cooler but so nice to see the sun again.  Soon I must get busy and get out our winter clothes. This morning I am getting ready for a special friend coming shortly and can’t wait! Emoji 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Are we prepared for Jesus coming again? Are we eagerly waiting and readying ourselves? Each day we are a day closer to His coming, whether it be by His Second Coming or whether it is our time and He takes us home to be with Him forever.
As I write this I am very excited as I got a call last night from a dear sister in the Lord who is coming today. I haven’t seen her for some time and although we e-mail frequently, it’s nothing like seeing her in person. She is driving with her nieces all the way from Des Moines, IO to Baxter, MN ! She doesn’t know the exact time they will arrive but I want to be home and ready with table set to dine together and have sweet fellowship.
It makes me aware of how we need to be spiritually getting ready for the Lord’s coming. We begin by opening our hearts each day to have fellowship with Him, reading the Word, listening to His voice, and making room in our schedules for doing what He asks of us.
We must guard against growing lukewarm and getting so busy with other things that our desire becomes no longer for Him. Every day the Lord comes knocking as it says in Rev. 3:20 (NRSV), “Listen, I’m standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” He doesn’t force His way but waits for us.  Will we respond with anticipation and joy and quickly open the door? If we do, He comes in and fills our empty places with a beautiful fragrance. He brings healing and wholeness to us and fills us with His love.
Let us not hold back and ignore the ways the Lord comes knocking, but open wide to Him with a receptive heart. Who knows, if today is the day He comes again or if it is our last day on earth?
Challenge for today: Tell the Lord He is welcome in the home of your heart and open wide to Him. 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

October 15, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! It seems more like fall now with the crisp temperatures. This morning I cleaned our apartment and took a friend to the Dollar Store to start buying things for Operation Christmas. This afternoon I am going shopping with Al as we got only as far as Culver’s yesterday!Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It’s easy to quit when the going gets rough, but it takes courage and perseverance to keep on and not give up. We live in a culture that says to do whatever makes us happy and if our needs aren’t met, to just quit! I’m sure we have all been guilty of being a quitter and not carrying through with something that was difficult. Children often quit in the middle of the game if they know they are losing. Teens may quit simply because the job is not very exciting but hard work and would rather have a cushy one. Or adults quit when they think they can’t stand one more day of a demanding boss or just bored with their spouse. 
Perhaps all of us think more of our own needs and feeling good, rather than contributing and serving others. But I read the scripture today from Galatians 6:9-10 (The Message) where Paul says, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get a chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
I  read an article recently by Tiffany Thibault, an author and Bible Study leader, who writes about not growing weary.  In whatever situation we are in, we are not to give up but keep doing good to everyone God puts in our path. For all of us that will look different and maybe today it is something simple as making a meal, sending a card, praying for a person, giving a compliment, or just listening to another.
God wants to work through us and we may not always feel like giving out, but often our own concerns are lightened even as we do good. I liked Tiffany’s prayer that we may want to pray before starting our day.
“Dear Lord,
Thank you that you are in my life, that you are working in all my situations today. Please give me the strength that I need to be able to do good to everyone that I will encounter today. Help me to reflect your goodness to those around me. Help me to see opportunities where I can be the good today to whoever needs it. Help me to not focus on what I think I need, but to see that you have placed me right where I am today so that I can do good to someone. Help me to trust you as I encounter those difficult people, and show me how to do good to them. Lord, give me strength to not grow weary in doing good. In your name I pray, Amen.”
Let us be willing to let God use us to bring good to others!
Challenge for today: Ask God to work through you to do good to someone in your path today.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

October 14, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day on this rainy day. This morning I did food prep and shopped at Aldi’s and went downstairs for donuts. This afternoon is our Bible Study here at Northern Lakes and then we plan to do some shopping. Not sure if we will be walking outside or down in the underground garage. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Temptation comes to all of us and it is not something we enjoy but have to stand against. Just because we are tempted doesn’t mean we are weak or have done something wrong. In fact, it can mean the opposite for the enemy doesn’t care so much about tempting a person whom he already seems to have won, but tries to get those who love the Lord to trip up and fall. Satan’s way is to deceive us in any way he can and he wants us to doubt that he even exists. But he is a liar and the father of all lies. He tries to put thoughts in our minds that God is holding out on us. Remember how he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and said, “Did God actually say you shall not eat of the tree in the garden?” She took the bait and also Adam and they ate the fruit and ended up being escorted out of the beautiful garden to work the ground. When we fall for Satan’s tactics, we also suffer loss.
There are some things we can do that help us stand against the enemy. We need to be on guard against him and put on the armor of God. We can also do things to deepen our relationship with the Lord by reading the Word, obeying, praying, worshiping, sharing him with others etc. It is helpful to memorize scripture so we can defeat him with the Word of God like Jesus did.  Some Christians make themselves accountable to another believer so that when tempted they may call and ask for prayer and counsel. There are instances when we may need to actually remove ourself from the tempting situation, much like Paul says to Timothy 2:22 (ESV), “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 
Even as as I wrote this last night, I was tempted to quit writing, and the enemy told me I  had a busy day and just do it another time… plus there was a good movie on!
I could hardly believe it, but suddenly the first half of this devotional just simply disappeared and I was not able to get it back. I had to start all over again. The enemy knows our weak areas and what areas frustrate us and he tries to sabotage us. Let us not give in to the enemy for when we do, in even a small area, it becomes easier the next time. But, there is grace when we seek to love and obey the Lord and to resist the enemy’s tactics. Let us walk in the grace and strength He wants to give us.
Challenge for today: Be on guard against the enemy’s tactics and ask for God’s escape plan each time when tempted.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 13, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this rainy day, even though you may not see the sun. This morning I made bars and roasted acorn squash and went to my exercise class. This afternoon is craft time and tonight is Bible Study at church so this rainy day is full!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We live in a world today of a multitude of words and many feel they are not valued if someone isn’t calling them or texting them. People have the T.V. blaring all day long and even when driving somewhere the music is loudly playing. However, if you would drop by to our apartment, you would find it very quiet, as both Al and I live a rather contemplative life. Our T.V doesn’t come on until the news at 5 and the rest of the time we practice a quiet and reflective life. Al spends many hours in his study, reading and writing and I love to work and write from my desk in our bedroom. Then when we eat meals and go for our walks we catch up and have time to share and talk the whole way.
But no matter if we are an introvert or extrovert, we need times of silence so we get to know the Lord in deeper ways and also know ourselves. It says in Luke 6:45b (ESV), “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” What is inside usually comes out eventually in a variety of ways. Our words often surprise us and show us what is buried in our hearts that we haven’t allowed others to see, and maybe have never admitted to ourself. Haven’t we all seen times when important respected people don’t know that they have not been disconnected from the sound system and what comes out of their mouths for us to hear may be very disappointing.
But if we set aside our words and have times of quiet, we are able to listen closely, letting the Holy Spirit speak into our lives and 
getting in touch with things the Lord wants to change in our hearts. Otherwise, we end up living our life on the surface and get distracted, and fail to see the areas that need change.
Let us have times of silence and pay attention to our interior life, a life to be lived for God. 
Challenge for today: Try to use less words and seek to hear what God is saying to you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 12, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a beautiful day and anticipate the things the Lord has planned for you. If you didn’t have to do any work today, what would give you pleasure? 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
There are many people today that have heavy work schedules and live very busy active lives that often leave them exhausted. But everyone needs some time of leisure, a time of recuperation and to find ourselves. I was reading the chapter on leisure in Michael Casey’s book, Grace on the Journey to God, and leisure seems like something we all should have in our schedules. Some think of it only as downtime and may get involved in so much activity that it is more tiring than their work. But I read today from Mark 6:31 (ESV) Jesus words to his disciples, “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”  We also need to have leisure time to lose ourselves in activities that give us space and unhurried time to quiet down and simply be ourselves. It could be we turn to music, or poetry, art, writing, sports etc.  When we become fully involved in what we are focused on, we will find fulfillment and enjoyment; it often leaves us feeling refreshed as we express ourselves in creative ways and our hearts get renewed.
As I read about Leisure time, I recognize that I like to cook and make up recipes and I have such a willing hubby that loves to sample them. But I also like to paint and make greeting cards to send and yet I haven’t taken out my paints since we moved here to Northern Lakes. Maybe we think we are wasting time when we take time out to do enjoyable creative leisure things, but there is more to life than making money or hurrying about.
Casey wrote, “Leisure is purposeful and personal activity that aspires to be marked by flow… It is, above all, being attentive to the present moment, open to all its implications, living it to the full.” Perhaps it is more important to do a few things well, and being fully present with time left over to be reflective. When we visit a monastery gift store, their handmade items seem special to us as the monks put their whole self and concentration into the quality of their work. It is quite different from when we multitask and settle for so much less. When we are fully engaged, we will find that time seems to fly and we discover more of our true selves. It also helps us be open more to others, to listen, and make space to grow. Let us not neglect leisure in our lives!
Challenge for today: Make room in your life for some leisure time this week.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

October 11, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Yesterday we had a guest speaker, Pastor Brandt, who is like a pastor to the pastors, and he had a great message.  It is not as warm today but we have sunshine! Emoji This morning I studied, made cookies and food prep, and went to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we have soft pliable hearts or are they hardened and bitter? I think we can all attest that our hearts are not always pure and kind but can harbor bitterness, envy, resentment etc. Jesus said to the crowd on the mountain, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) At times we may complain that God seems distant from us and blinded from our sight, but do we stop and consider the darkness in our own hearts? We may be filled with negative thoughts and bad attitudes, and infected with bitterness. When we hear that, we may say, “That is not me!” But if we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal our hearts to us, we may be surprised at what is lurking there. Perhaps someone said some caustic words to us and we are filled with negative retorts, at least in our minds. Or maybe another person stepped into our space and got the promotion that we were so sure we would get. We become envious and begin rehearsing all the negative traits about that person. Or how could the person who promised to love us always, simply leave us? Even when the worst happens, 
Jesus tells us to forgive, and that is not optional. If we fail to do that, we are warned that a root of bitterness will grow in our hearts and can not only affect us but those around us. We have only to think of families where one person has been hurt and the whole family ends up isolating that one who caused the pain from their lives. The cancer of bitterness spreads and defiles many! If we are to have compassionate soft hearts, we must forgive and not hang on to resentments, even if what they did is terribly wrong. Jesus went so far as to ask His Father to forgive the very ones who crucified Him.
 I  read from Voice of the Martyrs of the woman who stood by her husband’s coffin at his funeral and forgave those that killed him. She and her husband had refused to take the tribal oath because they valued their faith more than tribal loyalties. Her husband was beaten to death and she was also beaten. But she said to all, “I, as his widow, also tell all of you, in the presence of my dead husband, that I hate none of those who killed him. I love the killers, I forgive them, knowing that Christ has died for them too.” May we not let our hearts be hardened by unforgiveness but let His love soften those places that hurt.
Challenge for today: When you are tempted to get even, forgive and give it to God, and let Him tend your heart. 

 

October 9, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying some relaxing time this weekend. This morning I cleaned the apartment, wrote letters and did food prep.
Ann is coming by in a few minutes and later Al has a meeting at church. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As God’s children we are to be people of hope, even though what is happening around us may seem fearful and dark. I read recently on Crosswalk what Ines Velasquez McBryde had to say about her grandmother. She grew up in Nicaragua in the midst of civil war, hurricanes, earthquakes and under communist regime etc. But what Ines remembers of her was her hopeful spirit in everything. She had her eyes on the TV news, but more so, her eyes were planted on the Good News of Jesus. She continually watered seeds of hope and knew that even at the darkest times the Lord was with her and would not abandon her. She helped and served so many others as well, and brought hope to those around her.
Maybe for us it seems like our worries grow worse at night in the darkness, and our fears get exaggerated. But in the light of morning our worries tend to seem less. Philip Gulley said that “fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.” Because our lives are in God’s hands, we can lie down in faith and wake in hope for He holds our future.
In Romans 15:13(ESV) Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” The Amplified version says hope is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. In the Greek the word for hope is Elpis which means a desire of some good with an expectation of obtaining it. We are to live in hope and with the expectation that something good will happen.
When we think of our future, it is very bright and something to anticipate. Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon telling them what God said. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans of welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Yes, we have a glorious future as God’s children for we have the promise of His second coming and the anticipation of new heavens and a new earth.
Let us water seeds of hope and remember God has things all in His hands.
Challenge for today; The next time you feel fearful, remember who holds the future and hang on in hopeful anticipation.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

October 8, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have a chance to enjoy this mild beautiful weather. This morning  I made a pot of chicken soup that I shared, and Peach crisp which we are going to have with our friends from Church on the Paul Bunyan trail. We are going to find a picnic table and enjoy after “church” time fellowship. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How well do we grow older as God’s children? I pondered that today as I read from Psalm 92:12-14 (The Message), “Good people will prosper like palm trees, grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted in God’s courtyard. They’ll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age.” The ESV version says that the righteous will still bear fruit in old age and are full of sap and green. That sounds positive rather than those who say life is simply all downhill! Whether we are a child, young adult, middle-aged, elderly, or very aged, we are all getting older; but there are opportunities in each segment of our lives and we can be fruitful until our last breath.
We don’t need to bemoan the fact there are some exciting things we are not of age to do yet, or that we are too old to do those things that we could formerly do with ease. Maybe we can no longer jog or lift weights, or be CEO of a company, but we may be able to give of our means to help the poor, send encouraging cards to those struggling, watch spiritual podcasts, spend time in prayer and worship etc.
We only get to live life once and let us strive to live it well, without missing the opportunities God puts in front of us. The Bible says that our days are like grass and will soon pass away but God’s love is everlasting on those who fear Him.
I’m sure we can all think of things we wish we would have done in our yesterdays but we don’t need to dwell on that. We can ask forgiveness for the wrongs we have done and then focus on what is for today and for the future. Let us not be content to stay in our present stage of life but continue growing into the next stage, ever drawing closer to the Lord.
As Christians, this life is only the prelude and the best is yet to come. We have an eternity with the Lord where we will never wither but have the most glorious future.
Let us live each day well, and to be fruitful and spiritually virile.
Challenge for today: Seek out a person older than you and ask them to share an experience of growth in their life.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

October 7, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying a lovely fall day! It was our turn to get donuts today and I always reach for the maple ones! I was in the kitchen cooking most of morning and our apt is full of aromas. This afternoon we have Bible Study downstairs and we are blessed by the fellowship.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It’s all about LOVE! Have you had the experience of God teaching you in an area and then coming back around to it at a later time, and going to a deeper level? I know I have written on God’s love in a variety of ways in the past, and yet I feel I am only scratching the surface…God has so much more to teach me about His love and I feel like I am a slow learner, and sadly, sometimes a reluctant leaner too. 
The other morning, I was reading some scriptures on God’s love and later when we went for our walk with friends, David shared how he is writing a poem about God’s love. Then at the close of the day, a friend who is recovering from surgery sent me a bunch of scriptures on God’s love. By then I told the Lord, I get it; I want to be more teachable…to know your love in deeper ways and express it in self-giving! Lately I have become more aware of my selfishness and self-centeredness, and it is in direct contrast to His patient, kind, long suffering, giving love. I like what our friend David wrote on love and will share just a portion of it:
 
 “In the end, it is all about loving Jesus as he loves me.
The love that He continuously demonstrates is the way to be free.
The darkest cloud when they begin to form.
God reaches deep inside me and touches my heart, recognizing that I have been reborn.
 
For some time, I have been thinking about God and his love and what is known.
The one who created the universe loves me individually as his very own.
When I read about His unconditional love, I was in total awe.
He touches my heart by telling me he accepts me just as I am with all my flaws
 
 God’s love is perfect, patient, kind, never jealous, loyal, and much more. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
He will abide in us, and his love is perfected deep to our very core. (1 John 4:7)
A drastic change in our life happens when his love enters.
We desire to give God’s love away and make him the center.”
 
 May each of us experience more of God’s deep love and let it flow through us to others.
Challenge for today: Slowly read I Cor.13 and let His love permeate your heart and also touch others.es
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

October 6, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a beautiful day and enjoying this lovely weather! This morning I made egg dishes and a veggie stir-fry and shopped at Aldi’s. Also, went to exercise class and soon there is crafts downstairs. Al had his men’s group this morning and tonight we have Bible Study so we are back into the swing of things.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Some years ago, Billy Graham was visiting an University, and he was looking out the window at all the hundreds of students scurrying to class. He asked the dean what the greatest problem was at this university? After a few moments to think about it, the dean answered, “Emptiness.” As I read this, I would also say it is the problem today as young people feel lonely and empty. It is evident in their countenances and behavior. It isn’t that they don’t have enough material things but rather they haven’t found what really matters in life. It is also true for anyone that has not received the Lord into their lives…life is lonely and without meaning. It is filled with things that don’t satisfy the deepest longing of the heart. Some really don’t know that the answer is Jesus and need to hear the Good News! We must be ready to share Him with others with every opportunity the Lord sends our way, always remembering what our life was like before we knew Jesus. 
David must have been alone much of his teen years for he tended sheep for his father. But he found the Lord was enough; God supplied all that he needed and he didn’t lack anything. The Good Shepherd fed, guided and shielded him and gave him rest. He didn’t have to fear for He experienced God with him and was restored and refreshed. Even when he was alone on the hillsides with his sheep, he experienced God’s presence and knew God was with him. He did not feel empty but said his cup brimmed full of blessings; he doesn’t need a thing.
We can experience fullness in life when Jesus is at the center, and the empty place is filled with Him. As David said in Psalm 16:11 (Amplified), “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
Challenge for today: Spend some time with the One who satisfies your deepest longings and fills your cup to overflowing.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
 
 
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