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 225)

June 24, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a great weekend! We enjoyed helping with the rummage sale here over the weekend and fun to work together. Yesterday we served at church and so many stay for coffee and fellowship. Today I need to go to Aldi’s and to exercise class and make more cookies. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It seems that Al and I that we have been faced with lots of deaths of friends recently and attended funerals. On Saturday a friend and I went through all the clothes of a another one who recently died, and it brought so many memories to mind of her. I remarked to Al that it seems today that people generally don’t take time out to really grieve the loss of a loved one and to honor their memory in a deep way; instead, their death may be sometimes viewed like an imposition to have work schedules messed up or daily schedules, and they desire to go back to their routine lives as quickly as possible. But is that how it should be? What happens when we store grief without expressing it? Sometimes it comes up much later in feelings of depression for the grief was never addressed when it happened.

When we read in the Word about Moses death or Aarons, the people grieved for 30 days. When Jacob died, Joseph threw himself on his father, cried over him and kissed him and mourned for him 7 days; even the Egyptians mourned for him for 70 days. (Genesis 50)  I have been reading about David and how he grieved for Jonathan and King Saul when they were both killed in the same day. He didn’t keep it all inside but tore his clothes, fasted and wrote a mourning song for both of them. (II Samuel 1) He was heartbroken and pours out his soul to the Lord. David cared and lamented and wrote many beautiful Psalms when he experienced grief. Eugene Peterson writes of David’s willingness to give attention to the fact of death and said, “In order to live totally we must face death totally.” David honored life and also lamented fiercely. Much of David and Jonathan’s friendship was not spent together but their friendship brought out the best in each other.

We find that 70% of the Psalms are laments and record times when David faced disappointment and losses and death. He didn’t run from things but faced them and prayed to the Lord. We also need to give ourselves time to grieve and lament, to remember our loved one and how they touched our life. It is not to attract pity from others but rather to notice how that person affected our life and enlarged us. We must not run from the reality of death but deal with it in the context of God’s sovereignty. And as we lament it helps connect us and prepares us for resurrection life.

Challenge for today: Don’t ignore loss and run from grief but use one of the Psalms to lament.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

June 22, 2024

Dear Ones
Happy weekend! We didn’t get the expected rain yesterday that was forecast, and we were pleasantly surprised. Kurt and Brenda and friends stopped in on their way to the cabin and even happier that they got sunshine instead of the rain. Today the sale continues on here and tonight things get back in order again. Fun working together and I suspect everyone will sleep well tonight!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Our God is a miracle working God and He does things above what we can ask or think. Paul says in Eph. 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power a work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Our God does amazing works above and beyond our thoughts and dreams.

I would like to share one more story of a missionary friend of ours who knew she had a calling from the Lord and trusted Him to open the doors to accomplish His will in her life.  I will use her words that can be found in the book, Food for Ravens, which many miracles are shared by missionaries.

 “It was August of 1990 and I was sitting in Chuck Lindquist’s office while he was trying to convince me that none of the World Mission Prayer League fields needed a librarian. ‘Here are some catalogs of colleges in the area that offer degrees in ESL certification,’ he said. ‘Perhaps you should look into something like that.’ I knew that wasn’t what I was suppose to do. I love being a librarian and really felt that God could use me in that type of position on the field. However, here was the Mission’s personnel director telling me that this might not necessarily be the case. As I was trying to figure out how to politely give all the catalogs back to Chuck and leave, the phone rang. He picked it up and began talking. As I started to leave the room, he motions me to stay seated. Pretty soon I hear him say, ‘Well, she’s sitting right her. Maybe you should talk to her.’ The phone call was from Bolivia. That very afternoon Linda Nelson, one of our missionaries in Bolivia, was going into the Santa Cruz post office when the director of the local American school for missionary kids was coming out. When Linda asked him if there was enough staff for the following year, he told her they were still lacking one key person. You guessed it—they needed a librarian. ‘We have one sitting in Minneapolis right now,’ Linda had said. ‘Call this number and ask if Carol is still available.’ So the director of the school did call, I was available, and two weeks later I ventured off to Santa Cruz. Six schools and more than twenty years late, I am still loving my job as a librarian.” She is soon going to retire and she is the best librarian I have ever known! She followed the path the Lord had for her.

Challenge for today: Seek to know God’s will each day and then trust Him to open the doors before you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

June 21, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Lots going on here as yesterday we made preparations for a huge rummage sale today and tomorrow at Northern Lakes. Kurt and Brenda and another couple plan to stop by on their way to the lake this morning but the weather prediction is not the best.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We might ask ourselves today if we are a grateful person, one who is thankful for life itself, even with its ups and downs. I just finished reading, Wrestling with God” by Ronald Rolheiser, and he goes on to say that forgiveness follows gratitude, for the more grateful we are, the more strength is given us to forgive. We all must guard against bitterness for then we find our hearts will not be capable of forgiveness. It seems that the elder brother of the prodigal, had such a problem and couldn’t rejoice when his brother returned. When we refuse to forgive others, we are much like that elder brother who stands afar off and unable to enter into the joy of the celebration.

Forgiving isn’t easy when we have been hurt and suffered wrong and treated badly. If we choose not to forgive our own heart door starts to close and we become cold and end up hurt and carry around our wounds.

But Rolheiser writes that the deep secret of joy is forgiveness, and it is imperative. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I almost shutter when I hear persons say, “I will never forgive so and so!” Can’t you almost predict that they will lose their joy and become bitter and hardened? It is like having a closed fist and as they take a protective stance, they are unable to become vulnerable. But when we go through life with open trusting hands and embrace others our heart becomes warm and bigger.

Let us not respond in kind to others who mistreat us but respond with forgiveness and love.  May we stay connected to the One who has forgiven us everything we have ever done and let Him transform us into His grateful children who overflow with joy because we have been forgiven much.

Challenge for today: The next time you feel hurt and wounded by another, pause to pray and ask the Lord to help you respond with His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

June 20, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of sunshine. Al will be going to Men’s group early this morning and later leading Bible Study. After that we are going to help set up for a rummage sale here at Northern Lakes as it will start tomorrow and go until Saturday afternoon… a chance to make more room in our apartments for things we can do without as long as we don’t buy more!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
When I wrote my recent devotion on forgiveness I got many responses. Some found it hardest to forgive themselves for things they wished they had never done. One gal forgave her husband who tried to kill her, and in forgiving him she had found peace.  But whether it is something minor or something major, we must forgive if we want to be free. When we choose not to forgive, we are really saying that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough. But the truth is He paid the full price that we might be forgiven of all our sins we commit and that has been done to us. Maybe we feel knocked down right now, but we need to get up again and go the way of forgiveness. Let us remember Paul’s words in Eph. 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” That means big things and small things!

One friend responded to my devotions by giving a testimony of forgiveness in her own life and I will share with her permission.                                                                                                                                                        “When I was a student at UW-Superior in the 1970s, I regularly attended a daily noon prayer meeting.  I lived in an apartment and had to park my car on the street.  One day my car would not start.  A friend looked under the hood and discovered that the alternator had been stolen!  At the prayer meeting I asked for prayer for the thief.  I likely said a prayer of forgiveness at that time. (I know my heart was forgiving him.) After the meeting a gentleman (older student like myself) asked me what kind of car I had.  He then proceeded to tell me he had an alternator he would give me!  My friend installed it, and I was on the road again.  (An interesting sidelight is that the man who gave me the alternator is the father of my chiropractor.  Of course, I told him the story.)                                                                                                                                          I know we don’t forgive to get something.  However, this was a graphic picture to me of God’s favor for my having an attitude of forgiveness, and praying for the thief. God’s ways are higher than our ways!”

Forgiveness is a gift we extend to others for we ourselves have been forgiven much.

Challenge for today: Freely forgive everyone, including yourself.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 19, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a beautiful day! We had lots of rain yesterday and storms but fortunately didn’t have a tornado. Today I am going to do food prep and bake a rhubarb cake and go to exercise class and Bible Study.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Love is so beautiful as we recently witnessed when we went to the wedding of our granddaughter, Paige and her beloved Devin! Their love for each other is so evident and there probably isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other. Their honeymoon only made life together sweeter and more precious. But as lovely as it all is, down the line there will also be pain as it is in every relationship. We don’t like to hear that or think that but it is true. At first pain may be caused by just being apart to go to our separate jobs. (So true for Al and I when first married).

 But even though newlyweds have many lovely dreams, there is pain as Catherine Doherty explains in her book. Maybe the wife gets pregnant soon after and has morning sickness; followed by the incredible pain of childbirth. Finally, when the baby is born and crying much of the night, there is the pain of loss of sleep and even having any kind time for self. But as the child grows there is also pain of worry about what could happen when he is a teenager etc. It never seems to quit. But that is how love is for with it is pain and God’s way of teaching us to depend on Him. We grow as we learn firsthand what it means to put others before ourselves, and He uses all that happens to us to draw us closer to Himself.

The secret is the cross…am I willing to daily die to myself and put the Lord first and others second before myself. At times that is not pleasant, for we don’t know if the Lord is going to answer our prayers the way we strongly desire, or does He have a completely different plan. But the beauty of it all is that He sees the panoramic picture of our life and He knows what things are good for us now and what things we need to die to so He can bring us to new places. Let us love much and let us willingly go through pain to enter into God’s best for us. Even though we may hurt for a little while let us remember I Peter 5:10-11, “So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans of us in Christ-eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on our feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does.”

Challenge for today:  Thank the Lord He gives you grace to go through the painful times to bring you out into the splendor and glory of His presence and will.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 18, 2024

Dear Ones,
May you wake with a grateful heart for how God made you, just the way you are. This morning, I am going to do some baking and go to Women’s Bible Study. We had our picnic inside yesterday even though it never rained, but still a good time was had by all.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How many times have we berated ourselves and called ourselves dumb, foolish, maybe even ugly or stupid. If we think about it, that is not what God says about us! We can get so critical of ourselves and forget we are a creation of God, and it is what He says of us that is truth. Speaking negatively about ourselves is not the same as humility for we are really failing to be grateful for how God has made and gifted us.

I read an article by Rick Renner who described himself as very hyper-critical, that is …until one day he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him and said, ‘How dare you continually talk so badly about yourself after the good work I’ve done inside you. Don’t you know how marvelously I created you to be in Jesus Christ? Quit speaking so negatively of yourself and start acknowledging every good thing that is in you.”

Isn’t that a word for all of us? Do we realize that every time we put ourselves down, we are bound by those negative words and fail to experience the blessings the Lord has for us. It took quite a while in my life to be able to thank the Lord for how He made me. After receiving teaching from the Word on accepting how God made me, I could finally one day thank Him that He made me just as I am. And now it is up to me to not to defame His handiwork but to give thanks. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to change some things in our lives, but as we see negative things, we ask the Lord for Him to work His change in us. Yes, He loves us in our stink, as Al often says, just as we are, but instead of negative complaining we can pray.
The prayer that Renner prayed, and we may need to pray it too:
“Lord, I know I have been speaking badly about myself. When I hear my own words, even I can tell it’s wrong for me to speak so lowly about myself. You have done a great work in me, and I have kept myself bound by the words of my mouth. Forgive me for speaking so wrongly and for allowing myself to remain imprisoned in self-defeat. I am truly repentant for these actions, and I ask You to forgive me and to give me that power to change my behavior. Holy Spirit, I can only do this by your power, so I am asking and expecting You to empower me to make these changes in my life and in my mouth! I pray this in Jesus’ name!”

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to reveal any negative talk you tell yourself and speak His truth to your heart.                                                                                                                                                              Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

June 17, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend! We enjoyed our time so much going to hear Leif preach in Hackensack and then gathering at the lake with relatives around a fire for the biggest brats I have ever seen and plenty of other food that concluded with a flourless/chocolate cake that is 540 calories a piece. Fun way to celebrate Father’s Day! Today is another picnic time here and 40 have signed up for it and I am the coffee gal.  We are afraid the weather will decide that it will be moved indoors but time will tell.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Who are you?  By that I don’t mean what you do in life, as in being a doctor, or to say, “I am a pastor’s wife and mother of 3 children,” but rather who are you in Christ? In my devotional book by Joyce Meyer, she asks that question, “Who are you?” and I had to think of how I would answer it. If we are a believer we might answer, “I am a child of God and I belong to Him.” Our identity is not what we achieve in this world but in being His child.

I am reminded of a song, we sang with our kids when they were little and a few of the repetitive lines are: “The Lord is mine and I am His, His banner over me is love…..He brought me to the banqueting table and His banner over me is love,….He is the vine and we are the branches, His banner over me is love….He is the rock of my salvation His banner over me is love.”  It would be sung with actions and our hands crossed over our hearts. When young, it is perhaps easier to believe that we are His beloved and we belong to Him. Children are trusting and have faith to believe what they are told.

 

  If we have received the Lord but still have a difficult time believing we are chosen and His beloved child, let us open our hearts and immerse ourselves in the Word, and pray for the Holy Spirit to confirm our place as His child. Faith is a choice we make to trust God, just as that little child. Like Paul said in Eph. 2: 8-9 that it is by grace we are saved through faith, and not what we do, for it is a gift from God. We can’t earn our place but accept it as a gift, and then live in thankfulness and bring others into the family of God. One day we will join with all those who are part of God’s family and spend an eternity with Him. Let us not try to earn what is already a gift, but simply receive and give thanks.

Challenge for today: Ask yourself today, “Who am I?” and then respond with a scripture like John 1:12, “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

June 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of grace and forgiveness for anyone that has hurt you in the past. The question for today: What seems to help you most in extending forgiveness to others and perhaps even to yourself?
Today I’m going to clean and do some food prep for Father’s Day. Tomorrow, we plan to go to Hackensack to hear Leif preach and then on the lake to celebrate Father’s Day.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I think we have all been criticized at times when we were doing good. Maybe we put ourselves out there and expended a lot of energy and time in a project and then discover that our integrity was attacked. At first it is hard to believe, and we are puzzled that we would suffer for doing right. We protest that we were doing it out of a heart of compassion, and now we get attacked.

 David lived much of his life getting hunted down and fleeing for his life. While just a young boy he was concerned for God’s reputation and went against the giant who defied God. His brothers criticized him for even being there at the war site. Later he was attacked again and again by King Saul, who was jealous of him and tried many times to kill him. He hated David for David was good and did what was right. Even when David was almost pinned to the wall by the king, he would not harm the Lord’s anointed king. Perhaps David’s goodness exposed Saul’s sinful heart.

Even in the midst of being the recipient of Saul’s jealous assaults, God gave David a special friendship in Saul’s son Jonathan. They made a covenant together and David was helped to overcome his circumstances with Saul. Instead of each of them thinking how the other person could aid them, they willingly gave what the other was in need of. They believed the best in one another and had a deep trust. For Jonathan, it meant giving up the throne. We also see that David grew stronger in his trust of the Lord, even in the attempts on his life by Saul. The evil and jealousy in Saul didn’t get inside of David and neither should it get inside of us when evil is done to us.

David, like us, did many things wrong and yet he never quit. He knew to go to God and ask forgiveness, just as we must. Let us get up again when we are knocked down by the evil of others and the evil in our own hearts and go the way of forgiveness and love.

Challenge for today: If attacked by another, go to the Lord and ask for grace to respond His way.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

June 14, 2024

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend!! Hope if you are a dad reading this, that you are honored in a special way on Sunday that is meaningful to you. I plan to do food prep today as we are going to Ann’s for Father’s Day and will eat outside by their new beautiful cut rock fire pit.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Father’s Day is almost here and maybe you are searching for a gift you think your dad or husband would like, but he doesn’t really need another cap or mug or shirt or tie. Al, on the other hand, is easy to gift as he loves books and always has in mind the next book he wants to order. But some dads who seem to have it all, may appreciate other meaningful ways to be honored. Author Jennifer Waddle writes “4 Things Dads Really Want” on Father’s Day that I will share with you.

Some fathers just want to rest from their responsibilities, their jobs, other’s expectations and simply take a guilt-free break. They might want to sleep in, relax, and set the agenda for the day, but they get to decide. Instead of a house full of company, that they have to cook a dozen burgers for on the grill, they may choose a quiet day with only family and time to watch sports.

Some dads may want simply to spend quality time with family and to have a relaxed day like going fishing, watching a movie with family, going out for ice cream, biking on the Paul Bunyan trail, and playing board games etc. Dads can just be carefree and enjoy relaxing surrounded by family.

Jennifer also mentions that dads like recognition and appreciation for their role as dad and all he does for the family. Often, we fail to put it into words, but we not only can say it with a card but speak affirming words of our love and admiration for the sacrifices he makes.  We need to make it a habit to give him recognition, as we show appreciation for the big and small things he does.

Lastly, we can give a gift that encourages his strengths and interests. If he is into jogging, maybe give a devotional book for athletes, or if he is into old cars, buy him a ticket to a vintage car show etc. Whatever it is he enjoys, give something in line with his interests.

I will close with the prayer by Jennifer: “Lord God, please let this Father’s Day be special for every dad. No matter what gifts they receive, help them to feel loved and celebrated for the amazing men they are. Provide time for families to rest and be together, to appreciate one another, and to exchange meaningful gifts their dads will truly enjoy. I pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Challenge for the day: Give your dad (or husband) a word of encouragement and show your appreciation in a way that is meaningful to him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

June 13, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with a hunger for God’s word for you today. Al will be meeting with men early this morning and I am going to be busy in the kitchen and trying a new recipe. We have Bible Study this afternoon and missed last week, since we were in KS.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is good to read our Bibles differently than we would read an ordinary book on fishing or home decorating, or a mystery story. Scripture is to be formed in us as we read and meditate on it. Recently I was reading Ezekiel 3 and Ezekiel was commanded to eat the scroll and it would be sweet like honey in his mouth; afterwards he was to go to speak to the people of Israel who did not live according to God’s ways, but they would refuse to listen to him. John was also told to eat the scroll when he was on the Island of Patmos, and it was sweet to his taste but bitter later in his stomach. He not only read the scroll but ate it and later wrote the book of Revelation.

In a similar way, we are not just to read the Word but digest it, let it read us and respond with obedience and prayer and ways of love. That means we don’t read it in a hurry but freely taste it, chew it, swallow it and digest it.   As we assimilate it, our hearts will be affected but not like propaganda that attempts to manipulate us.

Eugene Peterson writes how we are formed by the Spirit as the Scriptures are implanted in us. We don’t work ourselves up into an emotional state as we attempt to get in touch with God for that only puts self at the forefront. Rather we read the Word and let it shape our souls. Peterson says, ”What I want to call your attention to is that the Bible, all of it, is livable; it is the text for living our lives. It reveals a God-created, God-ordered God-blessed world in which we find ourselves at home and whole.” He goes on to tell us not only to read the Bible but eat his book by taking it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized with acts of love.

It’s fine to take notes on the sermon Sunday mornings, but what about letting that word get into us and become what we read and then expressed in our lives. It’s not all about just reading with warm feelings but let it do in us what God intends.

Challenge for today: Pray before reading your Bible and ask the Lord to help you digest what you read and let it bring wholeness to your soul.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy
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