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.

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November 19, 2022

Dear Ones
Hope you are having a good weekend. It is a cold day so may be walking in the underground as we did yesterday. This morning I cleaned our apartment and hope to shop this afternoon. We are having our Thanksgiving service tomorrow night and having lots of pies afterwards. Al can hardly wait!!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Where are the people of integrity today? There is so much falsehood and twisting of the truth to fit agendas that we don’t know what to believe or who to believe. But that should not be so if we are a child of God, He calls us to be truthful, to be honorable, and to have a pure heart, not to be false.
   Purity is important to God for it is mentioned many times in the Bible. Of course, only the Lord is pure, faultless, and without any contamination. But God wants us to be like Him and reflect His image; He wants us to also have pure hearts that seek to know Him intimately. In His Sermon on the Mount, He told us that blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (Matt. 5:8) God is so holy that we can only come before Him in Jesus’ righteousness. As it says in II Cor. 5:21 (ESV), “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
   The truth is we can’t live pure lives on our own but only come to Jesus in faith and ask forgiveness and cleansing. Then we are washed clean and the Lord looks at us as if we have never sinned…that means all of the sins we have ever committed and remembers them no more. Wow!
   When the word purity comes up, we often think first of chastity, refraining from premarital sex, even though the culture is saying anything goes. And if married, purity would mean not cheating but keeping ourselves only for our mate. It is God’s will that we honor Him with our bodies and that includes our thought life, our speech and our actions as well. In I Peter 1: 22 we are told to “Love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” It is helpful to spend time in the Word together and to pray together and to put the Lord first and others second and selves last. The world’s way of thinking of yourself first, doesn’t work as we see the mess our culture is in. Let us remember David’s words in Psalm 24:6-8, “Who shall ascent the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessings from the Lord and righteousness from the God of His salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Let us be people of integrity with hearts of purity that shine out in the darkness of our world.
Challenge for today: Put God first in your life and ask Him for a pure heart like His.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

November 18, 2022

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Today is party day here and soon we will be going to Costco to get the Birthday cake. I am also going to make soup. Yesterday’s Bible study group was special in many ways as we spent the time singing and sharing and praying. We all come from different backgrounds but our common denominator is the Lord. I think most had tears in our eyes too as we sang songs that perhaps were sung at services for our loved ones etc. It was a very blessed time and gathering together makes us stronger.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Connect! Connect! The enemy is always trying to divide us but the Lord would have us connect and unite. Satan knows there is great power when Christians are united in Spirit and he does everything he can to cause division. He wants to separate us! But may we not fall prey to his tactics.
   So much today is virtual but let us not lose the importance of being physically present. In Heb. 10:24-25 (God’s Word) it says, “We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”
  The Message translation says we should be inventive in ways we can encourage love and help others out, not avoiding actually worshiping together so we can spur one another on.
  We need one another and all of us can use to know that others are standing with us. Al and I meet regularly with another couple to pray together and we go away each time feeling refreshed and strengthened. All of us need the encouragement of others standing with us in faith, and it gives us hope; then when the answers come, we can also rejoice together and give thanks to the Lord. It seems our own hearts are made lighter when we also bring encouragement to others.
  Let us gather with other believers to worship together, pray together, laugh together and unit as one in the Lord. More than ever before we also need to meet together and pray for our nation, that we would be humble and pray and seek God’s face and turn from wicked ways, so that the Lord will hear and forgive us and heal our land.
   May we not live our Christian lives in isolation and separation but use every opportunity to connect with other believers in faith and hope.
Challenge for today: Find new ways to spend quality time with other believers.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

February 26, 2022

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend. Al is better now but it is going to take longer for me as I didn’t get sick right away like he did. I’m not doing a lot of work so am getting lazy! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What is the first thing we do upon waking from a long night’s sleep? Is it to groan and quickly fill our mind with all the things we need to accomplish during the day; or is it to greet the Lord and thank Him for a night of rest and a new day before us, full of promise and of course, His presence.
I smiled when I read what my cousin e-mailed me about their dog Buddy who is a Golden Doddle and looks just like our grand-dog, Cali! Both of them are so friendly and like to greet everyone. Buddy recently returned from a month-long trip with my cousin and her husband who traveled with another couple and pulled their Teardrop camper, Every morning, right after they got up, Buddy wanted to go to their friends’ camper to greet them; he wouldn’t do anything until he had done that. When a yellow bandanna was put in their window, it meant they were ready for Buddy to come and say good morning; afterwards he came back all set for the day.
I was immediately reminded of how it pleases the Lord when our first thoughts of the day are on Him and we have his promise in Ex. 33:14 (ESV), “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Perhaps children find it easier to just trust that the Lord is with them and  not to worry about what the day holds.
We just returned from visiting our grandsons in North Carolina and our hearts were so blessed by how they are growing in the Lord. One night I had prepared slips of paper with instructions and put them inside plastic eggs. We went around the table and each one of us had to do whatever was written on the slip of paper in our egg. Lots of laughter as compliments were given to someone on their right, or a song sung by someone on their left etc. When we finished our grandsons, asked if they could write the instructions and went away to do so. I though oh boy, we are going to be running around the house or doing strenuous feats but we were so pleasantly surprised. John Mark is only 12 and one of his slips he wrote said to give 3 Bible verses by heart and tell how they impact your life. He happened to get that one and proceeded to share the importance of following the Lord etc. Tears came to my eyes to see one so young who is so wise in the ways of the Lord. A.J who is only 8 rattled off all the books of the Bible as his brother and mom did push-ups. Both have so many scriptures stored up in their hearts.
How wonderful to start the day with the Lord and then to rehearse His promises throughout the day when we need them.
Challenge for today: Before you step out of bed, greet the Lord and give your day to Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 4, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend. Al and I enjoyed a wonderful time at the party on Saturday and had a feast that included prime rib, games and prizes and time to fellowship. Yesterday there were lots of happy people in MN as the Vikings won! Al preached and thank you for prayers. Today my exercise classes started again and it felt good to work out.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How often do we forget the kindness of the Lord to us? We may start out praising Him and before long we begin to complain and forget all the wonderful blessings we have been given. The children of Israel were good at that as they saw miraculous works of God, and then it says in Psalm 106 they did not remember the abundance of his steadfast love… they forgot His works…they forgot God their Savior… and they despised God’s plan for them. As a result, a plague broke out among them and their enemies oppressed them. But when things were at their worse, they cried out to the Lord and He heard them and delivered them. What about us? How often are we like the Israelites and forget how God has been there for us and carried us through difficult circumstances, healed us of sicknesses, forgiven us of all the wrongs we have done? I think it is helpful to keep a spiritual journal where we can record God’s blessings that we are made aware of daily and also write down prayer needs. Then as we see the answers, we are reminded to give Him praise and not forget His powerful works in our behalf. I keep a diary as well as a prayer journal, and since it is a 5 year one, I often read what happened on that day the year before. I marvel of the things I have forgotten that God did. King David prayed in Psalm 103:1-2 (Amplified), “Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is (deepest) within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not (one of) all His benefits.” Sometimes our pride enters in and we give ourselves credit for blessings and think we have earned them. But like David we can ask God to help us remember that it is His blessings and benefits we are receiving, especially when things seem to be going well. God warned the people of Israel when they were about to enter the Promise land not to forget the Lord or let their hearts become proud, but to observe His commands, and remember that it was He who brought them out of slavery. As we begin 2021, let us make it a practice to remember what the Lord has done for us and give Him thanks and praise for all His benefits.
Challenge for today: Begin a praise and gratitude list, as well as, a prayer request list.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

January 2, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this holiday weekend. This afternoon we are going to the  home of a couple from our church for a dinner party along with 10 others. Fun! This morning I did some food prep and cleaned the apartment and especially my desk top of papers. Tomorrow Al will be preaching at our church as our pastor’s family is on vacation. I’m sure he would appreciate prayers.
Devotions from Judy’s hear
When I was at my former Bible Study group, a Christmas gift was left at my place on the table and I do not even know who it is from. But it was a book by Erwin Lutzer, “A Practical Guide for Praying Parents.” When I first read the title, I thought our kids are grown but maybe it has wisdom in praying for our grandchildren too, as they have so many challenges that we didn’t have to face.  As I read it, I was reminded of the importance of prayer and the tremendous power in prayer. Our children belong to God and Erwin said the best way we can honor and prove our love to them is to pray regularly for them. I know my parents prayed daily for me and my siblings even as Al and I pray every day for each of our children and spouses and our grandchildren. At Moody Church they had Prayer meetings for Parents of Prodigals for 4 weeks and attendance grew as many came and wept in prayer for their prodigals. It’s not necessarily the parent’s fault when their children go astray but a couple questions they asked themselves were, “What is God teaching us through our children?” How might we have contributed to their rebellious choices? Maybe we were too strict or self-righteous or never wrong and need to ask the Lord to change us. Some children are born into homes where they were thought of as a burden and not a blessing; maybe mom was raped, or dad wasn’t in the picture at all. But all children need to know they are loved and to receive hugs and words that they are valued. Sometimes we are more concerned about our children’s behavior than the condition of their hearts. We allow their hearts to be stolen by cell phones, violent games, pornography, T.V. etc; but we need to spend more time praying for the Lord to capture their hearts. There are times God makes them miserable in their sin and we are not to enable them or to rescue them but pray they come to the Lord. God wants to create in them a clean heart. Most often, they have to come to the pigsty before they can come home to the Father who is waiting. Let us never give up on our children, for God’s power is greater than the enemy. The disciples tried to shoo the children away from Jesus but Jesus let his disciples know that He welcomed them. In Mark 10:16 (The Message) it says, “Then, gathering the children up in His arms, He laid His hands of blessing on them.” Just as Jesus blessed them, we as parents can also do that. Al had his father place his hand on his head to say a blessing on him and we can pray a blessing over our children. They need to know unconditional love, affirmation and encouragement for that which is good. Pray! Pray! Pray and never give up!
Challenge for today: Pray for children in your life and bring encouragement to them when there is opportunity.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January, 1, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope your first day of the New Year is bursting with joy! I have a new journal and it begins each day with a space for praise and gratitude and then follows with prayer requests. I have so many things to be grateful for and writing praise and blessings down seems to almost multiply them. Today is football day and special treats that we have only once a year. I went downstairs for coffee this morning and am going through the Christmas cards and pictures etc. Hope you have a joyous first day of the year!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Happy New Year! I love ringing in a New Year as it reminds me of a clean slate, and a fresh start. As we look back on the past year, we probably never imagined it would be so challenging, but God was with us. What about 2021? What will it hold for us, only God knows and we don’t need to fear because He is Emmanuel, God with us. We can trust Him with everything for He is dependable and never changes. He is our Loving Father and understands our humanity, and even when we fail, He gently nudges us back. I wonder what things will be birthed through each of us in a new way this coming year. Will we wait for His timing or will we spin our wheels and rush ahead of Him? Maggie Cooper writes about how often her young daughter gets impatient as she reads to her if there are many words on a page. Sometimes her daughter just grabs the book in her hands and turns the pages before the time, but she misses the details and the story doesn’t make sense. I wonder if we do that with the Lord when He has us in a waiting mode and we get impatient and rush ahead of Him before it is time to turn the page. Of course, we won’t have peace and we get frustrated and may even miss the meaning of what He wants to do in us and through us. It says in Proverbs 19:21 (ESV), “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We can have lots of plans mapped out for our future but it is God’s purposes that will prevail, mot ours. Let us first seek His direction for each day as we face a new year, and wait for His appointed time. I think we will find our hearts at peace and we can confidently rest in the Lord.
Challenge for today: Seek His will and purpose for your life each and and let go of your own plans.
May the Lord bless you in this new year. Love, Judy

December 31, 2020

Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are about to begin a New Year and 2020 was quite a year, full of the unexpected. None of us could have predicted the pandemic and all that has happened in our country. As we go into the New Year, we need God’s wisdom and strength, remembering that he is in control and we are not. Today I am sharing Alisha Headley’s prayer and may we make it our prayer on this last day of 2020.
“Dear God,
We thank you for being faithful, for giving us the courage to push through another day in 2020. Despite this year, you promise that you will never “leave us nor forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:8). You are a faithful God. You tell us that “those who put our trust and faith in you cannot be shaken” (Psalm 125:1). Thank you that even when our world was shaken in 2020, we serve an unshakeable God. We ask that in times of doubt and questioning, you would remind us to “lean not on our own understanding, but trust in you, and you will direct our paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) We ask that you would remind us to rely on your wisdom, which is far greater than our own. As James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, ask you and you will graciously give it to us.”  We ask that in all our decisions you would give us wisdom to end 2020 the way you desire us to. We ask that you give us wisdom in the coming year in all that we do. We trust that you are in control and that even if we don’t see the end of this world pandemic in the near future, that you are working and that you know exactly what’s to come. Thank you that you have gone before us, that you are with us, and you go behind us. Thank you for being the only source of security in this insecure world we experienced in 2020.In Jesus mighty name, we love you and ask these things, Amen.”
Challenge for today: Memorize a scripture to carry with you into the New Year.
Blessings in the New Year and prayers and love, Judy

December 30, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the day and the fresh snow. I think we got about 4″. Al was still able to get out to early morning men’s group and while he was gone I put away our Christmas decorations. This afternoon Ann and grandson Paul are stopping by as they are shopping in Brainerd today. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are all on a spiritual journey that is unique and not like anyone else. We go through many stages on our journeys and one would think that everything would get easier but that is not the case.  Often it seems to get harder and Teresa of Avila once said after being tossed from her carriage into a mud puddle, “God, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder they are so few!” Our progress isn’t linear but there are times we may feel like we are going backwards or stuck somewhere on the sidelines. God doesn’t force us to move on for we all have free will, but He patiently waits to shower us with His grace. My cousin has a labyrinth and when I walk it, it often seems like I am going back in the same direction I have just come from. But actually, if I keep going on the winding path, I finding I am getting closer to the center. I love to sit on the rock in the center and look out at the path I have come from with all its twists and turns. Sometimes I look out at my cousin’s lovely flower garden in the summer, another turn takes in the view of the woods or raspberry bushes. Our journeys get more difficult as we have to continually say good by to our false self, our ego, and as Jesus said in Matt. 16:24, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.“ When our false self wins out, we feel like we are back to square one and must humbly accept God’s grace to get up and get going again. Sometimes we experience an awakening where we know we are not in control and we are led back to see our need for the Lord and experience His grace. This may happen on a retreat or maybe after we have had a loss or are going through a midlife crisis. We suddenly realize life is not just about us but about Him and we return to trust and to begin to live in the present moment with Him. He is our friend, our companion, and our true self comes forth. We find acts of kindness seem to flow out of us, not as obligations but natural responses. Our life changes and becomes rich for it is all about Him and not about us. Let us walk the journey with open hands and hearts!
Challenge for today: Commit to keep going on your journey and awake to what God has for you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 29, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is going well. I did a Bible Study this morning and went to Aldi’s and brought choc covered raspberries downstairs for coffee. Emoji We love our afternoon walks in nature and get “aired out” too. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Soon we will begin another new fresh year, and it’s good to put down any burdens of the past year that have weighed us down. We don’t have to carry with us a heavy bag of regrets, hurts, and worries, but can just put it down and leave it at Jesus feet. I’m sure we all have things that we wish we could do over in 2020 or hurtful happenings that caused us pain; but no matter what is in the bag, we are not meant to carry it around another year or another day. The apostle Paul could have lived with terrible guilt feelings when he came to the Lord, for he persecuted Christians and wanted to destroy them. But, the Lord spoke to him, shone a bright light, forgave him, and gave him a big assignment to bring His name to nations and to kings and to His people. He experienced forgiveness and laid down the heavy load of guilt or he certainly would have been slowed down! As I was reading this morning about Paul in Acts 9, I noticed Luke wrote in verse 9 (God’s Word), “The number of people increased as people lived in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” And The Message went on to say, “The people prospered wonderfully.” What a great way to live! Yes, Jesus is our personal friend but He is also King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we should have a deep reverence for Him. He is the One who gives us our assignment for 2021 and His plans for us trump our own plans! We may be surprised at all that He has for us in the coming year. The people lived also in the comfort of the Holy Spirit with them. Likewise we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us on our journey. We can call on Him any time to get our direction and He desires to help us in whatever situations we are in. We don’t have to carry around a bag of worries wondering how things are going to work out in 2021 for we are not the One in charge. Let us live carefree in the assurance that He is with us, will direct us and will prosper us wonderfully.
Challenge for the day: Make a list of worries you may have, put the list in a bag and put it in the garbage!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

December 28,2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend and feel blessed by your Christmas celebrations. This morning I made S.F. cookies and then made what I hope is, my last call to the Geeks. Right now some of my info is in the icloud being “thawed out” and then things should work well, I hope. This afternoon I plan to go to Kohl’s to spend my Kohl’s free dollars and that is always fun. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How obedient are we as Christ followers? Do we listen and obey the Lord or do we do partial obedience at best? When we have a problem and we don’t see God answering as quickly as we would like, do we get in there and help and take over or do we wait and let Him take control.  I had a dream that I was at the bottom of a very big hill (almost mountain sized) and I called to a child that was nearly at the top to tell her to come down. At first, she began to obey and would walk down a bit but then stop and go on with what she was doing? I would call again and she would go a bit farther and this went on and on. It was rather frustrating and I woke up before I knew if she ever reached the bottom. I wonder how much we are like this child in telling the Lord we will obey and do whatever He wants us to for a time, and then going back to doing our own thing. God is so worthy of our trust and can handle everything that concerns our lives. Just like little ones who don’t always know why their parents require them to stop their fun and come in the house or down the mountainous hill, they fail to see the coming storm and God’s way of protecting them. So it is with us. We need to trust and obey even when we don’t understand. I reflected on Prov. 3:5-6 (The Message) where it says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track.” It seems like obedience is a matter of trusting God and letting Him be in charge, not us. It’s having faith that He will come through in our situations and doing it His way. Partial obedience is not really obedience and we need to guard against going only part way. Let us trust the Lord and fully obey!
Challenge for today: The next time you are tempted to jump in and take control, ask for God’s help.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy
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