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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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

May 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
Greetings from Lexington, KY and we arrived here after a full day of travel in the rain and lots of traffic. Our usual place to stay was filled up and so we kept traveling. I had a wonderful swim and today we will be going to Knoxville and Thursday to Statesville, N.C. So excited.
Devotions from Judy’s heart,
I just finished reading the new book out by my cousin’s daughter-in-law, Kristin Salvevold, “A Quiet Witness”. It was so good that I read the whole 346-page book in one day, as we traveled. It taught me much of how the Lord can navigate His children through the most difficult circumstances in life and shower them with His goodness, binding them together as a family in God’s love. I can’t even imagine the painful circumstances this family endured as Kristin and her husband Chris first lost one baby by a miscarriage, and then had 8 children; one was a special needs daughter, Britlyn, who had a rare condition of a deletion in her tenth chromosome which hindered her from growing as other children and required surgeries and lots of therapy.
 The latest 8th child that was rather a surprise, was Jensyn with an even rarer condition that only a few in the world have. It is called Trisomy 5p which resulted with many multiple problems that required constant care, much of it being in the hospital ICU. But she was loved so much by her parents and all her siblings that I think they would all say she was a gift to them and helped each of them to cling to the Lord in deeper ways than they ever would have, without caring for her. Often mom or dad had to miss birthdays or games of her sibling because she was in need of emergency care. Since Chris is a pastor, their church stepped up to help often and prayed much. Miracles were evidenced when they prayed, and Jensyn would suddenly get better. Jensyn was a silent witness as she never learned to talk or walk but communicated God’s love in other ways.
The family was all able to be with Jensyn when she was near her homecoming and through tears, they each sat at her bedside and cradled her and said their goodbyes. They sang and worshiped together and before her last moment they sang Chris Tomlin’s song, as the words became very real, “I will rise when He calls my name; No more sorrow, no more pain.”

Although she lived only 6 ½ years she touched many hearts, even of the doctors and nurses. There were 550 at her funeral, and Al and I were among them and very touched. It was a funeral we won’t forget as Jensyn’s siblings were the worship team and lifted their hands and hearts in praise to the Lord for His gift to them. Jensyn wasn’t a burden but God’s gift of love.

 

Each person has to deal with pain and death, and it isn’t the same for everyone. Jensyn’s siblings have written letters to her, and they are grateful for what they have learned through her. One said she taught her to how to love without expectation of return. Another felt she learned that she couldn’t rely on her own strength, but the Lord’s. Her brother writes that she brought the family close and now they await being reunited someday.

Challenge for today: Be present to others going through grief and allow them to grieve their way and hold them up in prayer.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 1, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a peace-filled day. We had a beautiful sunny day yesterday and then rain in the night.  Today I plan to bake, have Exercise class, Crafts, a visit from Ann, and later Bible Study.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I’m sure we have all felt the negative words of fellow Christians against us at times and it can wound us. Likewise, we have all said things that were not kind about our brothers and sisters in Christ and judged them. Apostle Paul was the recipient of a lot of very negative words, but he learned how to handle the criticism without letting it get to him. I was reading in I Cor.4 and he tells the Corinthians that he is not concerned about what people say against him for it is the Lord who is the judge. In verses 3-5 he writes, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.”

We are all guilty of judging and when we do that, we are setting ourselves up as better than others, which is spiritual pride. We may be led to confront others when they are sinning but judging them is up to the Lord. He knows the hearts of all, our motive and purposes, and all tht is hidden deep inside of us and will one day bring all these things out in the open. He doesn’t need our help making judgements ahead of time!!

Let us not waste our time and energy trying to get the approval of others, which can change in the flick of an eye. It is the Lord who will judge, and we can lay our hearts open before Him and ask Him to reveal what is in our hearts that needs correcting One of our parishioners told me that I wasn’t sophisticated enough as a Pastor’s wife. You can probably quickly bring up critical things that were said to you. We don’t have to react and defend ourselves but just bring it to the Lord and then rest in His love.

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you when you are being judgmental and to repent. And when criticized by someone to quickly take it to Him to be the judge.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

April 19,2024

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Happy weekend. Hope you wake to a sunny day. Each morning as I look out my window the trees are budding and everything is starting to green up. Today Ann’s family is taking us out for lunch!                                                                                                                                                                                    Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The Lord is after our hearts and wants us to know Him in a deep way. We can pray and ask Him for decisions about who to marry, what field of work we should go into, or whether we should move etc. But those things, though they are important, they are not the most important for first it is to really know the Lord. The more intimate we know Him, the more we will be able to discern what He wants in our lives. Because I know Al so well, I can almost predict in situations what He will do. There are many times I could finish his sentences and he mine. It’s because we spend time together and share together and know each other well.                                                                                                                                                 As we spend time in the Word and prayer with an openness to the Lord, the Holy Spirit will reveal more of the Lord to us. Some of the questions we are asking may be answered specifically in the Word and we don’t have to wonder if it is His will, for it is only a matter of obedience. Through our times with Him, we may find our hearts are being enlarged and softened and we come away with a desire to express His love to others around us. It is not something we feel we have to do, but it becomes something on our hearts we want to do.

One thing we discover as we draw closer to the Lord, there is no room for unforgiveness towards anyone. Jesus forgave those that put Him to death, and we must also forgive everyone who has hurt us. We are going to need His power to do that, as it is one of the most difficult things He asks of us. But if we do not forgive and become revengeful, it is much like poison in our bodies. It may show itself in depression, anger, bitterness and anxiousness. But as Paul told the Colossian believers, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col. 3:13) If we do not forgive our Heavenly Father will not forgive us. (Matt. 6:15)                                                                                                                                                                                                 Let us give our hearts fully to the Lord and let us be known by Him and become like Him.                                                                                                                     Challenge for today: Open your heart in new ways to the Lord and to others.                                                                                                                                                  May you have a wonderful weekend full of blessings and prayers and love, Judy

 

April 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather over the weekend. Love the walks on the trail. When I came home from church on Saturday afternoon the hinge on my computer had popped off (more like exploded) and we took a trip to the geeks. They could not fix it and if we don’t find someone local who can, I will have to send it in, which may be 2 weeks. Just so you know if you don’t get devotions from me for a time.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
No one who is an island unto himself. To be whole and complete we need others.in our lives. Friendships are important and we not only need to open our hand of friendship to others but to receive it ourselves. Hopefully, as you read this, that you are rich with friendships and treasure them. None of us are totally self-sufficient, nor should we be.

When I read of Jeremiah’s life, he spent a lot of time alone and yet he had several close friends; one who even saved him from being murdered under King Jehoiakim. There is also much written of Baruch who a very faithful friend and a scribe who wrote down what Jeremiah dictated, delivering it when asked. He was loyal and didn’t abandon Jeremiah though they went through one hard time after another.  Another friend was Ebed-melek, the Ethiopian Eunuch, who risked his own life to rescue Jeremiah out of a cistern, where he was left to die.

 Not many of our friends have physically saved our lives but I am full of gratitude for those friends that have helped me in my spiritual journey and who I can count on. I am especially grateful that they were willing to listen to my heart and speak truth to me when going through hard circumstances and praying over me and giving encouragement. I have also wept and prayed with friends as their burdens were shared. King Solomon says in Eccl. 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and had not another to lift him up!” Friends are important and a gift from the Lord. We need to be open to new friends as well as old. I often meet with a longtime special friend on our way to KS, and we will just seem to pick up where we last left off.

We are rich when we have friends who listen well, keep confidences, share truth, forgive, desire to grow in the Lord alongside of us, and give encouragement. Let us be that very kind of friend that we want to have.

Challenge for today: Pray and make time for friendships that the Lord sends your way.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

March 23, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to joy and peace, no matter what your circumstances are. May you have a great weekend and time to be renewed.
I plan to bake and clean today, and we hear more snow is predicted tomorrow.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We probably all have friends going through hard times and maybe dark times include us right now. But we can take heart, for the Lord is greater than anything we face and can bring us peace, even in the midst of whatever we are going through. I like what Debbie McDaniel wrote about how beauty and greatness can result from our darkness. She quotes Isaiah I:3, “He has sent me, to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of tears of grief, and clothes of praise instead of spirit of weakness.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful?! We won’t always have ashes for they will fall away but His glory will shine through the very places we are struggling with now.

The Lord will not only give us peace in our struggles but also comfort and deep joy. Sounds unbelievable but many of you have maybe experienced it, and it is hard to explain to others. The Message translation says that he cares for the needs of all who mourn and gives them bouquets of roses instead of ashes and messages of joy instead of news of doom, and a praising heart instead of languid spirit. The Lord is right there with us through it all and we can experience His peace and even a deep joy. Debbie writes a prayer that you may want to pray for yourself or send to a loved one who is going through a dark time.

Dear God,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In this season of Lent we’re reminded of our own difficulties and struggles. Sometimes the way has seemed too dark. Sometimes we feel like our lives have been marked by such grief and pain, we don’t see how our circumstances can ever change. But in the midst of our weakness, we ask that you would be strong on our behalf. Lord, rise up within us, let your Spirit shine out of every broken place we’ve walked through. Allow your power to be manifest through our own weakness, so that others will recognize it is You who is at work on our behalf. We ask that you would trade the ashes of our lives for the beauty of your Presence. Trade our mourning and grief for the oil of joy and gladness from your Spirit. Trade our despair for hope and praise. We choose to give you thanks today and believe that this season of darkness will fade away. Thank you that you are with us in whatever we face, and that you are greater than this trial. We know and recognize that you are Sovereign, we thank you for the victory that is ours because of Christ Jesus, and we are confident that you have good still in store for our future. We thank you that you are at work right now, trading our ashes for greater beauty. We praise you, for you make all things new.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Challenge for today: Trade the ashes of your life for the beauty of His presence.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

March 4, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Al and I already saw our first robin on the Paul Bunyan trail! Today Al is going to Pine City to get our taxes done and I hope to clean all the blinds and windows while he is gone. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I have been reading about intentionality in Just Between Us” magazine, and I am wondering what that means for me and maybe for you too. If we live intentionally, we live with purpose and with an aim or plan. Like Paul writes in Eph. 5:15-17, “So then, be very careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people. Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.”

How do we live like the Lord desires for us, with intention and as wise people? Too many times in our Christian walk we can go on auto pilot rather than having purpose in each day. Katy Boykin writes, that “Intentional livings is co-authoring your life with the Creator of the universe (God) to make your highest contribution to yourself and the world.”. We are to pay attention to how we live and make the most of the opportunities the Lord puts before each of us. How we do that may be quite different for each of us, as He has a unique purpose for each of our lives and gifted us accordingly. The closer we come to Him as we read the word, worship, spend time in prayer and listening to Him, the more we will be able to accomplish His purposes in our lives.

Living intentionally will help us live each and every day with purpose as we make progress in choosing His will over our will and learning to trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives. It means dying to self and our desires, but it is replaced with choosing God’s ways and for His pleasure. He will show us the areas in our lives that need His attention and free us to be our true selves and live with purpose. We all have spiritual gifts given us and as we recognize and know how we are gifted we will find that we can live more purposefully. One person with the gift of mercy will find opportunities to go along side another to bring help; the one with the gift serving will spend time pouring out for others in ways of meeting their needs etc.

Let us not be lethargic and selfish but rather live whole heartedly for the Lord and bring much glory to Him.

Challenge for today: Surrender your daily schedule to the Lord each day and live with intention.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

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January 2, 2024s

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a wonderful day! I have Womens’ Bible study at church this morning and then friends coming for pie and coffee and fellowship this afternoon. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  As the New Year is here and the Christmas tree is put away etc., I like to do some deep cleaning of the cupboards and the closets and high places that are dusty. I can’t do it all in a day or two if I am to be thorough and it takes persistence to keep on going.
   It reminds me of spiritual housecleaning which is far more important, and Richard Hotchkin writes on Crosswalk.com, “Out with Clutter and Clatter.” I’m sure we can all identify with clutter in our homes, those piles that take up space and can become an eyesore. We had a neighbor years ago who had so much clutter, you couldn’t walk through her house and eventually it had to be bulldozed to the ground. Now we may not be that extreme but I’m sure we all have habits, relationships, comforts etc. that take up space in our hearts. Clutter is anything that gets in the way of our relationship with the Lord. Hotchkin goes on to also describe clatter as thoughts and words that don’t sound like Jesus; you know, complaining and negativity and thoughtless remarks. They need to go also, so we can make room for the Lord and all the new things He has for us as well. Sometimes what we hang onto might not seem bad in itself, but if it consumes our time and thoughts, it is clutter. I often reward myself, after writing a devotional by playing a quick game of Scrabble online; but if I spent the day doing that, it would be clutter and get in the way of my relationship with the Lord. For each of us the clutter and clatter may look different, but we all need to deal with it.
  I have news for you though; each time I finish one room in the apartment, I notice that other rooms and cupboards and closets need attention; it is a continuous project. But it is God’s grace and love for us that the Holy Spirit reveals those things in our lives so we might get rid of them and make room for Him. Paul says in II Cor. 5:17 that we are a new creation in Christ and the old has passed away and the fresh and new has come! Let us not hang on to the old that takes up space! Like the words of the familiar song that Emily Elliott wrote in 1864,” O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; there is room in my heart for Thee.”
  Challenge for today: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your clutter and clatter, and to get rid of it!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 4, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy Labor Day! Hope you take time to celebrate. We are home now after a fun time at the lake. We enjoyed a wiener roast with about 20 relatives one evening, went to our former church and dinner at Ann’s afterwards, and then headed home when the thermometer reached 100 degrees! 
I am making egg dishes and cookies and then we are going for our walk on the trail early before it heats up again. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Happy Labor Day to you! Perhaps today each of us will give some thought to the work we do and also rest on this national Holiday from our work. This morning I read about what Mark Roberts of Fuller Seminary writes about work beginning with how God was the first worker in creating the heavens and the earth and all that is in it, including us…and it was all good! God worked 6 days but then on the seventh day He rested from His work. He left us a great rhythm for us to follow also.

Work is good but like my mom use to say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!’ We need balance in our lives or we will actually get exhausted, bored, and less sharp when we work continuously. We can thank the Lord for the ways we experience His goodness in our work but then also take some time off from the constant pressures and to relax and play.

I thought I would share with you the prayer that Roberts gave for today:

“Gracious God, thank you for what we learn about work from Genesis. Thank you for being the first worker. Thank you for doing good work. Thank you for creating us in your image. Thank you for creating us to be workers and for giving us good work to do. Thank you for resting on the seventh day, giving us the gift of sabbath.

Help me, I pray, to see how I experience goodness in my work. Teach me to take delight in this and to give you thanks.

Help me also, Lord, to see where my work falls short of what you intended from the beginning. May I be committed to doing all I can to help those with whom I work to be treated as beings created in your image, starting with my colleagues and direct reports. 

In the classic words of St. Ignatius, when it comes to my work, ‘Grant, Lord, that all my intentions, actions, and operations be directed purely to your praise and your service.’ Amen.”

Challenge for today: Thank the Lord for the gift of work and find a new way to relax and rest. 

July 19, 2023

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                   
 Hope you have a wonderful day! The apartment is full of aroma as I just finished making more cookies on a stick and egg dishes. Soon I am going to Aldi’s and my exercise class. Then tonight is Bible study at church.                                                                                                                                           
   Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                                       
  As followers of Jesus, the telltale sign we belong to Him is to live a life of love. Our greatest joy is found in knowing God loves us and it should be evidenced in the lives we live.  We can do all sorts of sacrificial things for the Lord, but as it says in I Cor. 13, that if we don’t do it out of love, it is useless and accounts for nothing, nada!  Like Paul says in verse 3 that if we give away everything we have, but don’t have love, we gain nothing! But if we do it with love our actions will cause others to be blessed and bring glory to the Lord. So let us pay careful attention to our attitude in giving.     
  I was reading in the book, “Reclaiming Love”, and Ajith Fernando writes of ways we often give even sacrificially but yet without love. Perhaps we will see ourself in what he has to say. We might be like the one who gives for merit and to earn favor, with the expectation to prosper and reap more in return. That is not love! Or maybe we give out of a sense of duty and obligation, that is not love. We do the right thing in helping others but with a judgmental spirit towards them. We can’t call that love. Or maybe we give without identifying with the very ones we serve, making the other feeling inferior by our attitude. Not love either!  Or are we giving at times to avoid getting involved? It seems easier to give our finances than to actually spend time helping someone learn how to budget and live within their means etc. Fernando also says we shouldn’t give for recognition from others, like having our name on a pew or a plaque on a building. Or giving with a competitive spirit to outgive someone else. Is that love?  There are also times, we are not to give even though asked. Just as a child demanding something and getting his way if he cries loud enough, there are times it is more loving to withhold for their own good. That is love.                                               
  We must remember that all that we have is from the Lord and it belongs to Him and we should willingly give to others as He directs us. We can never ever repay the debt of love we owe the Lord for He gave everything for us.                                                                                                                                     Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how and when you should give and let it be motivated by His love.                                                                                                                                      
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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