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: Whispers (Page 1 of 15)

January 22, 2021

Dear Ones, 
Happy weekend to you! It’s sunny out but quite cold today. Will see if we brave the cold and walk the trail later. This morning I baked two kinds of cookies and did some studying. This afternoon we have been invited to friends for coffee! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Prayer is powerful and I wonder if we know what a difference our prayers can make. How often do we recite the Lord’s prayer or mumble some words at bedtime without realizing we are talking to the Creator of the universe. Sometimes the Lord lets us tangibly see the effects of our prayers in a dramatic way. Such was the case I read of in Ann Spangler’s devotional book as she shared about a specific instance in Fern Nichols life when she felt called to pray for her husband and their 10-year- old son. They were on a canoe trip with friends in Canada and Fern was led to intercede for them. She didn’t shrug off the need to pray but paid attention and for an hour prayed through scriptures of protection over them and also promises of God. Psalm 91:14 (NIV) stood out to her, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” That night Fern knew why she had prayed so fervently, as she got a call from her husband explaining their struggle he and their son had that afternoon. Their canoe capsized in raging waters of the Fraser River, and for an hour they and their friends were in the icy water. A helicopter finally rescued them and the paramedic told her husband that their son would have died from hypothermia had it been just 10 more minutes in the frigid water. Fern realized that the very time they were their fighting for their lives, was the same time she had been praying! Four people were saved through her prayers and how thankful she was she paid attention to the Spirit calling her to pray. Perhaps we can all think of instances when we have suddenly been led to stop and pray and later find out how the Lord intervened. When our son was in his teens, I was awakened to pray for him and later he shared how he had witnessed such a great power of evil and was able to get set free. We don’t always know the reasons we are to pray for someone or something but we need to respond. Paul told the Ephesian church to pray in the Spirit at all times and to stay alert and persist in prayers. Let us be faithful and persistent in prayer!
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to use you as a prayer warrior and respond to the Spirit when He prompts you.  
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 21, 2021

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is good to remember when we go through stressful times such as unrest in our nation, COVID etc, that we are not alone. God is our helper! He is with us in our midst of whatever is happening. On Crosswalk.com., Julie Barrier wrote of how many of the hymns we know today were written by people of faith in the midst of troubles, wars, and plagues. When I read the stories of what the writers were experiencing at the time, I know the words will be even more meaningful when sung; they wrote about that which they knew and experienced. Pastor Martin Rinckart composed a song that we probably all know, and it was written in the midst of the Bubonic plague. Martin was the son of a poor coppersmith and became a Lutheran pastor sent to Eilenberg, Germany, which was a very small town ravaged by the Thirty Years War. He pastored there for 31 years under great hardship. The Swedish army set siege around their city wall and the whole town was overrun by refugees looking for a safe place. Shortly after, the Bubonic plague broke out and almost 5,000 died within a year. Food was scarce and many starving people showed up at his door. He could barely feed his own family and yet gave what he could away.  Pastor Rinckart took care of the sick and dying and was the only Pastor left to bury the dead, which included his own wife.  Sometimes he performed up to 50 funerals a day and but even in the midst of all this sorrow, he wrote the words to Now Thank We All Our God. You have most likely sung in in church too. The words are:

1.“Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

2.     Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

3.     All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven—
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.”

May we trust God whatever our circumstances, and even in the midst. give thanks.
Challenge for today: Spend some time thanking the Lord for where He has you right now.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 20,2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day and experiencing His peace. This morning I made bars and went to my exercise class. This afternoon we are going to a party for a little 14-year-old dog, Abby, and having Birthday cake. Then we go to the Soup Kitchen to serve. Oh, just got a call that our grandson is on his way so will put some S.F. pizza in the oven for him. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How often are we like little children that saucily talk back to someone who has been hurtful, hit someone who has socked first, or stomp on something that is valued because they did it to something of ours? But it only escalates things and often mom or dad has to come and referee and give time outs. But isn’t that what grownups are doing now, returning evil for evil? That is not God’s way as His way is exactly opposite of the world’s way of handling things. Darkness can’t drive out darkness and each one of us who know the Lord are to let our lights shine wherever we are. One candle in the darkness makes a difference. But today it seems like even Christians are responding no different than how the world reacts. We are to be lights, and to fight the battle in the spiritual realm. Jesus had to help his disciples understand that in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Judas betrayed him. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter took out his sword and cut off the ear of the High priest’s servant. Jesus healed the man but he told Peter in Matt. 26:52 (The Message), “Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords.” He goes on to tell him that if he wanted, he could ask His Father to send more than 12 legions of angels to help him. Jesus lays it out quite clearly in the sermon on the Mount of how we should respond. He said in Luke 6, “I tell you, love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person …If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.  Live generously…Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never –I promise– regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.”  Let us pray and seek the Lord that we may respond Jesus way. It is His love that will drive out the hate and bring peace.
Challenge for today: Spend some time reading the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)  and ask God to bring change to your heart where needed.
Blessings on your day and prayers for our nation  and love, Judy

January 19, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day and experiencing His peace. I made choc chip cookies on a stick this morning and took down for our coffee time, as they have been asking for them latelyEmoji! I made starch free pizzas that we had for lunch, but I can’t say they as yummy as  regular pizza. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How do we discern what the Lord is up to in our lives? We all want to make good decisions but although some decisions may seem easy to make, it is not just about deciding with our intellect but to know what God is saying. Our false self wants to get in the way so we need to also listen with our heart and gut as well as our mind. I pray often for discernment as decisions need to be made and I seek to know how God is leading. There are times something doesn’t just feel right; even though I may not know why, my spirit is saying no. At such times, I like to wait and pray and ask for discernment. Sometimes we need input from others and God can give us spiritual directors that help us sort out things. It could be your pastor, a spiritual friend, and for Al and I, it is our spouse. We have a good friend who has taken Spiritual Direction classes and is called to be a spiritual director. She seems to know just the right questions to ask and listens well. Just recently her husband who is in his 80’s, has gone to his Pastor for spiritual direction and we are never too old to do that. A Spiritual director does not tell us what to do but they listen without judgment, ask questions and in the process we are helped to discern and to get in touch with what is underneath and identify our motivations. There are times the spiritual director may share their own experience but the focus is mostly on the directee. They are much like a sounding board. Sometimes the questions asked just help us become aware of what God is wanting to do in our life. When Al and I go on our walk each afternoon, we ask each other questions and try to help one another listen to the Lord. One question that Thomas Merton use to ask young novices, “What do you really want out of life? What’s stopping you from getting that?” Those are questions we need to ponder as we discover God’s call on our lives and grow in awareness of His presence. I know I desire to spend time in His presence and to recognize Him in every day events. Sometimes it is good to pause in what is happening and savor that moment, knowing He is present. I did that when I was with my former Bible Study group and went home feeling so blessed. God gives us deep desires and we need to pay attention. He has put within each of us all the gifts we need to pursue those dreams. When we are constantly on our phones and on social media, we can miss what God is up to in our lives. Let take time to stop, look, and listen throughout our day and respond to His grace.
Challenge for today: Ponder what God is up to in your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 18, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. It is a special day today as it is our daughter’s birthday. We plan to celebrate this afternoon as I have a big chocolate cake made with 14 eggs in it! No flour!  This morning I made porkchops smothered with apples and went to Aldi’s and my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Have you ever been really really thirsty? I mean where you felt parched and longed for a cup of cold water? I remember once when Al and I were in the mountains and away from any source of food and water. We went to ghost towns and out of the way places and there were no McDonalds or any kind of a campground faucets. I was so thirsty in the hot sun and came home with a bad headache. I needed water and couldn’t find it as we were not in the right places to find any. But more sobering is our spiritual thirst that cannot be quenched by things of this world. It can only be satisfied in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Until that happens, we all have restless hearts that are dissatisfied. I am reading Gerald Sittser’s book, “Water from a Deep Well”, and he writes about the lives of saints. They are remembered for their faith like St Augustine who lived in AD 354-43. When he was a teen, he left the faith of his mother and indulged in all sorts of wild fleshly pleasures. But they didn’t satisfy and he later surrendered to the Lord and confessed, “God must always be first in our lives because God is the center, source and end of all existence.” Professor Sittser also writes about the martyrs who didn’t hesitate to pay the ultimate price of their lives by confessing Christ. They knew that life in this world is not the most important life there is but what is yet to come. One such martyr was Perpetua, who was young, married mother to a new born and imprisoned because of her faith. When she was marched to the amphitheater for her death, she was calm and radiant and sang a hymn, knowing she would soon be ushered into glory. But even those back then who despised Christianity admitted that Christians obeyed the laws, took care of their families well, blessed others even when persecuted, did good, took care of the poor, and showed love to all no matter their status. We know today that Christians are dying for their faith all over the world . Some disappear in the night and others are beheaded. Martyrdom is not a choice but a calling and a gift that God gives only to some and is a witness to His grace. People in our country may lose their jobs for Christ, but very few have lost their lives. But let none of us be silent about our faith but share it with those who are parched and thirsty and need the Living Water! May streams of living water flow from within us. (John 7:38)
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord for holy boldness to share Him with others He brings into your life.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 16, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. No more snow here for now.Emoji This morning I wrote letters, made egg dishes and went  went to church  for our Women’s Bible study. We had a good turnout and good discussion and study. We are getting 2 free meals today and should be arriving any minute! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As a child, I memorized, along with my siblings, the scripture verse from Heb. 4:12, only I will quote it to you from the Message translation. “God means what He says. What He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.” My mom, by example, taught us how important it is to be in the Word and let it speak to us. Like most of you reading my daily devotionals, we have many Bibles in our house of various translations. I use several different ones each day so that what is old and familiar will make new to me what the Lord is saying to me now. It is important to not just read scripture but make it our own. They are not just words but a true story of our sinful condition and God’s remedy. We find stories of so many heroes that had flaws and yet God used them to bring healing or even save a nation. It gives us all hope of what God can do through us if we are open and willing and how He forgives our past. I think of the apostle Paul and how he persecuted Christians and put them to death; and then when receiving the Lord, he was used of God to bring so many into His kingdom. It is most important not only that we just read the Word but that we apply it to our lives. It is a really more like learning to listen to what the Word is saying to us and asking how it impacts our lives. How do I need to change? It is also important to hear the Word preached as we go to church and along with others, listen to what is being said. We shouldn’t be ho-hum about this but expect that God has a specific word for us. Maybe not every Sunday, but there are times that God’s word seems to hit our exact need and it’s like He is directly speaking to our hearts. Some people have accused Al of preaching about them, as if he knows some secret in their lives. We may not have a fiery profound preacher but if he is basing his sermon on the Word, we can expect that God will have something to say to us. We should take that word given us and apply it to our everyday life. It is also good to memorize scripture as it seems to become part of us and to feed us, especially in situations when we need a word from God right then. One young dating couple we know are memorizing scriptures together and what a wonderful way to be drawn together in the Spirit. This week our pastor asked us to read the book of Judges and I wonder what God will have to say to me through it.
Challenge for today: Read a portion of scripture and really listen to what God is saying personally to you
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

January 15, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! The snow has quit and left us with a beautiful white landscape. This morning I cleaned our apartment and made a pot of stew and cinnamon raisin bread. The house is full of wonderful aroma!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sound the alarm! I still remember in grade school when a teacher asked me what I would do if there was a fire. I responded with saying I would go in the hall and break the glass and push the alarm button and he said, “Do it now!” I did what I was told and fortunately it was just a drill but if it had been a fire, it would have been the quickest way to evacuate the school. We also have alarms that go off in our Apartment complex and make a great deal of noise, like early one morning. Al and I were awake but most people here were sleeping in. We dressed and went downstairs where some others were gathered until we got the all clear. Today the alarm is sounding for the church to wake up from our spiritual slumber. It seems that the enemy wants to hush the voice of the church who stands for God’s truth and love. The church has compromised in a variety of ways to the culture and many have chosen to just sit on the sidelines and be silent. Sadly, we have become lukewarm and passive and neglected the calling God has given us. But can you now hear the alarm sounding for the church to wake up from its slumber and complacency and become bold witnesses and warriors?  I believe that this time of unrest and chaos can be used to strengthen the church if we heed the alarm. We are being called together which may take the form of small groups meeting in homes where we discern with others what God is saying. Just like it was comforting to gather with others in the early morning hour here at our apt, we can be strengthened as we gather to hear what God is calling us to do and not waver. But we can’t just play church but we must rise up and be the church that Jesus loves and gave His life for. I think it is time for us to be on our knees and to seek His forgiveness for how we have strayed, compromised and become lukewarm. We have to decide and choose who we really want to serve and then point others to the way. As the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church in Eph. 1 (The Message), may it also be a prayer for us, “to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him—endless energy, boundless strength!..,at the center of all this, Christ rules the church!” May we refuse to be silent and let our voices be heard and actions express our love for the Lord. Let us wake up and become the church!
Challenge for today: Join with others and discerningly pray for the church to become focused and strong.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
 

 

January 14, 2021

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Forgiveness is not always easy and we sometimes need reminders of Jesus words to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Perhaps one of the hardest things to forgive may be the betrayal of a secret affair of a mate who is later found out. I was reading an article in Just Between Us magazine by Lysa Terkeurst, who has experienced that pain and shares about how forgiveness is like a double-edged word, and often seems impossible. Her heart was shattered and yet she has lived out forgiveness over time and warns us to never refuse to give forgiveness. If we harbor hurt and hang on, a hardness forms in our own hearts. She said it isn’t that forgiveness hinges on our efforts as we grit our teeth, but rather something to participate in so that His grace can actually flow through us. That means we have to lean into what Jesus has already done and cooperate with His work of forgiveness in both giving it and receiving it. Of course, it is much easier to experience God’s forgiveness to us but it doesn’t stop there, we need to forgive others.  Yes, we have all been hurt and we have hurt others also.  If we don’t forgive, our hearts get calloused and bitter. In Eph. 4:32 (The Message), Paul says, “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” When we pray the Lord’s prayer we pray, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” God forgives us because of His great mercy and we are to pass it on to others. Just think that Jesus forgave those who spit on him, betrayed him, whipped him, crucified him etc. + We are to forgive freely as we have been forgiven. Let us not make excuses, but quickly ask forgiveness of the Lord and also of one another.  I read about Lysa at the close of her article, and she is the mother of 5, NY Times bestselling author, head of Proverbs 31 Ministries etc.; it leads me to believe God has healed her heart.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord if there are people in your life you haven’t forgiven and forgive from your heart.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

January 13, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day! I am getting my exercise in today as I cleaned all the blinds in our apartment, went to my fitness class and later Al and I will go for our walk. Al had the Band of Brothers this morning at church and went well.
Devotions from Judy’s heart,
It’s good for all of us to have a healthy rhythm to live by. Monasteries have a beautiful rhythm that alternates between work and prayer. We can learn from them as prayer can quiet us and centers us in the Lord, and work energizes us to make a difference in the world. Al and I have taken silent retreats at monasteries and we love to enter into the rhythm they live by. We can all get so caught up in our world that emphasizes work but neglects the important part of prayer. Jesus followed a rhythm as he would be ministering to people and healing the sick, but He also took time to go apart to pray. In Luke 6:12 (Amplified) it says, “He went up into a mountain to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God.” The next day he chose His disciples and when they came down from the mountain crowds gathered to be healed. If Jesus went apart to pray, how much more do we need to. Without prayer, our daily lives of work can become empty and be self-serving and even become an idol; many try to go from one thing to another with busy schedules so as to gain power and prestige. But when prayer is neglected, we lose focus and have no purpose. Then when we add prayer and dependency on the Lord, it gives value and eternal significance to our day. Some might wonder how can I add more to my busy day by adding prayer? But maybe we have that backwards and should plan our work around our times of prayer. We can get up a little earlier to pray for the day, adjust our schedules to His, and read scripture.  If we are having lunch with other Christians, we can pray together for needs of our work place. Or we can pause briefly during the day to pray for our family and those around us with whom we work. And on Sunday we can gather with others to worship but also take time to rest and play and get refreshed. When Monday rolls around we will find we are much more ready to work and the rhythm begins again. At bedtime it is also good to review our day to see how we did in being mindful of the Lord and shining our lights at work and helping others. Let us not be lopsided Christians that work only at the expense of prayer; let us instead have a wonderful rhythm of both.
Challenge for today: Spend some time accessing your rhythm and be willing to change where is  needed.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 12, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying your day and keep focused on the Lord. This morning I baked cookies and went to a strength building class and hope I won’t be sore later.Emoji We are blessed with another beautiful day and love to get out on the trail to walk.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Isn’t it wonderful to find a place of quiet peace when we are stressed or overcome by the fitful noise of the world? I smile when I hear of moms who have young children and so tired of their squabbling that they lock themselves in the bathroom to get a few moments of quiet. It’s like putting themselves in timeout so they get some peace. But there is a better way and like an old song goes, “There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God…There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God, a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.” We all need a place to go in this day of so much turmoil, when the news is given to cause fear, hate and a desire to get even, and leave people confused. The anxiety level is high as seen in the continual posts on Facebook. But our hope is not in this world, but in the Lord. That’s not to say we won’t suffer and that hard times aren’t coming but we can have peace even in the midst. Many of you have probably read what a pastor in China said some time ago to the believers in America. The Christians in China have been praying for God to bring persecution to America to filter the world and lukewarmness out of the hearts of His people. The church in China is very strong because of what they are willing to go through for their faith. Are we willing to stand for the Lord no matter what the cost? We must place our faith and hope in the Lord and not in any political process, but in the person of Jesus. In Psalm 118:8 (ESV) the Psalmist said, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” The Lord is unchanging in our changing world and He will always, always, be there for us and give us strength to go through whatever is sent. Let us not get down and lose courage but fix our eyes on the Lord. The Psalmist must have been felt down and overwhelmed for he says in Psalm 42 that his soul is discouraged and he feels God has forgotten him. But then he closes the Psalm in verse 11 (God’s Word) as he remembers that God is all he needs and says, “Put your hope in God, because I will still praise Him. He is my Savior and my God.” Let us live and walk in hope and peace and not be overcome by the world!
Challenge for today: Spend time thanking the Lord for the hope we have in Him and keep focused.
Blessings on  your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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