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 36)

September 27, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had an enjoyable weekend. We have had a great time at Mark’s, enjoying family time together. We  played many games with our grandsons and loved having a campfire down by the stream, watching a good movie, eating lots of good food etc. Today we went to their church and heard a great sermon and then out to an Asian restaurant to eat. Tomorrow we start our trip homeward and plan to take our time. We appreciate prayers again for our safety.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are in uncertain times and need to be deeply rooted in the Lord to be able to stand firm in the days ahead. But that is not a cause to fear but rather to keep our eyes on the Lord and walk closely with Him. When the winds of adversity come, our roots need to be buried deep so we don’t get overcome and fall. 
When we were at Mark’s house in N.C., we were in ah of all the beautiful trees on their property that they just acquired. They had a landscaper come out to help them with their 5 acres of woods, and he gave them the good news that they have a couple trees on their land that are extremely old, like over 400 years old. He said that any time they wanted to sell the wood they would get a very good price as the wood is very valuable. Think of the root system those trees must have to have withstood all the elements for all these years and are still vibrant with green leaves.
There are more than 36 trees mentioned in the Bible and they were used for various purposes. We read of familiar ones like oak trees or olive trees, or the mention of the acacia tree of which the Ark was made from. God also used the sound in the top of the Balsam trees to let David know it was time that he was to attack the Philistines. We read the description from Psalm 1 of the blessed person who finds his delight in the Lord and it says in verse 3, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
What about us? Do we want to be like those trees along the stream that remain strong even into our old age? If so, we must let our roots go deep into the Lord and spend time in His word and get our daily instruction from Him. We can also memorize His Word and hide it in our hearts so it is available to us even in the stormy times. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us recall just the right verse to fit a need we may have at the exact moment. If we store up spiritual food in the good times we can go through the dry times, without drying up and withering.
Challenge for today: Spend time drinking deeply of the Word.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

September 25, 2021

Dear Ones,

Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We are having such fun here in N.C and playing games with the grandkids is helping us feel young! (or maybe old!) We played lots of outdoor games yesterday and this morning have some indoor ones as well. They have a stream flowing through their land so we plan to spend some time helping in the clean up near the water. So  beautiful here.  Please pray for our friend Marlene who fell and broke her hip and will be having surgery at 10:30 this morning.

Devotions from Judy’s heart

I love the word GRACE and everything about it! It is so wonderful to know that we are loved by God, not because we do everything right, but because of who He is. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. It is a gift as it says in Eph. 2:8 (ESV), “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

It brings a song to mind that was written by Julia Johnson in 1910 and put to music by Daniel Towner. It begins with:“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord/ Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, /Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured/There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt/ Grace, grace, God’s grace/Grace that will pardon and cleanse within/Grace, grace, God’s grace/Grace that is greater than all our sin.” It doesn’t matter what we have done in our past, God will forgive us if we humbly ask. I’m sure we all can think of many things that we wish we had never done; but no matter what they are, it will never exceed God’s grace to us! Just think of how great that is!

Years ago, I read Philip Yancey’s book, What’s so amazing About Grace? Yancy was interviewed recently and he said that the message of grace is so important right now as we are so divided in our country. But even though we may disagree with others on issues we can still show love and be dispensers of grace, remembering that we have received grace. It is possible to hold our values without compromise, while not condoning others with contrary beliefs, yet do it in a grace-filled way. Listening to others can help us see where they are coming from and expand our outlook on things, rather than just trying to win an argument. We must especially practice grace within our families and continually ask ourselves what do we need to forgive.Yancey describes a picture of God’s grace like that of a mountain stream that begins on a high mountain peak. But the stream always flows to the lowest part and touches the poor, the disabled, the prodigals and all of us that are undeserving.Let us always be amazed by His grace and then let it flow out from us to others.

Challenge for today: Share His grace with all who touch your life.

Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 24, 2021

Dear Ones,
Happy beautiful fall weekend! We got to Mark’s yesterday afternoon and in time to go to John Mark’s soccer game. He played well but team lost. Emoji We enjoyed time with the family and Andrea’s folks came for supper also. We got to see their home within Mark’s house that is beautiful. The whole house is lovely and so spacious and Andrea will have a ball entertaining! Today Al and Mark are going to Panera’s and then all four of us are going out for lunch while kids are in school. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we sometimes get bored with our daily routine and think we are not doing much for God? I was reading about what Karl Rahner, a theologian and prolific writer, wrote about in his book, Encounters with Silence. He notices that his life is so full of trivialities and doesn’t seem to have a lot of eternal value. Like many of us, we have many conversations with others that often seem empty, and activities that also seem pointless and we wonder if it has importance in the light of eternity. Karl is so honest with God and wants all his daily activities to lead him closer to the Lord.  Maybe like him, we do the same routines over again and get so busy with the everyday things that we lose sight of the Lord and forget about Him. In many ways we end up feeling robbed of closeness to God and that doesn’t need to be.
 Karl comes to the conclusion that he can find God in every place and in each and every thing he does during the day. Whether his days were filled with work or rest, he could experience God and seek Him in both times.  Likewise, in the unremarkable ordinary things we may do during the day, we can experience what is most important, seeking the Lord and spending the day together.
God comes to all of us directly and indirectly and we can enjoy His presence when we are busy serving Him or even as we are doing the mundane routine things.
Every day should be the Lord’s day! In everything we do, in the middle of our tasks, He is there beside us, and our work will not be meaningless. He meets us right where we are and He will show us if we start veering off.
Like David, we can pray as he did in Psalm 16:11 (ESV), “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” As we invite God into our day and ask Him to show us the path He has for us, we will enjoy His presence; even our routine activities can bring us closer to Him.
Challenge for today: Give your ordinary day to the Lord and let Him fill it with the grace of His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

September 23, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you will enjoy a peace filled day! We are in Knoxville, TN and soon going to leave for Statesville, N.C. to see Mark’s family and their new house. We want to get there in time to unpack and go to John Mark’s soccer game which is an hour away. Excited! Yesterday we went to Gethsemini Monastery in Kentucky, situated among the rolling hills, and shopped in their bookstore. We got to Knoxville for an early supper at Cracker Barrel before a nice swim and walk. Lots of traffic and always thankful when we get to our motel! 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What is our number one priority in life?  Is it our desire to know God in a deeper way? Augustine said we are defined by what we desire; if it is not God, we get bogged down by lesser things.  Our desires influence all the choices we make each day, how we spend our time, our money, our influence etc. But why do we spin our wheels and get distracted by other things? St. Benedict use to ask candidates for the monastic life, “What are you seeking?” What might we also ask ourselves, what is our deepest desire?  We are in this world for such a short time and when we know the Lord, each day can be a day that draws us closer to the One who we will spend eternity with.
If knowing God is our deepest desire, we will prioritize our time to be able to spend time with Him in reading the Word, listening to Him in silence, worshiping Him, helping others, and enjoying fellowship with others in the family of God. King David says in Psalm 63:1 (ESV), “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is not water.” This is a time to know Him in deeper ways as it seems to be getting darker in our culture with stormy times upon us. I read today how fisherman notice that fish feed more aggressively before a storm. Also, that sharks seem to have a sixth sense and when a hurricane is coming, they tend to swim deeper. Isn’t that what we need to do? To spiritually go deeper and feed on His promises for the stormy days ahead. King Solomon said in Prov. 10:24-25, “What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.”
Let us go deeper with the Lord as we face whatever comes upon us in the future; for we can only stand in the strength and power that He gives us.
Challenge for today: Spend some time considering your priorities and write down what you are seeking most of all.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 22, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine! It is raining here in Elizabethtown, KY and predicted for the next couple days. We had a restful night and I got a nice swim in when we arrived here. It was later than planned as we were in bumper to bumper traffic in Louisville.Emoji  Soon we are going to head to Gethsemini Monastery before continuing on with our trip to N.C. Thank you for prayers for our journey. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Let us not ever forget that in the darkest times of our lives that God is right there with us. When we feel broken and alone, He is present and offers comfort and hope.
Ellie Holcomb, award-winning Christian singer released her latest album, Canyon, in which she shares how God meets us in those darkest times and brings healing. She personally went through a deep healing time from wounds of her past and then not long after, experienced effects of a tornado that hit her neighborhood, followed by lockdowns by COVID-19. But through those times of pain, she learned how to grieve and lament and experienced God’s tenderness.
Once COVID seemed to lessen, she and her husband took a trip to the Grand Canyon, where she was greatly inspired and a new album resulted. They camped on the riverbank of the Northern Rim of the canyon and rafted out from there. The guide they had told of how creation declares God’s glory and also rehearsed the story of the canyon walls made from of the landslides, mudslides, earthquakes and volcanoes with the huge divide in the middle. But in the depths of the canyon there is a river that runs through and Ellie said, “There is a current of God’s love that runs deeper than our deepest ache or sorrow that will carry us when it feels like we can’t carry on any longer. It will carry us back to the place where we know and can remember that even when we’re broken, we’re beloved, and we have a place where we belong. It’ll carry us to a place where we know that we belong to each other.”
The experience in the canyon left her feeling like God’s love was as big as the ocean for she personally experienced His presence in the midst of pain, and really knew God was right there with her. One night while camping she woke up and looked up to the sky. Because they were a mile into the surface of the earth, the darkness was so great but the stars seemed brighter and closer than ever. Just as her song Paradox says that God meets us in the darkest nights of our soul, the darker the night the brighter the stars shine!
Like Ellie, we all have dark times but as the Lord said to Moses, He says to us in Exodus 33:14   (ESV) “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Challenge for today: Let the river of His love flow through your deepest sorrows. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 21, 2021

Dear Ones,
May you wake up to a day of soaring  with peace! We are in Coralsville and will be leaving soon to get on the road again. We had good travel weather yesterday and a refreshing evening that you can read about. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes the Lord just wants us to enjoy Him and words don’t seem necessary for we simply rest in Him.  He reads even our thoughts and knows what is in our hearts.
When we arrived in Coralville late yesterday afternoon we went to our favorite motel and quickly unpacked and went on a long winding walk in the woods that bordered a small stream. Al and I talked together as we walked along and when we got back to the motel, I swam by myself in the pool that looked out on the woods and sky. My heart was so full and I found myself so thankful to the Lord for the beauty on our trip of the autumn colors, and his protection as He watched over us on our journey. As I swam, I noticed the clouds were not ones I normally have seen but looked like angel wings, many of them so delicate and beautiful. I know the Bible says we have ministering angels and that is a comforting thought. I was pondering what the Lord may be saying to me and remembered that I had gotten that morning Psalm 91; I recalled verse 4 as the Psalmist said, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge.”  But that was not all, for then all of a sudden, I saw an eagle soaring high up in the sky. It was a majestic sight and one that made me feel so carefree in my spirit. Wouldn’t we all like to be like that eagle, that seemingly without effort, just soars about as we trust the Lord for all things?
The Lord said in Isaiah 40:31 (ESV), “But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 
May we not get earth bound with all our concerns but wait for the Lord and get our strength from Him.
You may also know the familiar song,
  “And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
   Bear you on the breath of dawn.
   Make you to shine like the sunAnd hold you in the palm of His hand.”
 
Challenge for today: Give the Lord all that concerns you and soar, soar, soar!
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

September 20, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a lovely weekend enjoying the fall colors. We are going to take off shortly for North Carolina and plan to spend the night in Coralville, Iowa, at our favorite hotel. They have a nice walking trail there and also a pool so we can get our exercise after the long hours in the car. We appreciate and are thankful for your prayers for our safety as we travel. It is storming out right now so hope we drive out of it.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Fear is something we all wrestle with and has no natural release valves. I was reading from “Wrestling with God by Ronald Rolheiser and he shares what Bieke, the late Belgian spiritual writer, had to say about her struggles. She was facing a terminal illness at the age of 19 and wrote about how she was tormented by sadness, anger, and fear. She felt we can handle sadness and anger easier than the fear. Sadness can be expressed through grieving and tears that soften our hearts; we cry and we feel better.  We may deal with anger through expressing it by punching bags, exercise, shouting etc. and get some release.  But fear is not something that has an escape valve that will lighten it. Fear can’t be taken out on someone else, but we have to live with it and endure it until we are willing to give it to God.
 Many people live with fear of death because of the unknown. As a nurse many years ago, I saw the difference of those who were ready to meet the Lord from those who did not know Him. Those that were afraid had their call light on all the time, and were filled with anxiety. But those who were waiting to go home to glory had a sense of peace.  Jesus came to rid us of our fears and so many times in scripture it says to Fear Not.  
We can probably all remember fears we had as a child and mostly overcome them as we grew up. But there is also a healthy fear of God when we have a loving sense of awe and reverence for Him. We may fear we may not be faithful to what He asks of us, or that we don’t trust Him enough, or that we may disappoint Him, but that is not the same as being afraid of Him. Jesus doesn’t want us afraid but that we live in holy fear like David who was called a friend of God. God is merciful, kind, forgiving and good and we do not have to fear. As it says in Isaiah 43:1-2 (The Message), “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God.”  He goes on to say that we are precious to Him, honored and loved by Him. Let us not fear; reverence yes, but not be afraid.
Challenge for today: Give all your fears to the Lord and trust Him with everything.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

September 18, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine and peace! I have been cleaning, scrubbing, washing, baking cookies and packing for our trip. This will be my last e-mail from here and the rest will be on our trip as I am able to write. We hope to get to North Carolina in time for John Mark’s soccer game! We would appreciate prayers for our safety as we may be gone a couple weeks. Thank you so much for prayers for Lily as she is home again and doing well. PTL!  (Perhaps even better since she saw her boyfriend!)Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As things get darker in our world, how vital it is to let our light shine. But how do we do that in today’s culture that leans more and more away from God? I read recently on Crosswalk.com what Mark Roberts had to say about how important it is to let God’s light shine through us that others may see Him. Jesus said in Luke 11:34 (ESV), “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.” Jesus wasn’t talking about our physical eyes but rather our conscience, knowing right from wrong, and projecting what is within our souls into the world.  He cautions us to take care that the light in us does not become darkness by compromising with the world. This happens when we accept the world’s morals, and reject His truth. Maybe we don’t think we will get caught and that it doesn’t make a difference but it does. Young people today are asking what is right and what is wrong? What do they see as examples around them?
Today, more than ever before, we are being closely watched by others There are surveillance cameras everywhere and they are often hidden in hotels, bathrooms, offices etc. Our behavior is caught for others to see and we may end up feeling ashamed; but of course, the Lord always sees even in the darkest places and we can’t hide from Him.                                                                                                                                     But what kind of message do we want to send to the world though our words and actions? If our eyes are the windows of our soul, then what is in our hearts will come out in our words and behavior. Hopefully we desire to be full of His love and grace and for others to see His light in us and in our actions. Let us be fully committed to the Lord and live according to His will and reflect His character to all those around us.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to strengthen you to live for Him without compromise.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

                       

September 17, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a great weekend. Everything seems to get more colorful each day. This morning I wrote letters, made some side dishes and did some packing. Lots of details when you on a trip. Lily is making good progress and will be taking the plane home this afternoon so please pray it may go well for her.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
When we come to faith in God, we are called to be His instruments of grace; that means, as St. Francis of Assisi would say, we are to be the bearers of God’s love, the pardoners, the bringers of hope, the comforters of those who grieve. It is not always easy to be that, and when someone lives it out in their life, we feel divinely inspired by their example. We are not to excuse ourselves, saying that we are unfit or too unimportant to be God’s instruments, but rather that we all live out the Jesus way in a variety of ways. The most important thing is for us to be willing.
I was reading of the life of Alan Paton, a white Anglican clergyman who wrote Instrument of Thy Peace, which was based on St. Francis’ well known prayer. He writes in a language of forgiveness and love, and encourages us to be active instruments that are willing to give our life, our gifts, and our strength to be bearers of hope.
Paton writes of a man who leaves prison to go back into the world for he paid for his crime. The prison chaplain assures him that his past is done and forgiven. But when he returns to the world, he finds that they have not forgiven him nor forgotten his past; so, he despairs and begins to doubt that God has forgiven him. That should not happen among Christians for we are to forgive others, even as we have been forgiven.
Today we live in a cancel culture and there are conflicts over the smallest issues. It makes for lots of broken relationships and we seem to be a graceless society. But as God’s instruments we are to forgive others and give up the right to get even. Jesus said in Matt. 6:14-15 (ESV), “But if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We all have the same need for forgiveness and Martin Luther King said, “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
Just recently at our weekly Bible Study we all wrote encouraging words on a card to a young man who was at Teen Challenge and accepted the Lord. He has a wife and children but is due to go to prison for a year to pay for his offense. We want to commit to pray for him and to let him know he is forgiven, and that he would be an instrument also, that God will use to win others even while in prison.
Let us all be His instruments of grace with forgiving hearts of love to all.
Challenge for today: Be willing to be extend grace and forgive the next time you get offended.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 16, 2021

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! This morning I studied, started some packing, and went downstairs for donuts. This afternoon we have Bible study and tonight I have our women’s Bible study at church. 
Lily is doing well but of course dealing with pain. Tomorrow they are scheduled to fly back to home to Kansas so getting on the plane etc may be challenging. So grateful for all your prayers. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
A real test of our love for God is seen in our obedience. When He speaks, do we listen and then obey or do we go about our life simply doing our own thing? Lately as I have been reading the Word, I see how many times it says God spoke and then the person did what He said. Before Jesus departed from this earth, He said to his followers in John 14:21 (The Message), “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” Not loving means not keeping His word. We see this in children who refuse to obey and it only gets them into big messes. 
This morning I was reading in I Samuel 15 when Samuel tells Saul that when he goes to war against Amalek, they were to totally destroy the people and all of their cattle and sheep, donkeys and camels. Nothing was to remain as they were under a holy ban. But Saul does not completely obey and saves King Agag along with some of the choice sheep and cattle. God reveals to Samuel what Saul has done and how sorry He is that he is king. When Samuel heads to see Saul, he hears the bleating of the sheep and mooing of the cattle. Saul makes excuses and says he is going to use the animals in sacrifice to God. God does not want partial obedience but total. Because of Saul’s disobedience the kingdom was torn away from him and was later given to David. Samuel tells Saul that God says what He means and means what He says. 
Our disobedience can be very costly! When it says in the Word that something we want to do is wrong, we don’t have to question it, it is not right! But sometimes we are not sure what God is saying and we need to listen carefully and then do whatever He says. Even something good but delayed and out of God’s timing, can become something negative. We need to obey now as His ways are so much higher than our ways. What if Noah had waited until it started to rain before he began to build the ark? Let us do all that the Lord calls us to do and do it in His timing with hearts of love.
Challenge for today: Please the Lord with your obedience even in the smallest things today.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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