Canaan's Rest

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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“Man Down” or “Man Up”

Rollo Tomassi, a podcaster and writer has been concerned about the crisis in masculinity for years, maintains that modern psychology is failing men because “modern psychology is by women for women.”  Appearing on Dr. Phil, he said, “Since the start of the Sexual Revolution, we’ve told men to ‘man down‘; yet modern psychology’s prescription for men is ‘man up,’ but only insofar as it benefits women’s interests.”  He maintains that all proposed male solutions are “gender-swapping female solutions.” This phenomenon does not allow for “a uniquely male solution largely because to do so would mean acknowledging fundamental differences in men’s evolved psychologies.”  

Men learn from other men how to relate as men and to “act like men” (I Cor. 16:13). Our mothers and other women can only take us so far.  Men need to hear, feel, and experience the male mode of feeling and grief from other men.  After all, we are different from women.  But like many men, l learned a mostly female mode of relating and dealing with pain (my mother’s influence and being a heart-type guy).  Men need an “AA” type of small group where men can share their pain as men.  What is said often at an AA meeting is, “You are as sick as your secrets.” This is a truth that most men can only explore with other men. Why?  Because the feminine voice in culture is too often screaming for men to “man up” from a feminine perspective. 

Often when modern psychology promotes “positive masculinity” some form of “negative” masculinity must also exist.  But it needs to be shouted from the rooftops of every home that being a man is not in itself “toxic.”  The American Psychological Association claims there are no major differences between men and women.  The AMA now considers traditionally masculine qualities such as stoicism and competitiveness as psychologically harmful to men.  Be aware, modern psychology, in general, is failing men.  

Recently, the Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was interviewed on a major news outlet talking about too much “toxicity” in masculinity.  He vowed, “I am going to continue to use this platform every time I get to speak out against this toxic masculinity that is out there.”  He believes, “we’re kind of confused what it means to be a man, what it means to be masculine.”  

In my opinion, he did very little to help men in their confusion.  “You’ve got this trope out there where you have to be tough, and angry, and lash out to be strong.  I think it is just the opposite. Strength is how you show your love for people.  Strength is how you are for people and how you have their back and how you stick up for other people and pushing up and out against bullies.”  Again, we find in the Second Gentlemen’s perspective the unconcluded struggle between being tough and tender.  A man can be strong, determined, and resolved without being angry or vindictive.  But how can he?

Here is my simple advice: First, allow God to fashion your unique masculine soul.  Be open to God opening the flood gates of your soul.  Allow yourself to grieve your past, while giving yourself hope for tomorrow.  Healing of the soul takes time.

Secondly, allow God to shape your inner life to be a more compassionate, loving, sensitive man.  But this is vital: do it from your masculine soul, not shaped by outside feminine voices.  

Thirdly, build intimate fellowship with “soulful” men – men with open hearts.  Drink in the healthy masculine from other men. 

May 20, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend! The sun is shining brightly and hope you will be enjoying this day. Our granddaughter, Lily, graduated last night and the rain quit in time for the ceremony. PTL! I just made choc chip cookies on a stick and sweet potatoe rounds so the apt is filled with sweet aroma. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  The Lord has a calling for each of us and our life will be fulfilling if we are in the place God has for us. We can lose ourselves when we try to become what we think others expect of us and try to please them rather than God. We must ask ourselves if we want His will for our lives more than we want to please others and ourselves? And the truth of it is, we can never please everybody anyway and we will get very weary in the process if we try. Why not follow the One who knows and loves us best!
   Al and I live more of a monastic life as we spend time in quiet reading and writing and praying. We don’t have loud music on or the TV going until supper time when we watch the news. Not long ago, I spent a couple days from 9 until 3 making cards with friends, and I loved it but it is not my calling to do every day. I need time alone, to spend in the Word, to listen and to write. I have been doing it for over a dozen years and it has become a contemplative life. When I get too busy, I long for the quietness again.
  The Lord may be calling you to a life of outreach to the poor or giving nursing care to the sick; or maybe you are a listener to those who with heavy hearts etc. But one thing we are all called to do is to share the Good News by the way we live and speak.  I read Psalm 51 today from a modern Translation and in the 12th verse David says, “Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say.” 
   We may all need to make some changes in our lives if we are to know and please the Lord. Do we desire to become the person He wants us to be, then we know He will bring changes into our lives. Our part is to yield to Him each day, and say, “Not my will but yours!” Then we will find joy in His presence as not miss out on His plan for our life.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to show you where you have been compromising and seek His face and will daily.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy


May 19, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope it is a sunny one for all the fishermen. My swelling has gone down some and I will be in church Sunday even if I still look “tough!” Today I am cleaning as I have let some things go the past few days. I will try to send out the picture of the tree in my devotional today. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Springtime is a special time of marveling at the beauty of God’s creation. As I looked out our bedroom window this morning there is a flowering tree in full display. Only a few days ago it had only small buds on it and now it is so gorgeous and full of white blossoms. It was if the Lord is saying, “Do you want to settle for a minimal relationship with me like those small buds or do you want to allow me full access to your life to enable you to be aflame with my love? We can settle for minimal but we will miss so much of what the Lord desires to give us.
  Jesus said in John 15:5, that He is the vine and we are only a branch. We have to remain in Him and He in us if we are to blossom and bear fruit. He also says without Him we can do nothing. We have to be connected to the Lord and have our roots go down deep into His grace or we can accomplish nothing. If we are to come into full bloom, we will also become aware of our condition; we know that apart from Him, we are weak in ourselves, and need humility to see our need for His grace and forgiveness.
  The Lord does not force us to be connected for it is our free choice. If we give way to Him, we die to self and are no longer in charge, but surrendered to Him. Soon we find we do things not out of duty because we have to, but out of love. When we listen to His voice, He daily guides our lives and as it says in Isaiah 30:21 “You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.” As we surrender, like the tree to the elements of sun and rain, we are transformed and filled with the light of His loving presence. Then when people gaze at the blossoms, they know it is only the Lord.
  Let us give Him space in our lives and surrender to the Him that our lives will bear full blossoms that bring glory to Him.
Challenge for today: Expose yourself today to the rain of the Holy Spirit and the sunshine of His love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy



May 18, 2023


Dear Ones,
Hope you have a grace-filled day! We just had a shower and everything looks very fresh and green. Al is at a men’s group and I will spend the day on retreat in our apt as you will be reading why…I look rather scary!  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Patience is a fruit of the Spirit and it is a beautiful fruit that comes often through some hard knocks in our lives. I have heard people say, “Be careful if you pray for patience as you will be tested on it!” If we are honest, we probably all have prayed often for patience when we feel irritated by negative words or behavior of others, when praying and not seeing answers right away, or going through difficult things ourselves.
   I am in the middle of such a situation as I had two teeth extracted and thought I would sail through it and be ready to socialize the same day. But the truth is, I kept bleeding and swelled up and would rather no one saw me with my big lip, swollen cheek and jaw. I have to be patient as the nurse called yesterday and said it would swell for another couple days, so I have to give it time to heal, and for the stitches to absorb.
    Patience comes from the Latin root word, to suffer, and patience is caring suffering. We need patience with our own failings and also to support others in their weaknesses. St. Benedict said that “we should support the physical and moral defects of one another with the greatest patience.” How that plays out in each of us is different. What causes us to want to lift up our hands and loudly say, “I can’t take this any longer!” is different for everyone. The big area I lose patience is when the computer goes on the fritz. It makes me either want to scream or cry. Recently I wrote a devotion and it disappeared 2 times. I had to write it a 3rd time, and I wondered if the enemy didn’t want it put out for you to read or was my patience being tested.
  Patience is the martyrdom of the self in situations when we have to die more. That is not easy but there are rich rewards. When the Lord puts us in situations that severely try our patience, we have to choose to die to self and depend on Him wholly. We may be in work situations where the boss is difficult but we can either complain when things don’t go the way we think is best, or we can pray and offer suggestions if the door opens. But the bottom line is    a continual practicing of patience with others and ourselves.
  Challenge for today: The next time you are tempted to complain, give it to the Lord and patiently wait for what He is showing you through it.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 17, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope your day is full of sunshine. So beautiful out my window as the tree is full of white blossoms and birds .  I slept 9 hours  and woke to quite a sight in my mirror as my jaw and cheek are all swollen. I look like I have been in a fight. It should go down todayand I am thankful that the bleeding has stopped from my extractions yesterday. Thank you for your prayers. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  As I was having my devotions one morning, the simple song played through my mind,
     “You are my hiding place/  You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance/  Whenever I am afraid/
       I will trust in You/   I will trust in You/  Let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord.”
 I had just finished reading a devotional on by Victoria Riollano, about ways Satan wants to destroy us. She shared how the enemy wars against us and will do anything he can to cause us to turn from the Lord. He loves to put doubts in our minds about God’s word and will question us if God really said that or if He really meant that for a different day!
  The enemy also wants to paralyze us with fear, keep our minds racing about  “what ifs”, and causing us panic attacks. But instead, we can pray and go to the Word and in faith rest in God’s promises. 
  Victoria also mentions how Satan likes nothing better than to quiet us from sharing the gospel with others who do not know the Lord. Today we are quickly silenced when we mention God or pray in public places but we must not shrink back from sharing the Good News. How else are people going to come to the Lord if we keep silent?
    The enemy is very sly and tries to cause us to live in shame. He reminds us of our past and tries to tell us we are disqualified to talk to others about God. But we are not to dwell on our past for the Lord has forgiven us if we have confessed our sins and He looks upon us as if we have never sinned.
   Satan is especially shrewd about tempting us with idols. Anything we place before God is an idol so it can be such things as social media, material things, and even good things that we can get obsessive about. He wants our focus off the Lord and to be on other things.
  He often tries to get us to accommodate the Word to fit our lifestyle rather than our lifestyle to fit into what the Word says.  The enemy is a great deceiver and tells us there are many ways to God but there is only one. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Let us live victoriously in Him and not give an inch to the enemy who is out to destroy us.
Challenge for today: Share the Lord whenever an opportunity comes your way today.

May 16, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you will have a peace-filled day.  I made soup to have when I get back from the dentist.. There was a cancelation so I will be getting 2 teeth extracted this morning. Prayers appreciated. Then this afternoon I have my mammogram that is way overdue and a Dexascan.  And hopefully it won’t take long as we are invited to friends for coffee and fellowship. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How good are we at accepting advice and counsel? Do we bristle when someone tells us of  a better way we could be doing something? Or perhaps criticizing something we have done?
Our response says a lot! If we have a fragile ego, we may get hurt and respond with anger, and justify why our way is best and probably ignore their advice. But hopefully we are open and will give it consideration and even thank the person.
   I was reading in my devotions from Exodus 18 about Moses and how he responded to advice, and on that same day Mark Roberts also wrote on Crossroads. Com of exactly that. Moses was on overload as he settled disagreements from morning until night among the people. His father-in-law, Jethro, observed how he was overworked and gave him unsolicited advice. He first asked Moses a question of why he was doing this and then went on to say if he kept on, he would wear himself out. In other word’s he couldn’t do it alone and needed help.  He suggested a solution that he choose capable God-fearing men who could settle the lesser disagreements and Moses would go on handling the more difficult ones. He also added, “If God commands you, and you do this, you will be able to continue your work…” Now Moses could have gotten defensive and told Jethro to bug out, but he listened and did everything he said.
  It appears that Moses was humble and received criticism and was open to advice. He didn’t get offended and it paid dividends as Moses’ burden was lifted. How about us? Do we get defensive when someone offers a suggestion to us? Or maybe we don’t want to delegate things since we won’t get the glory associated with the job. We may be struggling and God sends others to help but we say “No thank you. I’ve got this!” I remember feeling overwhelmed by calls from women in the Bible Study that I led. The phone seemed to ring every time I put it down. But one gal suggested that I tell the whole group to call one another and minister to one another when needs came up in their lives. I did that and it was a great help and also taught them to minister to each other.
   Let us all be humble and open to accept the help God sends us, in whatever way it comes!
Challenge for today: The next time someone gives you advice, thank them and tell them you will pray about it and ask the Lord. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

May 15, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and what a beautiful sunny day we had for Mother’s Day. We enjoyed time at the lake with Ann’s family and had delicious steaks. EmojiToday I just finished making a raspberry/blueberry dessert, and a veggie stir fry and am going to my exercise class.    
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   We hear it said that we are loved by God from birth to death and although that is true, He loved us even before we were born. I read today from Psalm 22:9-10 where David says, “Indeed, you are the One who brought me out of the womb, the One who made me feel safe at my mother’s breasts. I was placed in your care from birth, from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” God loved us when we were conceived, in our mother’s womb, even before we were birthed and it will not end at our death but goes on for all eternity. So awesome!
  Just before Mother’s Day I asked the question of many of you of what you are especially grateful for in your own mother. I got varied responses like her kindness, her generosity, patience, endurance, humor, faithfulness to the Lord, humility to admit her mistakes, wisdom, and especially her sacrificial love. For so many, it was her caring love that stood out in putting aside her own wants and needs to do what was best for us. Only one  said her mom’s hard work, although I would assume most mothers worked tirelessly just meeting the needs of us as children. Mothers give us our first glimpse of what God’s sacrificial love is like.
  By the door on Mother’s Day, along with others in our apartment complex, was a bag with chocolate kisses and a note that said, “God made woman so that we would always have unconditional LOVE, shoulders to lean on, hands to hold and lots of HUGS and KISSES that are HEALING. Thank you for ALL the lives that you have ‘touched’!”
  Some moms did not have a very good start in life themselves but overcame the odds because of God’s love for them. One wrote that her mom had a terrible childhood and was abused but persevered and loved, making a home with her hubby and raising 6 children with love. She gave what she never had as a child because of God’s love for her.
   No matter what kind of a start each of us had, no matter what we are experiencing now in life, we have the greatest sacrificial love offered to us in Jesus. He gave everything for us, and he wants to pour His unconditional love into the depths of our hearts. Let us be open to receive and love Him in return.
Challenge for today: Open wide your heart to His love in new ways and share His love wherever you go!
Blessings on your week and prayers and  love, Judy

Draining the Swamp

I recently preached during a Wednesday night Lenten service at my church.  The text was from Matthew 27:11-26, where Jesus is condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have confessed the words of the Apostles’ Creed: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.”  Jesus was crucified as a rebel against Rome. In an early sermon Peter reminds the people, “This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him” (Acts 3:13). 

N.T. Wright has observed, “Somehow, Jesus’ death was seen by Jesus himself, and then by those who told and ultimately wrote his story, as the ultimate means by which God’s kingdom was established.  The crucifixion was the shocking answer to the prayer that God’s kingdom would come on earth as in heaven.  It was the ultimate Exodus event through which the tyrant was defeated.  God’s people were set free and given their fresh vocation, and God’s presence was established in their midst in a completely new way for which the Temple was just an advance pointer.”

Wright says further that Jesus “could not establish the new creation without allowing the poison in the old to have it full effect.”  Before he could bring healing to our world, He would provide “the antidote to the infection that would otherwise destroy the project from within.”  Jesus would defeat evil by means of “the deeply subversive nature of his own kingdom announcement.  He would defeat evil by letting it do its worst to him.”

A very contemporary phrase to use would be Jesus by his death and suffering was “draining the swamp.” Only Jesus could right all the wrong in our world – that is, drain all the puss out of the wounds of sin.  Contemporary political rhetoric will never get to the heart of this issue.  Paul provides us with this message to our divided world: “We’re Christ’s representatives.  God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them.  We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.  How? you ask.  In Christ.  God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God” (II Cor. 5:20-21 – Message). 

Where do we start to straighten out all the problems with so much “crooked timber?”  Of course, it will never be fully corrected until Jesus comes back and makes all things new. This is our hope and confidence.  As followers of Jesus, we are on the right side of history.  John tells of seeing Jesus seated on the throne, declaring, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5).  Then he was told, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:5).  We live in the in-between time when Jesus is “draining the swamp.”  We can hear “loud voices” in heaven declaring, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). 

Jesus’ suffering and death is our King defeating evil and beginning his reign on the earth.  The chorus from a new song by Shane and Shane entitled “You’ve Already Won” reminds us: “I’m fighting the battle/You’ve already won/No matter what comes my way/I will overcome/Don’t know what You’re doing/But I know what You’ve done/And I’m fighting a battle/You’ve already won.”

Men: stop striving and listen, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Ex. 14:14). 

May 13, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and also give thanks and remember the mother who gave you life. 
I read a prayer for mothers on by author Rebecca Barlow Jordon, and I would like to share her words with you as Mother’s Day is celebrated tomorrow.
 Dear Lord,  
  “Bless every mother and every grandmother with the finest of your spiritual blessings today. Confirm in her heart and spirit the work of her hands and the love that she has so freely given to those children under Your care. Validate her worth daily so she has no reason to doubt whether she is loved, valued, and cherished in the eyes of her Heavenly Father.
  Create in her a deep sense of your protection and trust, so that worry and fear will disappear as she places her loved ones into Your care. Let her know that every prayer she has prayed and every encouraging word she has spoken on behalf of her children/grandchildren has been transformed into sweet, fragrant offerings before Your throne.
   Whisper deep within her spirit the sweet words she longs to hear from You—that nothing can ever separate her from Your love. Help her to nestle daily into the promises of Your Word, standing with faith on the things You declare are true. Let her know that You reward faithfulness, but that true success doesn’t lie in her accomplishments or accolades. Let her rest in the knowledge that she has done all she can—and that she and those she loves—truly belong to you. Bless her with a servant spirit so she can teach her own the joy of hearing one day, “Well done!”

Remove any guilt, false or real, and replace with Your amazing grace and forgiveness. Help her see her children or grandchildren through Your eyes, knowing that in Your hands is the safest place they can ever be. Calm every doubt, and strengthen her confidence in the Only One who can bring good out of any situation.

Teach her that she cannot meet every need of her child’s life, but that You can. Give her wisdom and guidance to train those precious children in Your path, and then to leave the results to You, Lord. Help her to love without limitations, to pray without ceasing, and to live without regrets. Bless her with such a sweet dependency on You that she will acknowledge her inadequacies, yet recognize and accept Your reward of praise—and Your sense of pleasure in having her as Your own beloved child.
  Where prayers may still seem unanswered, and dreams are not yet realized, open her eyes to see beyond this world to a Hope that never disappoints, and to a Father who will never leave or abandon her. Give her the courage to persevere even in the most difficult moments of her life. Bless her with honesty, integrity, and a playfulness that shows her children she is human, yet unswerving in her desire to know You.
Let her joy be contagious; let her passion be pure, and let her life overflow with all the blessings she deserves—on special days, and on every day of her life.
In Jesus name Amen” 

May 12, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Another beautiful day and I can see green leaves on the trees out my window! I just finished cleaning the apartment and made egg dishes and a dessert and did some food prep. Hope you have time to relax and enjoy awonderful weekend. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   The snow is finally gone and soon there will be wildflowers peeking out all along the Paul Bunyan trail; first one here or there and soon it will become ablaze with color. Wildflowers are a reminder to me of God’s care for us and how we can give Him all our concerns. Jesus tells the crowd in Matt. 6:25 (Message), “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion.” He goes on to say that there is far more to life and that all we have to do is to look out in the fields and see all the wildflowers. They don’t have to primp or shop and yet are gorgeous in color and design.  Then in verse 30 he says, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers-most of which are never seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?”
  Jesus is telling us all to relax and not fuss over getting more, looking fashionable, worrying that we are missing out. We can give Him all our concerns and focus our attention on Him and what He is doing. He will provide for every need as He knows better than we do, and will attend to them.
  Seeing the birds of the air and the wild flowers are reminders to us of His care and to remember that if He gives attention to them, He will far more take care of us. We don’t have to live in worry, for He will take every concern we have and will meet each need. Let us rather set our focus on Him and His kingdom and to grow in our love for Him. Worry is a sign that our focus is on ourselves and is a cue that we need to pray and cast every care on Him.
   Let us live a life of trust, knowing each of us is like that flower that He looks upon with great love and will care for all our needs.
Challenge for today: Thank the Lord that He knows your needs and will provide!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
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