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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The Foundations are collapsing

I was meditating on Ps. 11 recently.  Verse 3 visualize my experience as I watch nightly news.  “The foundations of law and order have collapsed.  What can the righteous do?”   In this Psalm, David  affirms his faith in a righteous, unchanging God.  “Even though the world appears hopelessly chaotic, both the godly and the wicked can count on God’s justice.  The godly can depend on him as a refuge and shelter” (NLT Study Bible). 

I  want to encourage younger men, committed to follow Jesus, in their concern for their families in the midst of our chaotic, changing world.  Make the commitment expressed by David, “I trust in the Lord for protection” (v. 1).  We can be assured of our trust in an unchanging God, who laid the very foundations of the world.  “In ages past you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands” (Ps. 102:25).  The creative order will change, but not our unchanging God. “Even they will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing.  You will change them like a garment and they will fade away” (Ps 102:26). 

God remains the same.  He never changes.  This should give us absolute confidence in the future of our children and grandchildren.  I personally take great comfort in these verses. “But you are always the same; your years never end.  The children of your people will live in security.  Their children’s children will thrive in your presence” (Ps 102:27-28).

You could be asking, as you listen to the dominant narrative of our day, why should I put my trust in the Lord.  “So why do you say to me, ‘Fly to the mountains for safety!'”  (Ps 11:1). It sounds like the phrase, “Head for the hills!”  Many men  are tempted to abandon responsibility for being protector and exemplar of their families and heading for the hills. It sure can be tempting, when those who are opposed to the sovereignty of God continue to shoot their arrows at us, often from the shadows. “The wicked are stringing their bows and setting their arrows in the bowstrings.  They shoot from the shadows at those who do right” (Ps 11:2)  

Habakkuk lamented the loss of law and order, “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.  The wicked hem in the righteous, so the justice is perverted” (Hab 1:4).  But the Psalmist assures us, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you” (Ps 89:14).  But David acknowledges, “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everything closely, examining everyone on earth” (Ps 11:4). 

After Job’s long lament before God in which he did not get any satisfactory answers from his three friends, God finally replied to Job from the whirlwind. “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?  Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you and you must answer them.  ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell me, if you know so much.  Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7).  Job replied, “I was talking about things I did not understand, things for too wonderful for me …. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance” (Job 42:3 & 6).

Men, don’t let “the talking heads” cause you to wonder if God is still on his throne.  Remember, “For the Lord is righteous and he loves justice.  Those who do what is right will see his face” (Ps 11:7)

  

July 15, 2024

Dear Ones,
This has been quite a weekend with the assassination attempt on Trump’s life and we need to pray for our nation as never before. Today I plan to go to my exercise class and pack, and you can read where we are going tomorrow in the following devotion.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Recently, I was reading about Poustinia which is an unstructured time we go apart to be with the Lord. It is any quiet place alone and we are free to pray, rest, walk, breathe in the Spirit and just be free with the Lord. Its time spent just loving the Lord for He loved us first and we are loving Him back. There is no need to be uptight and have a schedule, but it is a time to relax, think about the Lord and His words and spend some enjoying His presence in silence. Poustinia can be just in a room of a house, but the fact is we are alone with God and letting him love us.

Not long ago we got a call from dear friends who we have known for many years and pray for them and their family daily. In fact, they are like family to us. They wanted both Al and I to be on the phone together as they had something to ask us. Not many times people call and say they have a gift for us, and will we accept, and this was the gift of a retreat option. They had rented a lovely home about an hour away for 2 days and nights in July and wanted us to join them for a time of retreat.  The house overlooks the lake and has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths and is inviting but that isn’t all… They are going to plan how the time is spent and provide the food, and all we have to do is come join them. What a gift! When I was reading about Poustinia, I thought this will be not only time with the 4 of us sharing the Lord together, but we also will have time alone in a room by ourselves, or by the water etc. where we can just be with the Lord. All we need is our Bibles and the rest of the time is up to the Lord. We are excited already and anticipating that special time.

I will write after our experience to let you know what it is like, but it is something everyone can do. If you desire to have your own Poustinia you may want to have a room by yourself, even if it is a closet, where you can be alone with the Lord. There may be times you simply sleep because rest is needed and like it says in Song of Solomon 5:2, “I went to sleep but my heart stayed awake.” Let it be a time to enjoy the Lord, think about Him, think about His words, and just enjoy Him.
Challenge for today: Take time today to be alone with the Lord and express your love to Him.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

July 13, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this sunshiny weekend and taking time to get refreshed! We haven’t seen the repair man for our Air Conditioner yet and know others are waiting too. Emoji Today I am remembering my dad as it is his birthday and he lived to be 100!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
We are often told in scripture to REMEMBER. It says in Eccl. 12:1 to Remember our creator in the days of our youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.” And in I Chron 16:12 David says, “Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered.” Remember!

For all of us, it is good to turn humbly to our past to find meaning in the present and hope for what lies ahead. And it is especially important to remember the Lord desires to direct our life where we are at now and into eternity. When we create space for Him it allows ourselves to slow down and be centered in His love. We can then practice being reflective and sitting still, praying and meditating. Of course, the world tells us the opposite and to speed up, do more, keep up. The Lord’s way however is to remember, to rest and to bathe in His grace and love.

God remembers us even before our birth. He knows our name and offers us His secure love. There may be difficult times in our lives, when we think God has surely forgotten us or He would do something about our disasters. But He doesn’t forget us ever and God loved us enough to send His son to become like us and then to die for us. Let us never forget His great love for us. When we have doubts it may be good to read Isaiah 44:22 to help us remember as it says to remember that “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist: return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Challenge for today: Take some time to sit in remembrance of how the Lord has blessed you and lives with you and in you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

July 12, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to the beginning of a wonderful weekend! It continues to be warm and I hope to do my baking early. In answer to the question asked yesterday about “What is the biggest robber of your time”, for most it was their cell phones… the very thing that is supposed to save us time.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Do we really know how much we need God and are dependent on Him? Sometimes when we have accomplished a lot and gotten accolades from others, we forget that we need God’s grace. We think we are doing just fine ourselves and that is not a good place to be for are not self-sufficient and always in need of His mercy and grace. We don’t rule, God does.  David said in Psalm 93, “Mighty God rules from High Heaven. What you say goes—it always has.” Though David was king he knew that God ruled.

Much of David’s life was spent in the wilderness running from Saul but after Saul’s death when he became King, he built a home but also wanted to do something for God. He had received so many blessings and answers to prayers as God spared his life time and time again and David wrote songs of gratitude and called him His refuge. He told the prophet Nathan that he wanted to build a home for God and Nathan was more than pleased. But during the night God spoke to Nathan and told him that David was not to do the building but that his son would do it. We may wonder why not? It seems like a perfect plan. But God thinks and plans in eternal terms, and we think in temporal ways.

After David was told he was not to build the Lord a house, he went in and sat before the Lord. (II Sam. 7:18) and listened to the Lord. He didn’t bulldoze his way through to do what plans he had in mind, but traded his plans for God’s plan. He listened and prayed and blessed the Lord.

When we get caught up in our own plans, we may have good intentions but forget God. We may receive applause from others but in the end, we are no longer aware of our dependency on the Lord. Let us always surrender our plans to His, just as David did. As David once prayed, “ But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand.” (Psalms 31:14-15)

Challenge for today: Surrender your agenda to the Lord each day and stick with His plan!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

July 11, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake with a desire to share your day with the Lord and to serve Him in new ways. Today is donut day here and Bible Study this afternoon.
The question for this week is what is the biggest robber of your time?
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How we spend our time, is a good indication of our priorities. Perhaps our check book is another big indicator to show us what is most important in our lives. We can say the Lord is Number One but if we don’t spend time with Him, listening and reading the Word, and serving Him, it gives the opposite message. Just like when Al says he loves me, but if he seldom spends time with me or to share with me, I will have to question if he really loves me. Our relationship with God should be first and most important so we give attention and time to Him and family second and others next. We don’t need to waste time by spending the majority of our time on lesser things but on what is greater. Like it says in Deut. 6:5, We are to love God with all our heart, soul and with all our might.

 Perhaps the biggest robber today is our cell phones that continually beep and grab our attention. Two friends may be having a very intimate conversation, and a cell phone goes off and they excuse themselves to answer and to give attention to something lesser. Our time is valuable and we will one day give account for how we spend it. Sometimes we waste it on dwelling on negative

We also waste time when we refuse to forgive others and let our thoughts be consumed by hurt emotions that take over our attention like worry, fear, guilt etc. We may need to just stop and pray and give over those emotions to the Lord rather than letting them steal His love from flowing through us. and ways to get even with them. Bitterness is harmful to us and will rob us of peace as our time can be filled with thoughts of revenge or self-pity. Instead, let us be aware of our reaction to those who do evil to us and forgive them, knowing God has called us to love and forgiveness. May we not waste our time dwelling on negative emotions but put our focus on the Lord, our greatest priority!  Like it says in Psalm 16:8, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord.”

Challenge for today: Ask the Lord what things need to change in our life to put Him first in all things.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 10, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good night of sleep. Al and the men had a good time at the lake yesterday and I was able to shop with a friend and have her for lunch and prayer and sharing. Today Al preaches next door and tonight we get to hear from the ones that went on a mission trip and are now back. No A.C. yet! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I’m sure we have all had times that we waken in the night and can’t get back to sleep again. We just lay in bed thinking of all the things we have on our agenda for the next day and wonder how we will get it all accomplished. As we look at the clock slowly ticking away, we think of even more things that need our attention, and sleep eludes us.

When my brother came to visit recently, he had a page torn out of a devotional from the Upper Room that he wanted me to read and it had to do with sleep. As it says in Proverbs 3:24, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” That sounds heavenly, especially if we are laying there in the night, wide awake and want sweet sleep!  Dolores Kight writes her own experience of a discussion at church where she shared her battle with sleep. A retired school psychologist responded by saying when we struggle with sleep it is good to look back on what we did in a day, not think of all our plans for the next day. In reflecting on our day, we think of how we spent our day and what we accomplished and the interactions we had and we thank the Lord for it. Even if something negative happened we can still thank the Lord for the good he can work out of it and what we learned from it. The example was given in Genesis 1 of creation and how God spoke “It was good!” at the end of each day during the 6 days of creation. So, Delores said she has used this process when she falls asleep and continues to be blessed with sweet sleep. She also has a good frame of mind to start the next day for if we are thankful for the day before, we can look with anticipation to the new day before us.

There are many scriptures about sleep and you may like Prov. 3:24 or another one. We can enjoy sweet rest and sleep as we sink down into our pillow and know that the Lord is tucking us in with His presence. No need to think on the stresses of tomorrow but know that He will be with us just as He was today.

Challenge for today: Memorize a scripture on sleep, and if you wake in the night, reflect on the day you had and tell the Lord, “It was good.”
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

July 9, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you wake to a day of surprising blessings. Al is going with a couple men to the Silver Chateau (cabin) early this morning and have lunch and boat ride etc. I plan to go shopping with a friend but if the Air Conditioning repair man shows up, I will have to hurry home. This is going to be a hot week so we hope he will be coming very soon! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
The Lord knows our individual needs even more than we do. He knows also the needs of our loved ones better than we do. Recently our son Kurt and grandson Grant stopped to see us on their way to the cabin. It was not a warm day and it was also sprinkling a bit, and I told them how sorry I was that they didn’t have better lake weather. Their response surprised me as both of them said the weather was perfect as they had just come from Kansas where it was 100 degrees, and they were tired of the extreme heat when they went about their work. This cool weather was wonderful.

God knows what we need even in times when we don’t know ourselves and we can trust Him to orchestrate just the right circumstances. Sometimes there may be friends that have so much going on in their lives that they would appreciate just time to be alone with their thoughts and to rest, not another gathering. Pastors who are busy ministering to others, often try to schedule time to go on retreat and be alone with the Lord. When we ask the Lord to be in charge of our lives, our schedules, He will keep us in balance.

We can also trust the Lord to help us in our battle with the enemy for the enemy goes after our individual weaknesses. He tries to trip us up and what works on one person, may be different than another. He wants to fill our thoughts so he can get us to worry, or to fear, or to get angry or unforgiving. We don’t have to argue with him or give him the time of day but tell him we belong to Jesus, and he has to take it up with Him. We get victory not by our willpower but in faith turning to the Lord. It may help when being attacked to inwardly begin to praise the Lord, and if I am alone, I just sing at the top of my voice!  An example that made me laugh out loud… I read about a man who had trouble with blasphemous thoughts, and he decided when the enemy brought those thoughts to his mind, he would start praying for his missionary cousin in China. He noticed the enemy quit his approach with those kind of thoughts as it only stirred up more prayer for China. Let us take everything to the Lord! As is stays in Col. 2:6, “You received Jesus Christ, the Master; now live Him.”

Challenge for today: Give yourself unreservedly to the Lord who know you well and trust Him to meet all of your needs.
Blessings on your way and prayers and love, Judy

He Carried Them

Isaiah 63 portrays the victorious king’s return to Zion.  The prophet asks why the king’s garments are red, as if he had been stomping grapes in a winepress.  The Lord replies he has returned from stomping on the nations; it is their blood that is spattered on his garments. “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing” (v. 3b).  The Lord laments, however, because there was no one to help.  “I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm achieved salvation for me and my own wrath sustained me” (v. 5).  

Isaiah then offers a lengthy prayer (7-19), proclaiming God’s faithfulness to his people.  But despite God’s kindness, they rebelled, prompting God to turn against them and become their enemy.  “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.  So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them” (v. 10).  They had forgotten how God in his love and mercy had redeemed them. “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them; In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old” (v. 9).  

 They ask, “….where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them” (v. 11). They cry out to the Lord, “Look down from heaven and see, from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.  Where are your zeal and your might?” (v. 15). They ask, “Why, Lord, do you make us wander from your ways, and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?” (v. 17)

Then in heart felt prayer they cry out, “”Oh, that you would rend the heaven and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you” (Is 64:1).  The prophet affirms the uniqueness of God in doing “awesome things.” God had shown his favor and faithfulness to his people in the past.  But the people had ignored God.  “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins”(Is 64:7).

They acknowledge God to be their Father.  “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Is 64:8).  In intercession, they prayed, “Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people” (Is. 64:9).  When they saw Jerusalem a desolation and all their treasure lying in ruins, they ask God, “After all this, O Lord, will you hold yourself back?  Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?” (Is. 64:13).  God replied, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me….All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people” (Is. 65:1-2).  

But God give this wonderful promise. “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create…” (Is.65:17-8). 

In the end God’s plan will prevail among the Hebrew people as well as it will in our day.   God will show up and make all things new.  This is our hope and certainty in such troubled times as ours. But our hearts need to seek God in repentance.

 

 

July 8, 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful Holiday weekend. I especially enjoyed a sauna and swimming at the lake and time with family. It’s warming up in the 80’s this week and we aren’t excited since our A.C. is not working. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Did you know that when you come to know the Lord, you are called a living stone? It says in I Peter 2:5, “You come to Him as living stones, a spiritual house that is being built into a holy priesthood.” Christ is the head cornerstone, and He places us by other stones as well. But as wonderful as that is, we find that we have to be shaped and ready to fit in, so that means we may have to have our rough edges shaved off and smoothed. Actually, we can count on it! We may want to resist but it is necessary if we want Him to use us. While reading about this process in Pastor Christianson’s book, “The Renewed Mind”, he calls this the sanctification process. We are being made holy, separated from the world, as the Holy Spirit is doing a work in us so we become more like Jesus. We may go through discomfort when this is happening, but it is important not to resist. Sometimes, we feel like we have been set aside as we are in a waiting time when we are being prepared for what the Lord has for us next. Kind of reminds you of a tree that has dropped his leaves and is dormant but waiting for spring to come. We may feel like we are on the shelf right now, but it could He be preparing us for the next phase?
We must guard that we keep close to the Lord and also in fellowship with other believers, for we are being built together into a beautify spiritual house. It makes me think of Taylor, who you have prayed for in the past, especially when she went on a 9-month mission. We had them for breakfast Friday morning at the lake before they headed back to Wisconsin. She and her husband are now part of a Chrisitan community there and like two precious little stones in the building of His kingdom. They wanted to be part of community of believers that worship and pray together and work together. For now, they are staying with a pastor’s family with 3 little ones and an Amish girl that has joined too. We look forward to hearing how the Lord will be shaping them into beautiful stones for His glory.
Let all of us be patient as we are being shaped by His hand.
Challenge for today: Don’t resist the Lord’s loving hand as he shaves off your rough edges and polishes you and fits you into His beautiful House.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

July 6 2024

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend. I am sending this out early as we are going home tomorrow. I am watching the sunset here on the lake and it is so beautiful. We have had a fun day as we had Taylor and Ethan for breakfast and time of sharing and prayer. Also, spent time playing scrabble, trying out the new sauna of Ann’s and swimming with relatives and time to finish a book.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
How often do we take things into our own hands and do things our way, rather than seeking what God has for us. As I read of the life of King David and compare it to King Saul, there is a world of difference. Saul started out humble and dependent on God, but very soon, full of self-importance, he compromised and began doing things his way and it got him in trouble. David, on the other hand, trusted and was obedient to the Lord, and refused to do it his way but bowed to God’s way.

When David became king of both Israel and Judah, he needed to find a central site to rule from that would include both countries. He captured Jerusalem, which had belonged to the Jebusites, and it became the City of David. He destroyed the idols that were there, and it says in II Sam. 5:10, “David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with Him.” Change came to David as he matured spiritually, for instead of being hidden and marginal as he was hunted by Saul, he was now upfront and the very center of things. He was King and gave commands, but he didn’t let it go to his head. He remained humble and lived a life of obedience to the Lord and showed compassion to Saul’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, and gathered in the northern tribe, Israel to become one with Judah. David was 37 when he began ruling, after so many years of fleeing from Saul and being a fugitive.

Change comes into all of our lives, and do we flow into the next thing God has for us and go in His power, or do we take over in our own strength?  An employee who now becomes the boss, should humbly remember what his previous status was so he can be a one who rules with God’s love and wisdom. David began as a shepherd boy and ended up shepherding a nation. God used all of his previous experiences to make him into one who ruled with caring as a shepherd over the flock, not a power-hungry king. May we also remain open to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit direct us into whatever is next in our lives, as we remain humble and dependent on Him.

Challenge for today: Read the words of David from Psalm 23 in a different translation and let the Lord shepherd you.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
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