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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January 30, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend and keeping warm.. We have been walking inside lately because of the cold temperatures. Exciting game last night as Kansas State won in the last seconds and we plan to be watching the game at Kurt’s in Kansas! Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   How well do we love… not just love God but others? I ask myself that question often as I want to grow in love for the Lord and for those God puts into my life. But if you are like me, I feel deficient often times and find myself asking God to increase His love in me for others.
  Recently I read what Mark Roberts from Fuller Seminary had to say about the apostle Paul when he wrote about his concern for the Thessalonian Christians. Paul said in I Thess. 3:13 (NRSV), “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.” He tells them they have been taught by God to love others but do to this more and more.
  Love is not only a feeling but an action and how does that play out in our daily lives? It means that we do what is best for others, even when it is costly to us. Showing love is not always convenient but as the Holy Spirit prompts us to express love to others, we need to follow His leading. We often do not realize what a difference a kind word can make to someone who is lonely, or a hot meal brought to a struggling family, or providing small jobs for someone without work etc. It is important to daily ask the Lord what He would have us do to express His love to others and then follow through. We can start right at home!
  Roberts writes that we can learn more about loving from the examples we observe of others. When we see love modeled, it makes an impression on us and can prompt us to be more loving. I will not forget the mom who impressed me as she cared for her special needs daughter. Our kids were young and we were at the beach in Babbitt and nearby was a girl who was acting inappropriately. Her mom responded with so much love and calmed her with caring and kindness. She was not embarrassed by her behavior but simply showed love. I can remember that as if it was yesterday for it was love in action.
  Love is not just politeness and doing kind things, but it is a matter of the heart. The Lord wants us to express His love in and through us as we are willing to lay aside ourselves. Let us increase and abound in love, as Paul encourages the Christians in Thessalonica.
  Challenge for today: Ask the Lord, who you would express His love to and do it in His way?
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

January 28, 2023

Dear Ones,
 
Hope you are enjoying the weekend even though it is very cold here. We may be walking in the underground again! Emoji The birthday party here at Northern Lakes was well attended yesterday and the prize went to someone who shared how she was born in the middle of a snow storm that lasted 8 days! 
 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 
 How bright is our light shining for the Lord? Do others observe that we are His children and have the family likeness? One scripture that I learned as a child in Sunday School was Matt. 5:16 and will probably always be remembered as we recited it each Sunday. I will use the Message translation today, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Our lives are to be lived for Him and not for ourselves and our love for Him can be expressed in numerous ways.
 
One way is to be generous person that loves to share with others; not just material things, but faith and love and good deeds. I read today King Solomon’s words in Prov 22:9, “Whoever is generous will be blessed because he has shared his food with the poor.” It is exciting when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and He tells us to do something, which later turns out to be exactly what was needed at that moment.
 
Maybe we are shopping and we are led to buy something for someone who is going through a hard time. I know a gal that recently went shopping and was led to buy a lovely top for a new person here where we live. The new gal has her own health issues and plus her son is very sick. We pray for her each day but maybe the Lord just wanted her to know He sees her and wants to bless her and encourage her. She expressed her joy at the gift and that it was in her favorite color and her exact size. Of course, He knew!
 
Others may not want to hear about our faith journey but they may recognize a deed done in His name and want to know our Father who is Love.  Let us not dismiss thoughts that come to us throughout our day for if the Holy Spirit is prompting us, let us follow His leading. May our lights not go dim by ignoring the needs of others but shine bright that the glory may go to Him.
 
Challenge for today: Be open and willing to help meet the needs of others as led by the Spirit.
 
Blessings on your weekend and prayers.
 
Love,
Judy

January 27, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! We start our weekend here with the January Birthday party. Soon Al and I will go to Costco and get the cake and set up for the party. We have 18 with birthdays this month. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We often need reminders of how important it is to arm ourselves with spiritual weapons. We are in a spiritual war and when we fight with our carnal weapons we will lose; but God has given us an arsenal of spiritual weapons that are mighty through God that can defeat our enemy. Kim Potter, a writer who puts out a teaching every day shares the importance of our spiritual weapons, which the enemy would want us to ignore.
   The first one she mentions is the Word of God which is both an offensive and defensive weapon and Jesus often used it to defeat Satan. The Word is living and powerful sharp and active and we should not neglect it. 
   We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Trinity and the One who gives us power to stand, to witness, and to overcome.
   Prayer is also very important and as it says in I John 5:14-15 that fervent prayers of a righteous person avails much. I often marvel at how God answers when I bring my concerns first to Him. When we pray prayers of agreement with others we will find even greater power is unleashed. We can also pray in the spirit, especially when we don’t know how to pray in particular situations.
  There is great power in the name of Jesus and Al always told our kids that they just speak the name of Jesus when they are in situations of danger. We are told to ask in His powerful name and He will do it.
  The blood of Jesus is an important weapon for His blood not only cleanses us but sets us free and defeats the enemy. If I feel harassed by the enemy I sing the song, “Oh the blood of Jesus”, over and over and it is not long before my spirit is lifted.
  We are also given protection by angels and I believe my dad had such an encounter where his life was spared when hit by a car. I love to think of angels around us that keep us from unseen dangers.
  We also have the spiritual weapon of praise and the enemy hates that one. Praise seems to silence him and I love to sing praises out loud if I am alone in the car etc. I can just feel my spirit lifted and the enemy takes to flight.
   Kim mentions that we have the armor of God as our protection and I love to pray that at the beginning of very day for our whole family. We need every piece of armor as we go out into the world.
    Let us not feel helpless when faced by the enemy but use our arsenal of powerful weapons and stand strong in His name.
Challenge for today. Read Ephesians 6:13-15 and put on the whole armor of God.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 26, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you are enjoying this day. It is nice and sunny but cold and I have a feeling we will walk in the underground today. Just had a maple donut and coffee!Emoji Friends are coming to look at our apt complex shortly as they  are interested for the future. This afternoon is Bible Study and haircuts. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Al and I love the quiet and he compares our apt to a monastery as even our T.V. Is not turned on until the evening news. We start our mornings with prayer together and then he goes to his study for time with the Lord and I go to my desk in our bedroom where we each meditate and write. But for sometime we have had competition for our quiet life as our refrigerator has been belting out a great deal of noise….not the usual hum but sounds that made us think it was about to die! We told the maintenance man but we had to catch him while the noise was at its height. He then realized our frig had a problem. Two days later a repair man came and installed a new part and put insulation around it so now the frig purrs instead. It is wonderful music to our ears, rather than the loud groaning sounds and makes life a lot more pleasant.
   I thought of the noise of the world that competes for our quiet time with the Lord. It may start with something small that we desire but is not the will of God, and pretty soon it consumes more of our time and thinking. It becomes hard to focus on the Lord and we can feel divided in our loyalty to Him.  It’s good to nip those things at the onset before it gets a hold. Al would try to move the frig over a few inches or rearrange the food in the freezer but to no avail. Just like the hum of the frig, we live in the world and can’t block out everything, but we don’t have to let it rob us of our peace. We could have experienced tranquility and a calmness before if we would have gotten help sooner. Let us not try to get so close and wrapped up to worldly things and try to serve the Lord at the same time. Jesus said in Matt. 6:24 (ESV), “ No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” When we choose to serve the Lord and to allow Him to be the center of our lives, it makes for peace and quiet rest.
  Challenge for today: Rid yourself of things that take your attention off the Lord.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

January 25, 2023

Dear Ones,
  Hope you have a good day and connect with others! More snow early this morning! Emoji Today is exercise class and crafts and Bible study tonight. I tried making Starch free pizza that Al and I already sampled it and it isn’t too bad.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Loneliness is certainly rising in our culture today and so many feel disconnected but don’t know how to have meaningful relationships. I am reading a book by Todd Hall who is an author and a Psychology professor at Biola University where he teaches several courses. He writes about how we all long for a deep sense of meaning if we are to make sense of our lives. So few know how to find that meaning and may go about it in unhealthy ways.
  Perhaps we have all felt emptiness at times when we fail in making connections with others; it is sad but people today are lonelier than ever and having a harder time to socially and spiritually connect. Many feel isolated and empty and lack the feeling of belonging.
   Hopefully, as we go through life, that we desire to connect first of all with the Lord and then with others He has put in our lives. We all need other people and as Todd says, to know and be known, to love and be loved.
  Loneliness is growing in epidemic proportions in the breakdown of families and most often children are caught in the cracks to fend for themselves. They miss seeing firsthand what it is like to have healthy relationships and don’t have a secure base from which to view life. We don’t have nearly as much face -to-face contacts today for I have heard others describe their best friend who they have never met but only are known from texting.
    I grew up in a neighborhood where we did so much together with parties, parades, picnics, and  caring for one another.. In our church we had many close relationships. But if we don’t let others into our lives then we build walls and block God our of our lives too.
   Todd says that we can try the will power approach, or the intellectual approach or the spiritual-emotional high approach but we will still not feel connected with God and others. We need the relational approach for God made us for relationship with Him and with others. He wrote that we are loved into loving by God and others in our lives. We love others only because God first loved us. (I John 4:19). May we see how our implicit relational knowledge transforms how we relate to God and others in our lives.
Challenge for today: Open your heart in new ways to the love God desires to pour into you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

Apocalyptic Structures of Feeling

The December ’22 issue of Harper’s has a cover story entitled, “Waiting for the End of the World,” with the byline, “Should we be Rooting for the Apocalypse?”  It’s hard to imagine having such a topic as a cover story even 10 years ago.  To me, it suggests that observers of our culture see our nation headed for some kind of dramatic doomsday, but with no sure hope or promise of a better future. 

The author Michael Robbins talks of an “apocalyptic structure of feeling” – “the general drift and atmosphere about the end.” “The thing about wanting this world ended,” writes Robbins, is you want it ended the right way.”  He closes his essay by seeing an opportunity in all the talk of the end: “Is it not when things are darkest, when all hope is lost, that one fights with abandon, shamelessly shoots for utopia?  For then there is nothing left to lose.”  Sadly, I see in this thinking no hope for the future. 

If we take God’s Word as our guide, however, we will not be “shamelessly shooting for utopia.”  We have ultimate reality in God’s Word, rather than simply an “apocalyptic structure of feeling.”  For two thousand years, followers of Jesus have put their trust in him.  A structure of feeling is an illusion, built on wishful, subjective thinking.  Jesus gives us a sure and certain hope. 

Men, be warned.  You will hear a lot of talk based on illusion but not built on reality.  Jesus created all things, and he holds it all together: “All things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col 1:16-17).  Revelation 21:5 tells us, “Look, I am making all things new.”  John tells us, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared” (Rev. 21:1). Jesus holds all things together.  Be assured he is in the process of making everything new.

We have a “living hope” in Christ: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth in a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3). I confess with the historic Church the words of the Apostles’ Creed: “On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”

Referring to these words, Luther’s small catechism states, “He does all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead, and lives and reigns for all eternity.”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luther explains, “God’s will is done when he destroys and makes futile every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our own flesh that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom…”

We live in a time when many are willing to accept lies.  Jesus warned this would happen: “Watch out that you are not deceived.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away” (Luke 21:8-9).  Men, don’t fall for an “apocalyptic structure of feeling.”

January 24th, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you have a peace-filled day. I just made a rheubarb cake that Al is sampling and a veggie stir fry and soon going downstairs for coffee and choc raspberries. This afternoon we are going to friends for coffee and fellowship.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  Not all our desires will be satisfied in this life, and we all need to wait patiently for heaven where every longing will be fully met. I know I often have to confess to the Lord that I am selfish and want things comfortable and to go well in my life but that can lead to more self-centeredness. I am reading Christian psychologist, Larry Crabb’s book, Waiting for Heaven, and he writes that we shouldn’t get cozy in this world but to spend more time fixing our eyes on what is to come. In Heb 13:14 (Message) it says, “This ‘insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come.” 
   We need to keep heaven in the forefront of our minds and it will cause us to live differently, less focused on self and more on the Lord.  Jesus never promised us that this life would be easy and flow how we want it to. In fact, he said we can expect trials and testing. Paul gives us examples of those who lost their lives for Christ’s sake. No, we are not entitled people in this world, but what we have awaiting us some day lacks words to even describe. In the mean time we need to decrease and die to self which is not easy and a life-long struggle.
  But think of it, when a loved one dies, how our attention goes to the eternal, and our focus is off of this world. We get in touch with the larger story and come to know that this is just the foretaste of what is ahead. We therefore need to find our satisfaction in the Lord, not other people and things, as we wait for heaven where our souls are fully satisfied and deepest desires met.
  We have the promise of Jesus’ return who will make all things new, For now, we wait for that day, not expecting a pain free life in this world. Churches today however, can put the focus on ourselves and what makes us happy and excited, rather than having our hearts open to the Lord. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him, as He would be forever with His Father; and we too must endure many things in this life as we anticipate what is yet to come.
Challenge for today: Spend some time pondering what awaits you in heaven. 
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 23rd, 2023

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a good weekend. I hit more sales at Kohl’s and had a ball. This morning I baked cookies and did lots of food prep and soon I am off to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
    The Lord created us with the capacity to connect with others for we are relational beings that thrive as we have close relationships. In fact, it is important for our spiritual growth and physical and mental health. Children that are separated from parents or a loving care giver have attachment problems and may even fail to thrive. They can actually die because of the lack of human connection even though they are fed and warm. We all need deep attachment bonds and connections to cope with stress and to have mental health and spiritual growth.
   Of course, it is most important to be attached to the Lord and to put our trust in Him. As we learn to rest in His love, God becomes our secure base and place of security. We can always run to Him for He is always there for us. When we come to rest in God’s love,we come to know Him as our Father like it says in Romans 8:16-17 (Message), “God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is and we know who we are: Father and children.”
   If we have had a rather tough beginning in our early years, it may be harder to trust that God will always be there for us. In fact, we may feel distant from God and fear that He will abandon us too. Like author Todd Hall said, our early attachment experiences with others in our lives shape our attachment to God but they don’t determine it. We can change and grow through new relational experiences with others He puts in our lives and with the Lord. That’s good news! Our relationship with God doesn’t have to stay at the same level we experienced as a child, for we can be loved into loving. As we form new attachment relationships with others, we discover that it is transforming how we view ourselves, others and God. We come to know that God will not abandon us but will be there for us and we can rest secure in His love.
Challenge for today: Open up your heart in new ways to connect with God and to others in your life. 
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 21, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Hope you are taking time to get refreshed!😊 We enjoyed celebrating Ann’s birthday yesterday and today we will having left-overs. I plan to work this morning and  go to Kohl’s this afternoon to get in on the hot sales!  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  God speaks in so many ways and I love to hear His voice as He often speaks in the night. Last night I woke up after midnight and said a quick prayer that He would give me what He wanted me to write today. It’s a prayer I often pray, for in myself I have nothing to say. I went back to sleep but later woke from a vivid dream and it seemed to contain a message that I want to practice, and hope you will too.
  I was at some kind of a Christian gathering and sitting closely between two friends, as the place was packed. The three of us were looking at the printed program together as they had run out of bulletins. The friend on my right was a former missionary and she would read a name off and would say something positive about that person. She went down the list one by one and found something special about each speaker and we began to anticipate what we would hear from them. It prepared our hearts for something good!
  I thought it was like she wore a garland of praise and thankfulness around her neck and it sparkled as she saw the best in others. She is a person that is just herself and doesn’t put on any airs but comfortable to be who God made her to be. And in my dream, she described each one with something positive she saw in them that would bless us all. If I put that in a personal context, I wonder how she would have described me. She could say, “My friend who is getting old and wrinkled!” But I’m quite sure she would have been kind as she practices seeing beauty instead of ashes, and wears a garment of praise.  (Isaiah 61:3)
  How about us? When we think or see others, even a stranger, is our first response to see them in a positive light and to be thankful for the gifts God has put within them? Or do we notice how they are poorly dressed or have some quirks etc. God created every person with special gifts to give to us and the world, and we are blessed if we don’t overlook them. Let us not focus on the negative but thankfully look for the unique gifts that He placed in them.
Challenge for today: When you meet others, may your first response be to see the best in them!
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

January 20, 2023

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! The apartment is filled with so much aroma as I have a roast in the oven and just fixed many oven veggies and whipped lots of real cream (Al’s favorite). We are celebrating Ann’s birthday today at noon and I am hungry already! I also made a flourless birthday cake with choc frosting and hope that it tastes good.Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
   Is it possible to have humble pride? What do I mean by that? I was reading an article from Pastor Mark Roberts from Fuller seminary and he wrote about how to know the difference between pride that puffs us up and leads us away from God and humble pride that delights in our work but acknowledges the grace of God. There is a difference and we can tell it in our souls for if we take all the credit and glory in ourselves, we will find our hearts pulled away from God. But when we do well and find joy in our work and recognize that it draws us closer to God in humility and gratitude, then it is humble pride.
    As a parent we want our children to take pride in their work and accomplishments but also that they would know that God gave them the power to do it in the first place. If they learn early that it is God’s grace in their lives and not the pride of believing it is all them, they will grow in their life with the Lord.
  All of us do well to acknowledge our dependency on the Lord and have humble gratitude. Sinful pride takes all the credit and puffs us up. Humble pride knows that we do it only by God’s grace and we are blessed.
  Roberts gives a great example of a friend of his who has been very successful in his career and built a business worth many millions of dollars. But as he talked with him one day, the man kept pointing to the grace of God in his life and got even chocked up with gratitude of the Lord’s goodness to him. His pride in his work drew him closer to the Lord and that is a symptom of humble pride.
  Let us delight in the work God has given each of us but may we also remember all that we do is by His grace and the strength he gives. As it says in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to help you see your accomplishments in the light of His grace.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

 

 

 

 

 

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