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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September 19, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend and the beautiful fall days. I made zucchini salmon patties from the last zucchinis from Ann’s garden. Emoji We have loved all the fresh produce from her two gardens. Kurt will be stopping by shortly on his way to the cabin for a few days. Tomorrow we will be dedicating our new addition to the church and starting S.S. and having coffee and fellowship time together. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
If you are reading this devotional you are living somewhere between your birth and your death and what does your life show for the years you have already put in? I continue to read Larry Crabb’s book, “Waiting for Heaven” and he asks questions that get me to thinking more deeply of why we are here, and what should we be about as we wait for either our death or the Lord’s Second coming, if that comes first.  We are meant to live for the praise of His glory but how do we do that in this corrupted world that tries to deny that God should have any say in our lives? The only way is to open our hearts to receive His love and then let His love pour out to others and reveal His very essence.  Our reward is coming one day, but in the meantime, we are to encourage one another as we journey home and to live well, and love well; as we are told in Hebrews !0:24 (ESV), “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” As we actively wait for our Homecoming, we are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus and to use every opportunity to share Him with others. Crabb emphasizes that we wait for what is ahead but we don’t demand everything to be good and comfy here and now. We are to enjoy God’s blessings today, but whether we have trials or blessings we can still live well today. Crabb himself, is going through chemo and fighting leukemia, and although he would like life to be easier, it is more important how he relates to others with God’s love. Anything that carries us away from God between our birth and our death is an idol; that can be even the good things that we do to make life fair and better for others. If it becomes our priority rather than our relationship with the Lord, it is an idol. Our real need is for God, and one day He will make things right and fair and good; but we live in the now and may we live well, letting Him form our hearts as we wait for all He has stored up for all eternity.
Challenge for today: Live well in God’s love and care, and share Him with others every chance you get.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 18, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend! Enjoy these Fall days before the weather gets cold. This morning I was busy in the kitchen and fixed porkchops smothered in apples and onions, roasted Brussel sprouts, and roasted sweet potato roasted coins etc. I brought some choc covered raspberries downstairs and always get a hearty welcome! Emoji  Tomorrow Kurt is coming through on his way to the cabin.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
It is time to be alert and wake up as a church and prepare for what is ahead. Only the Lord knows what that is, but we are warned not to be asleep. Recently on Facebook, they had several wives who did a little trick on their husbands and all got the same response. Each of them played the music that announces that NFL Monday Night Football is coming on which is sweet music to most men. One husband was dozing on the couch and when his wife started playing the music he immediately woke up and went into the family room thinking the game was starting. Another man was upstairs and as soon as he heard the familiar music came bounding down the stairs and ran into the TV room, only to find the game was not on yet. If he would have looked at the time, he would have known.  I laughed out loud when I saw his reaction and he knew his wife pulled a fast one on him. But if we think of it in a spiritual light, it is very sobering for the enemy has been duping us and lulling us to sleep. It says in Matt.13: 25 (God’s Word). “But while people were asleep, his enemy planted weeds in the wheat field and went away.” Of course, the enemy tells us we have plenty of time to get ready for what is ahead or even to know the Lord, and the church has been believing the lie as well. Just like the husbands who were snoozing, the church has been coasting along and not using the time wisely. The Apostle Paul warns us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night and says in I Thess. 5:6, “Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober.” Taylor who you have prayed for in the past, and her mom are becoming involved in planting a new church in the Omaha area to reach the lost. When we talked to Taylor over Labor Day weekend, she was so excited for what God was doing. On their first in person service Sunday, over 300 showed up and they are excited and focused to reach out into the community to bring others to the Lord. Let us not be asleep and think we have all the time in the world. Instead let us use each opportunity the Lord puts before us every day to share Him with others.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord to use you to point others to Him.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy
If you didn’t get your devotional this past week go to www.canaansrest.org/whispers

September 17,2020

Dear  Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. Only 36 this morning but sunny and warming up now. I got an egg dish made and shopped at Aldi’s and have an eye appointment this afternoon and Women’s group tonight. In between I am reading a book that you may get some of my gleanings in the future. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
What are we to be learning during this time of isolation and how do we respond? I was reading on Words of Life an article by Susie Larson about “A Future and a Hope.” She said how easy it is when we are in adverse circumstances to respond by shrinking back and hunkering down. But our self-preservation often leaves faith out. Her example was Jeremiah’s word he gave to God’s people who were in exile in Babylon. He sent a letter to them and told them to build houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat the fruit of them, marry and have children, and not to be diminished. He said in Jer. 29:11 (Amplified), “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for your welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” In the future, in due time, God would rescue them and restore them so they were not just to give up.  Perhaps that applies to us in some ways now as we are to be people of faith and to rise above our present circumstances. No, we can’t do so many of the things we did in the past because of rules and distancing but we can grow in our faith. In fact, as our old way of life falls apart, we discover what is truly important and what sustains us. Some of the things we thought were so imperative we find we must let go of. We may actually have more time to seek the Lord as there are so many things canceled and less events to attend. Every day we are given an opportunity to discover the new things the Lord has waiting for us, a chance to grow deeper, a time to thrive and rise above our circumstances. We can learn to trust God in bigger ways and envision the new that He has planned for our future. No, let us not hide as we wait for the virus to disappear, but to use this time to be strengthened in our faith and to grow closer to Him.
Challenge for today: Ask the Lord how He would have you spend this time of isolation and view it as a gift to grow in your faith.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 16, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are having a good day. I was on the phone all morning before going to my exercise class. Emoji Still working out things because of my credit card getting used by someone.  Burr it is only 59 out but of course in a month or so that will seem good. Sorry for all those who are dealing with the smoky air from the fires. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Recently I was reading on Crosswalk.com the true stories behind the hymns we sing and so many were written during stormy times of struggle and heartache. It’s in those times of desperation that we give up our control and reach out to the One who is always there waiting for us to lean on Him. One hymn that particularly struck me was written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss in 1876, called, It Is Well With My Soul. Only the Lord could give him words of faith and comfort in his time of intense pain. He wrote it after the death of his four-year-old son and also great financial losses resulting from the Chicago fire which left him ruined. It had been his plan to travel to Europe on the SS Ville du Havre with his family but he ended up sending his family ahead in a last-minute change of plans. But sadly, their ship collided while crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sank quickly, claiming the lives of his four daughters. Fortunately, his wife survived and sent him a telegram saying, “Saved alone…” It was on his way to meet her that Horatio was inspired to write the hymn in the very place that the ship passed near where his daughters died. I can’t imagine the grief he must have felt. Some of the words are: “ When peace like a river, attendeth my way/ When sorrows like sea billows roll/ Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say/ It is well, it is well, with my soul…..It is well/ With my soul.” He goes on to write that even when Satan should buffet him and trials come, he is assured that the Lord regards his helplessness and gave his life for him. It is also true for us, that no matter what happens in this life, the Lord is there for us and will give us His supernatural peace in the midst of it all. Like it says in Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified}, “You will guard him and keep him in perfect an constant peace whose mind( both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confident in you.”
Challenge for today: Tell the Lord it is well with your soul no matter what happens, for your life is held in His hands.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

September 15, 2020

 
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
God can speak to us in the most unexpected times, through the most unexpected people, in the most unexpected ways. I marvel at the people in scripture that God used to accomplish great things and yet read later how they blew it. Somehow that is reassuring to all of us, that even when we fail, God can restore us, and use us for His kingdom in mighty ways. None of us are perfect; we all disappoint God, others, and ourselves with behavior that is not reflective of those who know the Lord. We often have to admit we fail and are so imperfect in loving others as we may yell at our kids, show impatience to those around us, gossip, wish the worst on our enemies etc.  Our pastor has been preaching about King David recently and though David killed the giant with a smooth stone, led armies to great victories, he also committed adultery and had innocent people killed; but yet He was called a man after God’s own heart. So amazing!! That in itself is a living parable of God’s grace to us after we have failed miserably and need forgiveness; yes, He can still use us as His instrument of blessing to others. I love being in groups where people can be vulnerable and admit their struggles. God uses even their confessions to bring a message to our hearts of His forgiveness and grace. I have been blessed over the years as God has given me a friend or a caring group in most every one of our churches that I could be real with and share my own struggles and need for prayer. Perhaps we get surprised at those whom God uses to speak a word to us that hits the intended target. At times He may use even a child but the message is clear. Let us respond and as it says in James 1:19 (Amplified), “Understand (this), my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear (ready listener), slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.” No matter how He speaks to us or through whom He may use, let us listen to His voice and go His way.
Challenge for today: Be open to those around you whom God is using to speak a message to you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

Itching Ears

New research from George Barna shows, “a broad, deep gap in American political beliefs and behavior, rooted not in ideology or partisanship, but in fundamental differences in the worldview of voting-age adults being fueled by a national cultural shift away from the biblical worldview.” Barna believes, based on his research that, “The 2020 election is not about personalities, parties, or even politics. It is an election to determine the dominant worldview in America.

Barna payed particular attention to those he calls “integrated disciples.”  These are persons with a consistent biblical worldview.  The survey indicated that only 6% of those who identified as Christian had a biblical worldview.  These believers tended to hold conservative political views in greater number than adults without a biblical worldview.  

For example, they believe in the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, 95% vs. 34%, and are more deeply committed to practicing their religious faith, 98% to 57%.  These folks are two and a half times more likely to be conservative on social issues 91% vs. 34%.

What I find interesting is Barna’s contention that politics is no longer about party platforms but competing worldviews.  “Over the past 40 years Americans have gradually but consistently abandoned a range of foundational, biblical beliefs in favor of a human-centric, consensual, emotion-driven understanding of and response to the world.  That transition has been highly visible in relation to morality and political preferences.” 

Men, this reminds me of Paul’s warning to Timothy about those with “itching  ears.”  “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” ( II Tim 4:3).  

The “seismic sixties” as Os Guinness calls it, was the decade when the radical ideas first broke through into mainstream American thinking and life.  Guinness notes, “the 60’s sowed the poison seeds that are producing today’s bitter harvest.  The roots of those ideas predate the 60’s, but it was in the 60’s where they became dangerous.”

In the 1973, as a young pastor I read Os Guinness book “The Dust of Death” several times over.  It cemented my thinking to be a “Jesus person” and a pastor of “the Book.”  I never doubted my stance as I lived through those years.  As a feeling, intuitive man, I clung to my testimony of Jesus, wanting to be  credible witness for him with the Lutheran church.  But I needed help thinking my way through the changing times.  I wanted the Bible to form my worldview.

Today, having lived through the 60’s, being ordained in 1970, I am part of that 6% that Barna discovered in his research.  I survived due to the following commitments I made regarding the Word of God. 

First, Scripture is God’s inspired Word and it has the final say when it comes to faith and practice.  I had to settle that in my mind.  Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt 24:34).   

Second,  I gladly submit my thinking to the authority of God’s Word.  If something is not clearly found in scripture I will raise a big question mark.  

Thirdly, I continue to  need guidance as I journey with Jesus through the changes and chaos that is coming.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps. 119:108).   

Fourthly, I need help to be an integrated follower of Jesus (in word and deed).  Scripture does that for me if I obey, “But don’t just listen to God’s word.  You must do what it says.” ( James 1:23).   

    

September 14, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Not so good for the Vikings though.Emoji I got our favorite bars made and took our our Fall decorations. Soon we are going to the dentist in Remer for our check ups and cleaning. One day we will have to find a dentist here in Baxter. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Lately Al and I have known many friends and acquaintances that have died; some were older but some were young and suddenly taken. As a result, it has caused us to take more time to be reflective and talk about heaven as we walk on the trail each afternoon. Al happened to get a book recently by Larry Crabb, “Waiting for Heaven”, and I have read only a few chapters but it has caused me to rethink some things. Perhaps we keep heaven at a distance and think only of the here and now and miss the larger story. When we do that, we attempt to find our satisfaction in what the world offers and become self-centered, often addicted to so many things like food, drugs, sex etc. Our real satisfaction is to be found in God and He never promised us that life would be bed of roses in this world with comfortable circumstances.  In fact, he said we would have trials and testing and that they could make us stronger and more like Him in the process. Crabb says there is too much casual Christianity today and instead of living in humility and being other centered, people seek pleasure and get addicted to things that they think will make them happy. We must wait for heaven to provide complete satisfaction and not get self- absorbed in the meantime. Our hope is in Him and we wait for what is ahead rather than taking things into our own hands.  If we are honest, we may have to admit that we want pleasant experiences now and relief from anything that is difficult. Crabb writes of Complacent Christians that want a comfortable life now and live in self-protection with a desire for self-enhancement. Casual Christians want to avoid pain and find themselves often giving in to pleasures of the world. But Committed Christians choose to wait in hope without demanding satisfaction from the world now but expecting everything that is awaiting them one day in heaven. Peter says in I Peter 1:13 (Amplified), “So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed.”
Challenge for today: Be willing to wait in hope for what God has promised for later.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 12, 2020

Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! We had a morning rain and everything looks so fresh. I wrote letters this morning and went for some groceries and to get some prizes to wrap. Last night I got news that another friend died but thankfully she was with family and peacefully went home to the Lord. None of the deaths these past weeks have been from COVID and PTL our pastor’s son tested negative for it too.   
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Sometimes we just know when something is a God thing and that He has orchestrated every detail, leaving us with a sense of awe. That’s how I felt when I read an article by Jim Nelson who was the driver of a van on a mission to pick up Bibles one day for International Christian Literature Distributors. ICLD is a wonderful organization that sends Bibles and Bible-related materials all over the world to give to those who do not have access. While he was driving to pick up some Bibles, he wondered if it would be just a bag or two, but he was in for a big surprise.  When he arrived at the business that was donating the Bibles, he parked and was directed upstairs to the second floor. He was astounded when he saw the huge stacks of Bibles and wondered how he was going to manage to get them all downstairs and into the van; especially since he had undergone triple-bypass surgery. When he went back to start the van to move it closer to the building, it wouldn’t start. Of all places he was presently in the parking lot of an Automotive Repair shop!  How fortunate he was and they got right to work on taking out his old starter and putting in another. But while they were doing that, a Bobcat showed up and the owner was a Gideon who helped collect all those used Bibles and replaced them with new ones in hotels and hospitals etc. He was the boss and had a great solution to getting those Bibles to the van. He removed the second story window and raised the Bobcat to the window. Some of his men came and helped load it upstairs while others unloaded the Bibles downstairs into Jim’s van. There were over 30 boxes of Bibles which meant almost 1,000 Bibles could be sent to pastors and churches overseas who had requested them. When the last box of Bibles was loaded, you can guess how far along the mechanic was; he just finished putting in the starter!  Jim was soon on his way back to ICLD with praise in his heart and a wonderful story to tell. God arranged it all and His timing perfect. How many times does God do miraculous things before our eyes? He is a God of the impossible and there is nothing too hard for Him. Jesus said in Luke 18:27 (NRSV),” What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.”
Challenge for today: Be alert to God’s hand and timing in your life and give thanks.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy

September 11, 2020

Dear Ones,                                                                                                                                                       Hope you are having a good day and able to get out on this gorgeous sunny day. .Al’s sister is on her way home now and we enjoyed her visit so much. I am washing and cleaning up and making zucchini fries with Ann’s garden produce.                               Devotions from Judy’s heart                                                                                                           Today so many of us woke up remembering how we felt 19 years ago on 911 as we were shocked, almost to unbelief, by the terrorist attack. We most likely remember exactly where we were when we saw footage of the plane flying into the twin towers and the devastation that resulted. But we also remember how America came together and felt connected all across our country. We felt like one nation, under God and were united together. But there is even a deeper connection we experience when we belong to the family of God. We are joined with others in the Spirit, for we are God’s children seeking to bring glory to Him. It doesn’t matter if we belong to the same country, or the same family, or have known one another long, there is a deep connection. Al’s sister from Michigan was just here for a visit and it was wonderful after all these months of COVID to be together again. We spent hours catching up and sharing deeply; and because we know the Lord, even when we are not physically together, we still feel united. Not long ago we also had friends from Tulsa come that we haven’t seen for a year, and yet there was an immediate bond of sharing the Lord together. Or just a couple weeks ago, meeting with 3 other couples from our Board and being together in the joy of His presence. God has made us for Himself and if we live our lives apart from Him, we are missing the greatest opportunity of a life time, which has eternal consequences. We also miss out on knowing our Christian brothers and sisters who encourage us, who help us on this journey through life. It doesn’t matter that we are not all alike for we are joined by our one Father. Our three children, now adults, do not look alike or have the same gifts but they belong to our one family because we are their parents. Let us not miss out on the most important relationship of all with our Heavenly Father for when we know Him, we are eternally together. As it says in Isaiah 62:4 (The Message), “No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no longer be ruined. You’ll be called My Delight, and your land Married.”                                                                                           Challenge for today: Delight in your Heavenly Father and use opportunities to invite others into the family.                                                                                                                             Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

September 10, 2020

Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. Al’s sister came yesterday afternoon and we are enjoying catching up with her. This morning we are going shopping at JoAnn Fabrics as there seems to be so few left open. We are also going out for lunch afterwards and spend a leisurely day together. Fun!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I don’t know if you are like me, but I often find myself praying to be less self-centered and more focused on the Lord and others. We are all on a life-long journey and each season has challenges. I am reading Ronald Rolheiser’s book, Sacred Fire and he writes about what lies beyond the essentials of discipleship and shares about the different stages. In the first stage of Essential Discipleship we struggle to get our life together. We may start out life in a secure home but when we hit puberty, we are insecure; we try to find our own identity and acceptance and go on to seek a career, mate and ask, “Who am I and where do I find meaning?” We want to make a name for ourselves and live a meaningful life, but of course, only God can give us significance.  The second stage is Mature Discipleship which is the longest season and a time we work hard and have responsibilities.  But it is also a time we struggle to give our life away more deeply, and more generously and meaningfully. It is usually in our 20’s to 30’s that we begin to experience this but for some it is far older and lasts until retirement. We begin to live more for others than ourselves and think of what we can contribute and not what we can get. The third stage is Radical Discipleship and this is where we struggle to give our deaths away. As I wrote recently, how we leave this earth has an impact on those we leave behind. We want to make a deeper life-giving contribution to them and the world. If we do it with faith and in peace, it is likely that our death may be our final and best gift to them. But whatever stage we are in, Jesus is always inviting us to a deeper relationship with Him and to open our hearts in new ways to all that He has for us. Col. 2:7 (Amplified) says, “Have the roots (of your being) firmly and deeply planted  (in Him, fixed and founded in Him), being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”
Challenge for today: Take time to spend with the Lord and to know Him in deeper ways.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy

 

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