What do you watch out for?

What do you watch out for?

The prompt this week for Scribble Picnic, an art co-operative, is Watch out.

How often as parents have we said those words? “Watch out.” “Don’t trip on that log.” ‘Don’t run into that table.”

As parents we are conscious of what can happen if a child makes a careless move.

Recently my granddaughter has twice tripped and fallen. She got a goose-egg on her forehead  both times. She is three years old. Will she do it again? Probably. But I am sure she is becoming more aware that she has to watch out where she walks. All paths are not clear of objects.

How often do we do that in our lives? How often can we see trouble coming if we say something and do something? But we do it anyway. We don’t always watch out even though the signs are there.

There are many “watch out”s in the Bible. Here is one that I think we all might take a closer look at.

Don’t be greedy.

 Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15, NIV).

watch out

I do Bible painting in a special Bible just for art. It helps me remember verses that are important to me. As soon as I read the prompt “watch out”, many verses came to mind. But at the moment decluttering has been on the top of my list. I have pitched (given away) lots of stuff. I have more to go. It is freeing for my mind and soul.

I found this article amazing in how much stuff we are accumulating that we don’t use or need.

21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own

Lately I have been reading much about simplicity. How much do we really need? There are many articles that show that the more clutter we have the more cluttered our minds become.

Here are some good sites if you are interested in decluttering:

Modern Simplicity by Sandy Kreps

Passionate Homemaking

365 Less Things

Stop Household Clutter 

I have written about decluttering my mind in order to pray.

How to Live simply.

 


watch out

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Black and White – What are your truths?

Black and White – What are Your Truths?

Today’s prompt is black and white. I have been pondering about this theme. What are my black and whites? My truths. I am joining #ScribblePicnic.

I don’t believe everything is black and white.

I don’t think others should be telling people what to think and what to do.

But I do know there are certain truths that I put my faith in. And I am sure that you do too. We all have our black and whites.

These are my Black and Whites about my faith which is my life:

I believe in the Apostles’ Creed (that’s my faith statement).

Jesus is My Rock.

I believe we need to love, care and help others no matter their colour, their faith, their background – whatever.

I believe God put me here on earth for a purpose and I am trying to follow that way. I try to listen to what He is telling me.

I believe I can communicate with my God. I write about what I learn as I continue to grow in my faith. I read my Bible daily.

I believe we cannot judge one another. There is One who judges. Period.

I believe in a community – a community of believers, of like-minded individuals (like artists), of young people, of seniors, (whatever) – a group of people that help one another. (That’s why I love our church.)

So today I am going to sketch my black and white.

.

black and white

 

But my faith needs colour.

I need joy, compassion, hope, love, excitement, energy, enthusiasm – I need life. Life to me is colour. So my black and white will be coloured with the zeal of living

 

black and white

 

If you enjoyed this article, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Please click to get 2 Free EbooksLiving Life — One Word at a Time and Five Ways God Changed Me

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black and white

5 Ways to Become a Watchman for God

5 Ways to Become a Watchman for God

By concentrating on learning more about God I can become His watchman.

Lessons on Communicating with God

Colossians 4:2 says:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

I like that idea — to devote myself to prayer — but how can I accomplish it? While studying Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge I realized that prayer is beyond any expectations that I ever thought possible.

I would like to become a watchman for God.

And to do that I must stay alert to what’s happening around me. That way I can help others, I can thank God and be grateful for His help.

Mark says: Prayer is the difference between seeing with our physical eyes and seeing with our spiritual eyes.

Here are 5 ways I have found to bridge the gap between earth and the unseen world.

1. Pray specifically for God to open your eyes

Only God can open our spiritual eyes.

I know when I do this that I will be seeing things I would normally pass over. I will see divine appointments. I will notice where God is leading me.

The Aramaic word for prayer means “set a trap for”.

Instead of thinking of prayer as a list of wants we need to see prayer as a way to ask God to speak to us. (tweet this)

Waiting for Him to give us wisdom. Waiting for Him to answer our questions.

watchman

From my Bible journalling on Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson

2. Prayer is a two-way conversation.

We need to remember it isn’t just us speaking. God can reply. God speaks through our dreams, our desires, our promptings, impressions and ideas. The Holy Spirit helps us to do this. We could say the Holy Spirit is our Sixth Sense. He helps us see into the spiritual realm and to hear across the divide between earth and heaven. That’s the way to become a watchman.

3. Be prepared for work and practice.

Set a time each day to practice the art of prayer. Set your alarm if you need to get up earlier. Be specific in what you ask and then wait. This prayer journey must become routine. We need to do it each day.

4. Read God’s Word daily.

Start using God’s Word as an offence. Pray the Scriptures.

Mark says: Quit talking to God about your problem and start talking to your problem about God.

watchman

Bible Journalling from Days 12 and 14 from Mark Batterson’s Draw The Circle

5. Read devotionals, Bible studies and thoughtful theologians.

These resources will help enrich your experience. Make sure that the references you are using are biblical. I like books that are filled with scriptures.

Here are a few books that I enjoy:

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Draw the Circle The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormy Omartian

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

You are welcome to have a free PDF about a SIMPLE Method of studying the scriptures that I developed. (Join my newsletter at Growing Through God’s Word Newsletter.)

This prayer journey can be exciting. But we need to begin. So if you haven’t asked God to open your spiritual eyes, do so today and begin a wonderful, exciting journey into communicating with God.

May I pray for you and me?

Thank You Father for this wonderful way to communicate with you. Help us to learn more and more as we ask for Your help. Jesus taught us how to pray by saying Our Father Who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. For ever and ever. Amen.

Until next time, I would love to hear about your prayer journey.

Remember to take time each day to pray and read God’s Word.

You can listen to this devotional and more on my weekly podcast for Hope Stream Radio.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Please click to get 2 Free Ebooks, Living Life — One Word at a Time and Five Ways God Changed Me

Visit my Bookstore.

I blog at www.janiscox.com

You can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram.

How Can I tie it up? A Lesson in Shoe Tying

How Can I Tie it Up? A Lesson in Shoe Tying

Today on #ScribblePicnic Michael gave us this prompt: Tie it up. Since this is the first week back to school my thoughts went to all the tying up of shoes I did as a grade one teacher. And how thrilled I was when those kids could tie them up on their own.

My grandson is going into senior kindergarten and his goal this year is to in his own words, “tie up my shoes really fast”.

tie it up

Therefore my picture today – done very quickly in pencil, then watercolour crayon, is a child learning to tie his shoe.

tie it up

 

tie it up

As I drew this I realized how complicated the motion of tying up shoes can be. I couldn’t tell where those laces were. And look at how the hands have to twist and turn to make the loops.

When I taught school, velcro had just come into existence. Great I thought – this will make things much easier. Wrong. The kids were so thrilled with the velcro I had trouble keeping them from doing up and undoing their shoes in circle time. Zip. Zip. went the velcro. Enough to drive me crazy.

Tying laces in an art. All ice skaters want to be able to do this task. Although I saw skates the other day that had no laces.

I have seen children make two loops to do their shoes but I tie the old-fashioned way. What about you? BUT….

I learned something today. I have been tying my shoes the wrong way. Here is a TedTalk that shows me how I should be tying them. This makes them stronger and they won’t come apart. I always had ended up double knotting mine. I will try this today.

Here is a cute video about kindergarteners tying their shoes.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I am always thrilled how there is something I can draw with the prompt.

tie it up

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

A lesson on active listening

active listening

The other day I read a post about being an active listener and how important it can be. I have a head that never stops thinking except when I am asleep. And I’m not sure about that either as I do have dreams.

How can I stop this mental racket and use active listening? (tweet this)

When I’m listening to someone I do try to keep eye contact and be fully engaged. The problem is that I can get so engaged with what been said that it brings to mind other ideas. And then I feel like I’m going to burst because I want to interact. I know I need to wait for the person to stop talking or at least a break in the conversation. But as you see this leads to not actively listening. If I wait until they are finished I will lose those thoughts. That shouldn’t bother me – but it does.

I want to work on this part of me. I want to find a way of actively listening without interrupting. In church I take sermon notes. This helps me to relax, assured that if I have a question I can jot it down to ask the minister later.

This whole thing made me think about my relationship with God and how I talk to Him. My prayers consist mostly of my talking. Period. That’s it.

But what if my prayers consisted of active listening too? (tweet this)

Could I sit still and really clear my mind of my thoughts and questions and wait for God to speak?

The first time I tried this, years ago, I couldn’t sit still for longer than 5 minutes. After that time I became restless and uncomfortable.

I have, over the years, become better at this. But lately I know I have once again reverted back to talk, talk and talk some more.

That is until yesterday when I read this verse in the Bible from Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you.

Oh my – yes that’s what’s been missing I thought.

I need to STOP what I’m doing and go to God to hear Him. (tweet this)

He says He will instruct, teach and counsel me.

So for the first time in a long time I sat quietly before God. It took me a few uncomfortable, head-filled restless minutes, but eventually I relaxed and opened my heart and head to His Presence.

I felt Him. I felt the peace of Jesus. I even had a few pictures in my mind too. But mostly I heard – You’ve come back.

In my SIMPLE Method of Bible study the outline using these letters gives a time to pray and listen to God. If you want to know more about this method, Join my newsletter and get a free PDF.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, we know we have very active minds that sometimes don’t want to shut down. Help us to learn how to clear our hearts and minds of the mental clatter to be able to hear from You. Give us time to be present with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, while you study a verse or passage take time to pray and listen to God’s voice. You will be inspired.

You can listen to this devotional on my podcast for Hope Stream Radio.

active listening

Thanks for reading!

Please click to get 2 Free EbooksLiving Life — One Word at a Time and Five Ways God Changed Me

Visit my Bookstore.

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Don’t peel that birch bark!

Don’t peel the birch bark!

Scribble Picnic: Curly

The prompt this week is curly. When we first think of curly we think of curly locks – Shirley Temple. But my mind went to our week at the cottage when the kids brought some pieces of birch bark over to the fire. Joining #ScribblePicnic with Michael.

We explained that we do NOT take any bark from the tree as it will hurt the tree – it’s a protective covering and when it is taken off the plant hurts. It does burn very well even when wet.

As a Canadian I value our birch trees.

Here is a national song I learned as a child:

Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver, where still the mighty moose, wanders at will. Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more…

curly

“Don’t peel the bark”. As a young girl this warning has stuck in my head. It takes 5 years for the tree to recover from being peeled.

Instead peel the bark from dead birches, fallen branches, or peel that naturally falls to the ground. We would make canoes, teepees and many other crafts from fallen birch bark.

 

curly

2 minute sketch of bark peeling off the birch tree.

curly

Progression with pencil crayon.

curly

 

Final picture – very quick today as I am travelling once again.

Here are a few interesting posts about birch trees.

Canadian Icon revealed 

Does peeling birch bark cause harm to the tree

curly