Welcome to my new Etsy Shop with my paintings
I have added ten paintings for digital download. Come and visit.
More on the way. Here are three of them.
Special price this week. – Only 50 cents each.
I have added ten paintings for digital download. Come and visit.
More on the way. Here are three of them.
Special price this week. – Only 50 cents each.
Radical: “very different from the usual or traditional”
“favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions” ~ Merriam Dictionary
The best example of being radical in our lives happened after my hubby was denied a $100 raise. We were astonished as it had been promised. But it turned out to be such a blessing. It pushed us into trusting God to lead us. It pushed us into starting our own company. We needed to let go of any fear of failure; fear of what others would say; fear that we couldn’t provide for our family.
You can read a little bit about this here:
After almost fifteen years of running our own business, we heard a different call. Step back. While taking a break on Margarita Island, hubby and I talked about how much joy we were getting out of running this business. Hubby was a 6 and I was a 2. We discussed whether it was possible to sell the business and how would we go about it. That will be another post.
Suffice to say that we decided on that sabbatical to look into selling.
Nine months later and many setbacks, we successfully sold the business.
As we listened to God for the next step of our journey, we knew that hubby needed to keep busy. He had worked all his life and this early retirement had him a little scared.
We decided to move away from our home town, up to the trees and the lakes. We decided to take on a project of building our own home. Hubby always loves building and plans so this kept him very occupied and happy. We even renovated a cottage at the same time.
However, when all was said and done and we moved in we said:
What if we used the area above the garage to make a couple of bedrooms and rent them out as a Bed and Breakfast? Sounded exciting. So we took that plunge.
We ran our B & B for four years. We found it fascinating to meet new people, discussing various subjects at breakfast. Finding out about different lands, and different ideas enlightened our thinking.
During this time we both had become involved in our little town. Our B & B made it harder and harder to work around our schedules. And my mother had come to live with us as well for part of the time. Our family had grown and we needed the rooms when they visited.
So we closed down that enterprise.
Those are just a few of our radical moves in this life. I didn’t even count the one about our early marriage.
You can read about that here:
A long time ago I read a book called “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat” by John Ortberg.
That book started me thinking of what my life would be like if I completely listened to God. And not only listened but did what He said.
The first time I truly listened to a radical spiritual calling happened while reading a post on the Internet. I read that there was a mission that taught English to Polish people while also helping them to read their Bibles and discover Jesus in their lives.
My heart started to pound. I really felt this might be something I should do.
I had so many buts.
I kept hearing — GO. Different times I would see the same post. I had to find out more. But that meant emailing someone. NO, I didn’t think I could do that. And it was someone I didn’t know.
When God really wants you to do something, He makes it very clear.
This notion of going to Poland would not leave me.
I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I wrote the email.
After many back and forth conversations, talking with my hubby and lots of praying, I decided to take that step and go. I had to go on training as well. That’s another story.
I visited Poland five times on a mission trip and once with my hubby on a vacation. We met lovely people and I developed a passion to teach others to read God’s Word. I also loved working with children (one of my jobs at the camp) and this led me to run a VBS for seven years at our church. And I grew in my faith and trust in God.
Living radically means listening to God.
Are you hesitant?
Is there something you feel called to do but are afraid?
Is God placing a call on your life — and you are holding back?
May I suggest you talk with your Pastor or a mentor?
Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.
Remember to listen to His answer and how He speaks to you.
Disclaimer: There is an affiliate link in this post.
I think forgiveness is the hardest thing to do. I have been in that situation a few times. I found that when I didn’t forgive, my muscles were tight, sickness invaded my system easier and my bones ached. So much for hurting anyone but myself. When I forgave (this doesn’t mean you have to agree with the person or even like them) the person or situation, I became free.
I am reading the Bible in three years.
Today’s scriptures, to me, focused on forgiveness. Another day I may see something else.
We are told that we are set apart, called to be saints. To be a saint really means we are holy — because of Christ. Nothing we have done. Paul states this to all of Rome. Everyone can belong to God.
And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: (Romans 1:6–7, NIV)
After we are restored to God, we are expected to tell others. But who are able to come to God? — those with broken spirits and contrite hearts. They have sought forgiveness either from others or from God.
I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. (Psalm 51:17, MSG)
“Heart-shattered lives ready for love” — open, and free.
Jonah listened to God (finally) and proclaimed the truth to Nineveh, warning of their destruction.
All the people and the king fasted. They wore sackcloth — a sign of repentance. They prayed to God to forgive them. And they gave up their evil way.
God had compassion and there was no destruction.
God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. What he said he would do to them he didn’t do. (Jonah 3:10, MSG)
After I had read the passages, I wrote my thoughts.
Who are you angry at?
What is there in your heart that might not be pleasing to God?
Once per transaction. Then Jesus covers you.
Thank You Jesus, that You are right here. I don’t need my transgressions to build until I can tell a priest. You are the High Priest that will hear and answer immediately.
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously. (MSG)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)
I love The Message: “Take God seriously.”
When I went to God in prayer, this is the poem I heard.
Anger eats away at our souls
Crusty, hard, judgmental
Warm your hearts
Embrace the compassion of God.
Anger builds walls
Confession breaks down walls
Hearts are restored
God is connected
©Janis Cox 2020
Lord, You see inside us. Help us to see what You see so we can confess. Break open our hearts to the truth so we can be healed. We ask forgiveness for …. [fill it in]. Thank You that You hear us. Thanks for reconnecting with us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I love writing Haiku because my thoughts are short but go right to the heart of the matter.
My paintings are becoming looser as I let God help me relax and let the paint flow.
I have heard many people say they can’t paint but I love this quote:
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh
To write and to paint
Both help my life to flourish
No striving — living
Its flight path straight
The hummingbird heads with speed
Sweet nectar awaits
Light and fanciful
Bobbing along and carefree
Orchid, strong perfect
Simplicity of design
Arose from a hub
A cactus flower springs forth
Spring in the desert
Golden beauty glows
Nods its head to the daylight
A smiling sunflower
On studying Psalm 94:3 I wrote this poem.
How long, Lord?
The plea of those without hope
I am sure they are crying out to You, Lord
I can hear their cries of anguish
Rescue them, Lord
Keep the police informed
Help the officials and those working to stop trafficking and slavery
Find and charge the perpetrators
Change the hearts of those who do this evil
Just like Paul was blinded by the light of Jesus.
Do the same to these men, women, whoever
Blind them and make them see the Light
Make them hear Your Words
Make them STOP
Open all eyes to know when something is not right
Help us to help stop this
Open hearts to give, every little bit helps
Open hearts to join all groups that work
To bring justice to the downtrodden
Free the captives
Open doors to new lives of freedom
Help restore lives
My anguish is real
My heart is sore
My head hurts
Why oh Lord?
How long must this go on?
Why do people hurt others?
Why must they have this power?
Help the officials find them
Help them rescue the abused
Use your Power oh Lord
Burst their balloons!
Make them deflate
©Janis Cox 2019
I am wearing a dress and a button every day in December to talk to people and raise funds for advocacy about human trafficking.
Here are a few pictures of my first few days.
But it sure causes conversation and that’s what I am trying to do. And it’s cool here.
Special sale from now until the end of the year 2019
Where can you get a children's book for $8.00 Canadian (about $6.01 US)? I pay the shipping.
All money except my shipping costs goes to Dressember Canada.
For a number of years, the thought of one person controlling, abusing and hurting another has bothered me. When I first heard of human trafficking, I thought only of those in third world countries. Wrong, it’s happening here in Canada too and in the US.
We need to spread the word and get more people noticing what is happening so we can stop this abuse.
Last year I drew yellow pictures with scriptures for the month of November to help IJMCanada.
“IJM partners with local authorities in 19 program offices in 11 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor.”
The Kingdom of Thrim is available for $8.00 with no shipping costs. While supplies last. To the continental US and Canadian addresses only.
All the monies collected minus the shipping will be donated to my Dressember Team for International Justice Mission to help break the chains of abuse in human trafficking.
Buy The Kingdom of Thrim here with this Button.
The Kingdom of Thrim – only $8.00 Canadian. Although the button says PayPal you will be able to use all types of credit cards.
What is truth? What are truths in your faith that you stand on?
Jude is the shortest book in the Bible — only 25 verses. I read it this morning in three versions. Then we studied it in church.
What a powerful little book it is.
Jude was one of Jesus’ brothers along with three others. Stepbrothers actually, as Jesus was not born from Joseph. James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Jude). [Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55–56] They were not following Jesus before His death.
But all the brothers became leaders in the first Jewish Christian communities.
Jude was a travelling missionary evangelist. And this book is written to a church in crisis. In his writing, he assumes that this church has a massive knowledge of Jewish scriptures as well as the Apocrypha. The Book of Enoch is found in that body of work.
Every church faces some sort of crisis. We have been in 4 churches and each one has had some type of crisis. Usually, the crises are based on financial matters, leadership or people vying for power.
Jude knew he had to speak to this church or group of churches with the power of Christ.
The first 4 verses and last verse are appeals to the church. The middle is filled with warnings.
“I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:1, NIV)
So we know we have been called. You didn’t find Jesus. He found you. You might have been searching as I had been. But in the end, Jesus came to me and revealed Who He is.
We have been saved, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and He loves us.
I love this. We are kept as a gift for Jesus. God gave us to Him. He is the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride.
“And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating -.” (Jude 24, The Message)
Jesus keeps me from stumbling, He keeps me on my feet.
What truths are there worth dying for? There are many doctrines and ideas in the Church. But which ones are important to you? I think I agree with our pastor that these are the things most important to my faith.
If we don’t stick to the essential doctrines of our faith, it will become watered down and useless.
Find out what is essential to your belief.
First, there were books, and now the Internet are full of “truths’’. What people believe to be true.
“There is a boldness behind the keyboard. But what is the proof of what they say?” ~ Pastor Rick Thiemke
But when our faith is at stake, then our salvation is also at stake.
Watch out for books, even ones that have scripture in them. Be aware of whether they are biblical or not. Or are they pulling scripture to match their own thoughts? Are they adding worldly thoughts and ideas, such as astronomy?
Are they politically charged?
Are they teaching the prosperity gospel? “Do this and God will bless you.”
Are they teaching self-help with a semi-Christian message?
What is the real truth?
“We need to fly under a different banner as Christians.” ~Pastor Rick Thiemke
It’s all about Jesus. We need to fly the banner of Jesus.
When we gather under Jesus, all our differences disperse. Jesus pulls diverse people together.
When we teach the Gospel, we need to be culturally relevant or people won’t understand. But we must never water down the Gospel. It is what it is.
First of all, we know that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13, NIV)
“But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.” (John 16:13, The Message)
Our faith has always been threatened from within the Church.
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 10:29, NIV)
And from some of the things I have seen in churches, savage wolves isn’t too far off.
“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!” (Jude 20–21, The Message)
In order to be prepared, we need to know our faith.
We need to build ourselves up. Praying. Reading God’s Word. Loving God. Let Him love you.
Learn how to feed yourselves on a daily basis.
Don’t count on a weekly sermon to feed you fully and satisfy you. You need to work out your faith in fear and trembling.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12, NIV)
We need to build spiritual muscle. If we don’t know the scriptures we can easily be led astray.
Even if you don’t think you will understand the Scripture, read it anyway because the Holy Spirit will help you understand.
That’s what happened to me. As I journaled and questioned God, and prayed and studied, the LIGHT started to come on. And it continues to change and grow me.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)
“Faith by its very action must be tested and tried.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Listening to God through the Holy Spirit will not lead you astray. We don’t want to rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4–5, NIV)
Saturday I wrote about being stuck on Jesus. I talked about God’s Word being like a kaleidoscope. So many colours. So many ideas. Such power.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to contend for the faith. To learn more by being in Your Word and praying. Help us to help others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
One of the songs we sang this morning is “This I Believe”
(the Creed) by Hillsong.
*Most of this is based on a sermon Sunday, November 3rd by Rick Thiemke at Via Church, Mesa, AZ.
I haven’t had much time to write in the past week. We travelled to our winter residence in Arizona this past week. Getting ready, flying, opening up the house and shopping all take time.
I think I am finally able to sit at the computer and write.
This morning I painted the first Bible art I had done in a while. I read Oswald Chambers and got to thinking about the verse he quoted.
“All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you — that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” (The Message)
The disciples had just returned from a successful mission. They had been able to cast out demons and heal the sick. They were excited.
But Jesus cautioned them.
Remember you didn’t do these miracles. God did.
How often do we think we did something in our own strength?
How often do we think how smart we are, what a great idea I thought up?
Oswald Chambers is very clear about this too.
The one great challenge to us is — do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit?
Does He count the number of converts? Does He count how many dinners we served to the poor? Does He count how kind we are to others?
I am sure some of these things might please Him. But they are not what He needs from us.
Do we know that Jesus has authority over everything? And do we know we need to yield to Him and no one else?
“Am I wise enough in God’s sight but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world to trust in what Jesus has said?” ~ (Oswald Chambers)
This all must have been an important lesson from God because in today’s sermon our pastor preached on the same thing. This time from the last chapter of John.
According to our pastor, this last chapter of John is full of questions, humour, and powerful teaching.
Here we have the disciples who have loved and followed Jesus for the past years, all of a sudden bereft — their rabbi, the one they believed was the Saviour, the Messiah, had been brutally murdered. They were alone. They were probably laughed at and scorned.
They went back to what they did before Jesus came into their lives.
They went fishing.
Sometimes we do that too — right? When we have had a failure or feel like we have been let down — we return to what felt good before. I am sure anyone who has an addiction knows that feeling. I can’t do it the new way so I need to return to what I did before.
There were the disciples — out fishing at night. All night. And nothing. Not one fish did they catch all night.
Then they hear a voice say, “Cast your nets on the other side of the boat.” I am sure they had tried both sides all through the night. But this time when they released the net into the water — their net is filled to the brim, 153 fish, and the net didn’t break!
What is that telling us? Through their time with Jesus, they had seen miracles, and they had done miracles themselves. But did they see those signs as just miracles? Or as the big answer —
During the time Jesus was on earth He was showing everyone what it looked like when God’s rule was on earth.
These signs were normality with Jesus.
The very first sign or miracle was water into wine at Cana. It was the best wine ever and there was plenty for the entire wedding patrons. (John 2:1–11)
Another was the loaves and fish. Not only did they end up with enough to feed the 5000 but they had lots left over. (John 6:1–14)
There is no scarcity when Jesus is in charge.
Everything that you do — all you have, is a gift from God. This is so anti-the world. The world is all about self-help, self-love, fixing it up in your own strength. Work hard and all will be well. That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard but it’s God who gives us the energy, the passion and the ability to do the work.
Everything is His. We are the stewards.
Nowadays many politicians prey on the fear of scarcity to get their points across. They talk of running out of everything.
We are finite. God is infinite.
A God of abundance is NOT the prosperity gospel. This is the fact that with God there is abundance from Him.
“You can’t fish well without Me,” says Jesus.
As I said, we are a “me first” culture. My rights. My ideas. My self. And it’s hard to give up our self-sufficiency, our autonomy.
We also need to balance our faith with conservative management. God gave us brains to be wise stewards of our talents and our finances. There is a tension between faith and management. We need to pray about it — to find the right balance.
In the story of the wine and the bread and fish, there was a little that changed into a lot.
When we take communion we need to see our need for Jesus.
Everything comes from the hand of Jesus.
Jesus is present and powerful and spiritual during communion. He is our Provider and our Sustainer. We need to allow ourselves to come to the table ready to recognize His presence (like Peter when he recognized Jesus on the shore).
“Jesus said, ‘Breakfast is ready.’ Not one of the disciples dared ask, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Master.” (John 21:12, The Message)
It’s hard to see the comparison to bread — as North Americans with full freezers of food. We don’t live on our daily bread.
But if you listen to Jesus you will see the truth. With Him, we can have abundance.
What are you allowing God to do through you?
Can you give Him your all?
Can you make Him your One and Only?
Jesus is life! Life abundantly.
“I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)
Oh Lord, it’s hard to not do things on our own. Our will is strong. But Your teaching is stronger. We know we need to give things to You, in prayer and every day in our lives. Giving up ourself is not easy. Wanting to be right, and strong is ingrained in our lives. Help us to learn to live through Jesus and live more abundantly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thanks to Pastor Rick Thiemke at Via Church for a spirit-filled message today.
I am offering The Kingdom of Thrim, signed copies, to everyone who orders from now until September 18th — $13.00 Canadian and no shipping cost. To Canadian residents and US mainline residents only.
Please check this out at my Bookstore or message me for more information.
By author/illustrator Janis Cox
Glynis Belec says,
“Janis’s delightful watercolor illustrations add to the charm of this story and the activities and research ideas at the back of the book serve to enhance the enjoyment of THE KINGDOM OF THRIM”
Maria I. Morgan says,
“Author Janis Cox does a marvelous job teaching the timeless truth of seeking God in all of our decisions. Beautifully illustrated by Janis, The Kingdom of Thrim will be popular with children and grandchildren alike!”