I love the way God shows each member of our group different things to look at. This morning during the sermon a church I heard why that happens.
Our Pastor said, “As we examine His Word, God examines us.”
And that’s exactly what we have found while studying the first 5 proverbs.
As I studied Proverbs 5 I knew it talked about faithfulness and the sin of adultery. As I focused on verse 3, I read:
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
This made me think of other things that give me pleasure, but are not necessarily good for my spirit.
I thought of all the enticements that the world offers that we have to be aware of. There are many.
Then I thought about social media. And my new cell phone. Was I drawn to it – more than I should be?
Looking at the honey analogy I see that social media is sweet, enticing and tastes good.
Recently, I read a very good article in the Globe and Mail that showed me that although our desire to see who is talking on line and whether people are liking and commenting is very sweet, it is worse than that — we are wanting more and more.
And to make it worse the people behind the programs, like Facebook and Instagram, can manipulate our “likes” to make us come back to check — which is exactly what they want — the more views, the better advertising. Oh — they caught us!
But how and why do we continue to want to do this?
It’s all about something called dopamine. It’s a funny word — because it reminds me of the word dope — or simple-minded. We are been played for fools.
Screen time has been called “digital heroin”.
Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter. And somehow screens with their likes, comments, games, bring about this feeling. It makes us want more. It is addictive.
Can you live without your cell phone for a week, a day, or a couple of hours? If you can’t answer yes — you may be addicted.
It drips like honey — enticing you.
In the second part of the Proverbs it talks about lips having speech smoother than oil.
There is so much on the Internet that slips into our minds without our noticing if it’s right or wrong. It may soothe your ego, flatter your ability, or lie to you.
Listen to Psalm 5:6
“Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.”
Can that be what we are listening or reading?
Is there a way out of this?
I think there is.
It is called discipline and wisdom.
Read the first 5 proverbs, and you will see that God will provide us the wisdom we need if we ask Him.
In prayer we can ask for help with our own cell addictions and those of our children.
I know with God’s help we can use the devices – cell phones – with wisdom, and discretion.
And for what we read and share on the Net — we need to research it thoroughly and test it against the Word of God. Does it line up?
I would say that:
If it is hateful — it is not of God
If it is judgmental — It is not of God
If it is hurtful — It is not of God.
Remember Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
The more we read the Bible, the more we pray and the more we listen, we will find the wisdom of God.
And when we do we will find joy, love, peace and hope as well.
May I pray for you and me?
Father, we know there are things of this world that can be good and bad. Help us control cell phone use. We know that You can help us discern how much time we spend on our phones, and how we can use them wisely to glorify You. Help us to find that way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Until next time, check yourself and your family.
Are you snared by that phone? Are you missing out in personal communication? Pray for control over that device and stay in the Word to gather discernment about its use.
CALL TO ACTION:
Are you a Christian? If so, do you need to go deeper in your spiritual journey?
One way to continue to grow in God’s Word is online.
Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Wordis an interactive Facebook Group that is a safe place to explore your faith without judgment. Learn to read your Bible and discover God’s Word. Learn to listen and hear God speak.
We share. We learn. We create. We connect. We grow.
Janis is a creativity catalyst with a heart to connect people to God. She specializes in creating art based on Scripture so that the Truth penetrates hearts and not just minds.The world needs more pictures, art and colour.
I am not posting as much here as I have begun to write seriously on another platform called Medium. I belong to a publication called Faith Hacking and one called Publishous. I also write in the member’s posts section.
“Pause” is such an important word in our lives. Jesus went away from all the people to find communion with God. He left early in the morning to go out by himself to pray.
We need to use His example.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35, NIV).”
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16, NIV).”
In the hustle and bustle of our lives we need to take that time. Five minutes. An hour. A day. A week. Take whatever you need to find out what God is saying to you.
I find when I am feeling rushed and tense, it’s good to leave and just breathe somewhere quiet. I use the washroom. Usually that brings quiet. A short walk around the block. Sitting outside in nice weather.
Where do you find rest? We need it physically and spiritually.
My mother-in-law gave us a plate when we were newly married. It didn’t make sense to me at the time. As the years go by it means more and more to me.
I wrote a post about this. And many times in the past few weeks God has said: slow down. Stop. You can read more posts at the bottom.
But I really wonder how many of you will really heed this warning.
What are you striving for?
If you are in ministry, are you doing for God instead of being with God? Sometimes He wants us to slow down to hear His voice. Stop and find out what He wants. There will be more power if you allow the Holy Spirit to enter your life and your decisions.
I am in a hard spell. There has been a lot going on in my life and I can’t seem to concentrate on sitting still and writing.
But here I am.
This Sunday and last Sunday we had marvellous sermons about Pentecost. Yes, the coming to earth of the Holy Spirit. The fire — the life — the revelation.
We need that again.
In 1734 Jonathan Edwards wrote:
“”It pleased God…to display his free and sovereign mercy in the conversion of a great multitude of souls in a short space of time, turning them from a formal, cold, and careless profession of Christianity, to the lively exercise of every Christian grace, and the powerful practice of our holy religion.”
Free and sovereign mercy — God did this.
We have to remember that God brings revival. So what do we do?
Is it time for another awakening of hearts and spirits?
Revivals happen in a period of moral decline. Look at our world: sexual abuse, disgust with those running governments, corruption, killings, and fear. We have screen abuse so we are no longer talking face to face with others. Our reading skills are declining.
Prayer stimulates our hearts and souls and sends a signal to God that we are ready to see Him in action.
Those who teach from God’s Word are speaking into the hearts of the people.
Are you ready for revival?
Do you want to see God’s spirit move in hearts?
Are you ready to be convicted and see yourself as God sees you? (That’s scary.)
I always love this song by Robin Mark. Revive Us.
God has put it on my heart to gather believers together, to grow through God’s Word and prayer.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”
I had to check through God’s Word to see what He said about the word “secret”. I know it’s not good to keep secrets if it hurts someone but it’s also not good to spread news – gossip. The only way we can figure out what God says about secrets is to go to His Word.
Are you looking for a group to help you on your way to growing closer to Him? Do you want to be connected in a deeper way?
It’s time for Five Minute Friday – we have 5 minutes to write on a prompt. The prompt the word is “secret”. Join us and meet others who write for Him.
Surprises are lovely. Keeping things a secret helps with the surprise. We have had 3 big surprise parties.
Surprise Number 1:
I remember my husband’s 30th birthday party. He came in the back gate and found a whole bunch of people in his yard. His first thought was, “What are all these people doing here?” SURPRISE.
Surprise Number 2:
Then he surprised me on my 40th. Our kids were visiting – that was normal. We were going away to Europe the next day. Not normal. I had things still to figure out. But Hubby talked me into having the kids come to celebrate. But then there was the doorbell and people started arriving. Party time. I had fun but told him to time it better the next time – I need time to plan. But what a sweet SURPRISE and well-kept secret.
Surprise Number 3:
Our children surprised us on our 40 wedding anniversary. In the early evening my son-in-law decided to vacuum the carpets – clue. But I thought oh he is being so nice. Then the doorbell rang and I answered it. A friend was at the door. I said, “Oh what’s wrong? Can I help you?” She said, “surprise!” And that was that.
Those were all lovely surprises by keeping them secret.
But today when I heard the word “secret” I immediately started to sing “It is no secret what God can do”.
Are You Longing For An Intimate and Thriving Community of Christian Artists and Writers?
Do you wish to be encouraged in your faith and art? What if you could be strengthened in your faith by fellow artist passionate about putting God first and having a sure foundation for their life’s work in God’s Word?
We know that our strength and power come from God everyday.
“Each day that we live, he provides for our needs and gives us the strength of a young eagle. (Psalm 103:5, Contemporary English Version).”
Bible Art by Janis Cox
Today is Five Minute Friday. Feel free to join us. We set the timer and write free for 5 minutes. The prompt today is “include”.
This post is my response to the prompt “include”, creating a community.
Just think of the power of Christian writers and artists coming together.
This has become my heartbeat.
My focus for writing is to inspire and equip Christian writers and artists to receive strength and power from God – every day. (tweet this)
My first gift to you a free email Bible Art course to excite others in the wonderful world of studying a verse through art. Click HERE to sign up. When we study God’s Word and paint, God’s Word comes to life and sinks into our hearts.
Someone asked me if I could do something. I had to say, “I’m sorry at the moment I have no time”. I even said that I wished God would give me another 24 hours in a day. But you know what, He answered me and showed me how to not be concerned with time.
S – Say the passage out loud. Check other versions.
Today’s study is based on Mark 11:27-33
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him.“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
I – Interpret the passage – check footnotes, references, and commentaries. Find out all you can about the passage. When? Where? Why?
Jesus had just cleansed and cursed the temple. The religious leaders wanted to destroy Him. This is the first of 5 controversies in the temple. Tension is building on the way to the cross.
The temple courts were courts that surrounded the main temple buildings. There was the court of women, court of men (Israelite) and court of Gentiles.
What authority? Priest wanted to know why Jesus could perform an official act when He had no status.
“Heaven” was a common word for “God”.
M – Make list of thoughts, questions and ideas.
Those who called themselves “religious” should have understood Who Jesus was. But they didn’t. They were blinded by obstacles. I was too – See my faith testimony.
Submission to Authority:
The priests had become powerful. They had money and position. They saw Jesus as a threat to that. They reject His authority (28) – See Mark 1:22, Mark 1:27, Mark 2-10-11.
Who is our authority? Is it science, the world, the media, other people, ourselves?
Check out the Evidence:
I read A Case for Christ by Lee Stobel and books by CS Lewis, Max Lucado and of course The Bible to help me answer the question Who is this Jesus?
It’s a great question that Jesus posed. The evidence is seen in Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 40:3 and by John the Baptist.
But even with all this evidence the priests could not get over themselves and the possibility of losing control.
Fear God rather than man:
Fear of man is a common problem (See Proverbs 29:25). The leading Jewish authorities were afraid of the people. So they waffled and said, “We don’t know”. They wanted to stay safe and comfortable and keep the status quo.
P – Pray – after all your thoughts are expended – take time to talk to God and then to LISTEN to Him.
L – Life Application – Write down what you heard God speak (It might be entirely different than your thoughts – that’s okay)
I think it is amazing how God works. This is the passage suggested in the study I am following. And last Sunday it is the text that the sermon was based on. Our pastor, Rick Thiemke, if Via Church in Mesa, Arizona, explained the passage very well and many of my thoughts came from that sermon. I love this quote.
The scripture to study for this week will be Colossians 1:17 because I think it encapsulates all the ideas of TIME.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
E – Exit the study with a written prayer of confirmation, forgiveness, praise or acceptance.
Oh Father, once again You amaze me of how You put things together – this day, this week, this year. The sermon, this Lenten study, Your words through prayer. You tie is all together. You hold everything together. You even expand time. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
CALL TO ACTION
Are you frustrated with your spiritual life?
Do you want to meet Jesus and talk to Him?
Do you need friends to pray and study with together in a safe place?
I have TWO opportunities for you:
1. Grow Through God’s Word is a unique Facebook Group — a safe place to dig deeper and be inspired through God’s Word.
This past while things have been changing. Many things.
As Snowbirds we came back to Canada. That is difficult most times but particularly this year as I caught a wicked cough/cold. Over two weeks ago I succumbed. Just beginning to see the light. We had to adapt to cold. Yes, the weather in Arizona was in the 90s and in below 32 here. I couldn’t get warm.
5. Our house is still for sale so I have to get in a routine of keeping it clean so I don’t have to go into overdrive when the agent has a client coming. While in the States is was easy – the clients saw the house “cold” but clean.
6. Our dog has developed a urinary problem so needs a new diet – no other food and an antibiotic. More watching and waiting.
7. Learning to lean on God more and more. Now I make sure I go to Him first each morning. He certainly showed me I needed to relax and slow down and smell the roses.
8. Lastly, this next week I start into the schools with the Artists in the Schools program to do 7 classroom workshops on Sponge Painting with Watercolour. Please pray. Thank you.