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.
So I have 5 minutes to write on the word “turn”: Set the Timer: Go
I keep hearing the words from the Bible: “Turn from your ways”.
And that’s exactly what God told me when I accepted Jesus as Saviour in 2001.
” ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live’ (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV).”
There were many ways I had to turn from.
Here are 3:
I’m still judgmental. But not as bad as I was. Everything that would happen I would have an opinion and I believed my thoughts and ways were the best.
I am working on turning even further from that.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).”
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Oh yes, I think that is how I am wired. I am a task-master, a doer, a person who likes to get things done. I want to fix things and make them right. I’m reminded of Peter – yes, he too wanted to make things right. Remember when he wanted to set up tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus? He thought that was the right thing to do. It was not.
I have to learn over and over that others have thoughts and ideas too. I am working on that as well. But, as someone told me, “Don’t let go the fire that you have inside you. Just don’t burn anyone.”
Self-control – that’s what I am working on. Keep looking to Jesus.
I worried constantly. The control part of me helped me do that. I feared climbing ladders, thunderstorms, speaking in front of people, what people would think, how I looked. And it goes on and on.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes (Matthew 6:25, NIV)”.
Bible Art by Janis Cox
Now I learned to pray and I have heard that the best worriers become the best intercessors.
Jesus let me drop all that when I said to Him, “I’m yours.” Now I will go boldly where Jesus wants me to go. I will tread the waters and not look down.
These are my 3 big turns since deciding to follow Jesus.
Time’s up. Join me at Five-Minute Fridays to speak your mind about a prompt.
Update: I needed to find a release. I think that’s more like freedom. Timing is good for this release too.
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash
I know it’s been awhile since I posted here. I have been busy writing on Medium.com. I’ve been busy taking courses. Maybe too busy.
You can check out my posts by going to Janis Cox Medium. You don’t have to sign up to read the posts. But you can’t “clap” (which is a “like”) unless you sign up. (A few of my posts are in a program to get paid and you can’t get those unless you subscribe to Medium.) If you are already a member please tell me so I can drop over to visit you.
I did a 30-day challenge to write 5 days a week in March. Whew, that was interesting. I don’t think I’ll keep up that pace. I learned a lot though.
This week as I talked to God and read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 I realized I needed to take a break, a release.
We travel back home to Canada on Tuesday – so lots to do here in terms of closing up.
I have been so involved in learning about blogging, writing, creating and doing I forgot to pause to live. So I am going to take a release from all of this. And I want to work on my Bible Study course.
It’s going to be hard because I love to write. But I think I need to regroup with God to discover how to enjoy this writing adventure and life too. I need to find a rhythm – a holy rhythm.
Writing about what God is telling me and teaching me is exciting. However, I need to find a schedule that fits my life.
And coming back to Canada there are other responsibilities and family to have time for.
Also, I am doing 7 Artist in the Schools workshops when I return. That will keep me involved.
So I feel God has given me a release from this job of writing for the moment.
You might see me here on Five-Minute Fridays though – because that’s what I like – to keep things SIMPLE.