Connecting the Dots

33 Dots that’s how it started – connecting the dots.

connecting the dots

Photo by Sergiu Vlena on Unsplash

My artwork challenge of 33 dots expands my mind, my thinking and my connection to God. And another fact, Jesus died at age 33. I didn’t clue into that fact when I started the challenge. Meg Konovska reminded me of this.

What do you see?

33 dots

The dots connected.

connecting the dots

I saw a frog.

connecting the dots

My final painting.

I looked up information on frogs:

My Frog:

Joy is what the whole world is looking for.

But, we know that the real JOY comes from Jesus.

Image for post

The open tomb says it all:

Image for post

My frog is singing:

My frog has good eyes and ears:

Join us a Growing through God’s Word – A Facebook group where we learn more of God’s Word together.

My First True Christmas

The Story of My First True Christmas

I recall the time that I met Jesus, the day of His birth on my first true Christmas.

my first true Christmas
Christmas Card 2020 by Janis Cox

When did the Christmas Story take hold of me?

One Christmas Eve, we visited a different church in our small town. It was dark when we arrived at the little church.

Haliburton United Church — personal photo

Stained glass windows adorned the walls. We walked in through the narthex at the back of the church.

my first true Christmas

At the front of Haliburton United church. Personal photo.

A buzz of voices greeted us as we entered. A lovely small woman met us at the door and welcomed us to the Christmas Eve service. We found a seat.

A few people said hello but I will never forget the smile on that lovely woman’s face when she said, “Hello, my name is Eleanor.”

We sang Christmas carols and then it was time for the message. The minister rose and walked to the podium.

Then something happened.

My ears were opened that night. I don’t know what he said exactly but he explained the Incarnation in a way that I had never heard. I was a believer at the time. I had been baptized.

But I didn’t understand that:

God came down to earth. He lived here. He walked among us. He was God incarnate.

That hit me deeply. God loved me so much that He left heaven and the heavenly connection He was used to, to come to His people. To rescue them and me.

From that night on, Christmas Eve has never been the same.

I have taken the place of each character that night.

Mary as she birthed her baby (I felt that one).
Joseph as he admired his new child. (I’ve seen that in my husband’s eyes.)
The Shepherds who were astounded, filled with fear but told not to be afraid (how many times have I felt that?)
The Angel — proclaiming the Good News. (When I sing Christmas songs about the Angels, I am carried to the heavens.)
I have even put myself in the spot of Jesus (I was a baby once).

So much happened that night.

From the star in the sky to the shepherds’ arrival, the Incarnation is the most wonderful story of all. And my true first Christmas began.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live on earth, to teach us, to comfort and heal us, to take our sins upon Himself and reconnect us to the Father. We are grateful and happy for knowing Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.

If you have read this far, I have a special gift for you this Christmas.

Please visit this page: A Free Gift of a Colouring page 

 

my first true Christmas

Another place for free gifts until December 31:

End-of-year  SpecialMy first true Christmas

Advent Week Four – Love

This is Advent Week Five. The focus is on LOVE. Love came down in the form of a BABE. God gave His only Son to us. The Incarnation. Love at its highest.

Advent Week Four

Love at its highest.

By reading through God’s Word we can know more and more about this love. And we also learn how we need to show the same love to others.

After reading today’s scriptures, I wrote this poem. Love is this week’s Advent Week Four. 

This is an abecedarian poem. I use the first letter of the alphabet to help me work through my thoughts.

Today’s scriptures: 

Luke 1:46b-55;
1 Samuel 1:1-18;
Hebrews 9:1-14

Journey of Faith

Anyone can
Believe. It only takes a 
Choice to say ‘yes’.

Don’t wait though.
Eternity is your goal.

Faith isn’t easy.
God is patient but
He wants true conviction.

Instead of rules and regulations,
Jesus came to give us the
Knowledge of God, about true
Love and to bring
Meaning to our lives.

No one will be left out if they say ‘yes’.
Open hearts and
People will see the truth.

Questions are allowed and welcomed.
Remember your past.
Study God’s Word.

Testimonies are needed
Until the choice is made.

Victory is assured
Whenever someone
eXercises the choice to believe.

You’re saved at the end.
Zed.

©Janis Cox 2020

May I pray for you and me?

Father, you said we only need belief the size of a mustard seed. Help us to make that choice and stick with it. Help us say ‘yes’ and then spread our love to others. Help us not fall away. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Read the rest of my Advent poems.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Join us to learn more about God in our lives. Facebook Growing through God’s Word.

Join me in learning to enjoy art, particularly watercolour. Monthly Art Creations.

Advent Week Three – Joy

So many scriptures have the word “joy” in them. I read that “joy” is found 155 times in KJV.

This is Advent Week Three – Joy

Advent Week three - joy

From the top of my Christmas tree. Personal photo.

Therefore, Joy must be important to God.

He created us to feel that emotion. He also blessed us with the Holy Spirit so we can feel joy even when we don’t feel happy. Weird eh?

As I study 3 passages a day, I am learning so much about God, about me and about my relationship with others. I also joined Kimberley Payne’s challenge to read through the book of Luke this Advent Season. Challenged for sure.

I wrote this abecedarian after reading Psalm126,

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy. (Psalms 126:2, NIV)

I also read Habakkuk 3:2-6, Philippians 3:12-16

Afterwards

After
Bad
COVID
Don’t return to old ways.

Encounter new things
Find hope, peace, joy and love.

God is always here.
Head down His pathway,
Interested in what He shows us.

Jesus beckons.
Keep believing.
Look beyond ourselves.

Make every effort to
Notice God at work.

Open our eyes, Lord.
Protect us.
Quieten our hearts before You, Lord.

Return to Your ways and Your path.

Silence the devil’s tongue.

Take up the armour of God.

Ultimate goal – to be with You.

Vacate places that encumber us.
Watch for snares of the devil.

eXamine our hearts with
Your
ZEAL.

©Janis Cox 2020

Let’s look for joy each day.

Advent Week One

Advent Week Two

Let’s start the new year by counting our blessings. Join me on Facebook and we will have a thread once a week to list the blessings you see.

Janis Cox Facebook – if you are not a friend, message me with “Want to count our blessings 2021” and I will accept your friendship.

 

 

Advent Week Two – Peace

Peace

This Advent Week Two. We focus on peace. We learn more about it.

Advent Week Two - peace

Painting by Janis Cox

At this moment we all need God’s peace, more than ever.

Jesus did say,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)

And Paul reminds us:

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17, NIV)

  1. He is our peace
  2. He reconciled the Jews and the Gentiles
  3. He set aside the law with its commands and regulations
  4. He created one humanity
  5. He came and preached peace to both groups- those near and those far.

What does peace mean to you?

Peace with God

Finding peace with God meant all the difference to me in 2001. That peace opened my heart. It strengthened my marriage. I changed my outlook on life. It changed my outlook on giving. I saw miracles. (read my Faith story)

Peace Within Myself

Learning to let go of my tendencies to judge, to be frustrated when things don’t go my way, to accept how God has made me (totally not OCD). I am scattered but the Holy Spirit seems to bring me to the right thing at the right time. To be happy I can paint and write. To be happy!!

Peace With Others

I haven’t had too much trouble with this over the years. I learned as a child to get along with others. But it isn’t always so. When tired I can be cranky and irritable. I can lash out when I shouldn’t. And my husband is usually the one who gets the brunt of my frustration. So when I can be at peace with myself, it leads me to be patient with others.

As I read through the Luke Challenge (New Christmas Tradition), today was Luke 7.

My thoughts on Chapter 7

There is so much in this chapter that it can be overwhelming.

I heard:

Faith. Healing. Love. Peace.

I wondered who hears the truth about Jesus. Why are poorer countries building their faith faster than North America? Answer: There is nothing in the poor countries standing in their way to hear the truth. Here in NA., we are bombarded by worldly things and ideas.

We have to learn to let go and submit to God. Accept and thank Him for what we have, but don’t hold on to it tightly.

I wrote an Abecedarian poem inspired by Chapter 7 and in keeping with Advent Week Two.

A Plea at Christmas

Accept the Word of God
Before it’s too late
‘Cause life is short

Don’t wait 
Everything depends on
Following Jesus

God waits
Hoping to gather all His children
Instead of 
Jumping to the end
Keeping His promise
Life to all those who believe

Make a decision
Nothing else is as important

Open your eyes and ears
Put faith first

Quickly stop the marathon
Running in the world’s race

Seek Jesus
Talk to Him
Understand His
Voice and His
Ways

eXpect His answer
You’re almost there
Zed – the end is near, peace

©Janis Cox 2020

May I pray for you and me?

Father God, we learn so much through Your Word. Today is no exception. As we await the remembrance of the birth of Your Son, Jesus, help us to learn more of Your ways, Your love and Your peace. We await the coming of Christ as a remembrance and as a hope of the future arrival of Jesus. He will come again. You have said that. In His name, we pray. Amen.

 

Advent Week One

Advent Week One HOPE

I haven’t written in a while. I have been on a painting spree. For each day of November, I painted every day. This week is Advent Week One – hope.

Today was different. I painted and wrote two poems. I will share one with you today. This is an Abecedarian poem. I use the alphabet to help me think through my thoughts.

We are reading through the Bible in Three Years in my Facebook group, Growing through God’s Word. And I also joined a group this December to read through Luke – 24 days, 24 chapters called New Christmas Tradition.

From Micah 5:1-5a and Luke 2 came this poem:

Jesus Came

Angel appeared to Mary
Baby would be born, he said
Christ would be His name
Death would be overcome
Eternity given for those who believe

Future assured
God’s plan fulfilled
Heaven is our home
Instead of earth

Jesus is our Saviour
Keeps me focused

Live each day
Make wise choices

Newness 

Open to the Holy Spirit
Put God first

Quiet my soul
Reflect on God’s power
Soak in Gods’ peace
Touch His heart
Understand His Word
Voice my thoughts to others
eXpand His Kingdom

Yesterday, today and tomorrow
Zealously praise the Lord

Janis Cox 2020

A new painting for you.

Advent Week One

Hummingbird seeks nectar – we seek God

Holiday Gifts 2020

Hi there, I have a special surprise for you. Are you looking for holiday gifts 2020? Here is your chance to check out and support Christian authors.

Holiday 2020 CoverTwenty-seven authors have joined together to have Holiday Gift Guide for you.

Please take a look. Click here.

Holiday-Gift-Guide-2020

Yes, my little devotional is in there too. Growing through God’s Word.

Gifts of Good Words Blog Hop: Tadeo Turtle

I Learned through God’s Word

When I signed up for this blog hop, I had no idea I would be literally jumping from one thing to another. A true HOP. I knew God had said to pivot. But I wasn’t sure which way I would be pivoting. But today I learned. (Today is November 5, 2020. I won’t be posting until November 16th but want to remember this day.)

I learned.

Meme from Good Words.

Follow the Gifts of Good Words Blog Hop taking place from November 4-18, 2020, and find quality Canadian Christian books for those on your Christmas list! Then on November 18th, join the Good Words Virtual Book Fair on Facebook: 

My Story:

I kept working on what I thought I needed to do and that was to publish my children’s books myself. Under the publishing name, Butterfly Beacons, I have published both Tadeo Turtle and The Kingdom of Thrim. The road seemed long and sometimes daunting. But I didn’t give up.

I learned how to use InDesign so I could successfully import my artwork and also publish both the Kindle and the paperback. I still have a few things (read: many) to learn about this program.

After that was done, I also thought I needed to make the extended activities which had been in a PDF form, into a book. Now Tadeo Turtle Extended Activities: For Home and School is available.

Today I learned what God has been saying.

Back in 2012, He led me to write Tadeo Turtle. What started as a poem in my journal turned into a popular children’s book. It won the Word Guild Awards for best children’s book in 2013. I was not a painter at the time. I had been taking watercolour courses and was enrolled in a course in our community in Arizona (we wintered there). Joann Matthews, my instructor, said, “Why don’t you illustrate your story?”

“Me?” I replied. “I am such a beginner.”

But she kept encouraging me and I started my pictures. Tadeo came first, then CAT and then SAM the squirrel. By the time I left Arizona, I had almost all the pictures finished.

Then I needed to find a publisher. At The World Guild’s, Write!Canada I found a publisher. After much discussion with my husband, I took the plunge and bought the package. It was a lot of money. Even after selling over 800 physical books, I haven’t made any money. When Word Alive would no longer keep my book active on Amazon, unless I paid a yearly fee, I knew I had to do something. Hence the push to learn how to self-publish.

To buy Tadeo Turtle follow a link:

US: Amazon Kindle and Paperback

Canada: Amazon Kindle and Paperback

I learned

Tadeo Turtle cover 2020 published by Butterfly Beacons

Now we come to today:

With those books now republished under Butterfly Beacons and the extended activities published as well, I am feeling confident to continue.

But in which direction? I needed to make a decision.

I had also published under Butterfly Beacons, Growing through God’s Word, a book of devotionals with a place to journal your thoughts. So do I do another set of those?

Today I learned what God has been saying.

A year ago I knew I had to pivot but it took me longer to actually do it. I wrote about it here.

How God Can Pivot Our Lives

Yes, but today was the day where He answered my question. Which way am I pivoting?

I read the Bible every morning and at the present time am reading through the Bible in Three Years. 

The first verse in Psalm 78 says:

Listen, O my people, to my teaching;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth [and be willing to learn]. (Psalm 78:1, AMP)

The “and be willing to learn.” Those words made an impact on me today.

How often do we read or hear God’s Word, but don’t let it affect our lives?

God’s Word is living and active. It can make a difference in our lives today.

I learned today the direction God wants me to take.

Psalm 78 – it took only one verse – but that verse said:

which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them, (Psalm 78:5-6)

I learned

My study Bible

That opened my heart, my mind and my spirit. I had been given this scripture in 2005:

“Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)

Today this Psalm speaks about our children. How will they know God unless we tell them? Are they the lambs God was speaking about so long ago?

I had taken another path after writing my children’s books. Besides blogging,  I podcasted for Hope Stream Radio and I then wrote on another platform called Medium.  I am sure those activities were for a reason. If I really followed the trail I would see the learning that has taken place to help me be ready for this next step.

Now God is telling me it’s time to return to my own history.

As a school teacher, I loved teaching. I loved watching kids learn, get excited and grow emotionally, physically and mentally. Now I can teach them to grow spiritually as well. I love creating – for kids.

Pray for me as I make this pivot.

Follow the blog hop. And then on November 18th come for a Virtual Festival of Books. On Facebook. Good Words Virtual Book Fair on Facebook:  

Customer Reviews for Tadeo Turtle.

 

Transformed – Sunday Stillness Poetry Linkup

As I read through the prescribed Bible passages today I heard the word transformed.

Transformed Romans 12:2

Artwork by Janis Cox

Psalm

From the Psalm: 107:1-7, 33-37;

We are the Redeemed and the Gathered. God gathered us from the east and west, north and south. God’s plan is to speak to us, to get our attention. His plan spreads all over the world – to those who hurt, souls that are empty, the angry, the sad and the lonely.

From Joshua: Joshua 2:15-24;

This is the story of Rahab and the spies. She swears an oath to save them and they will protect her. She must keep the secret and be faithful. She ties a scarlet cord on her window. This represents the Blood of the Lamb that was spread over doorposts to protect the Israelites. Jesus is the Lamb of God. He spilled His blood to save us.

From Matthew: Matthew 23:13-28

What is reality for God? Not the outward appearance like the priests. Jesus called them hypocrites. God looks at the hearts and minds of people. (Romans 12:1-2) He abhors pride and selfishness.

This is the abecedarian poem that I wrote today after studying these scriptures. I believe God will divide the shaft from the wheat. He will choose His Redeemed. He will transform us.

Transformed

Any day
Before
Christ

Death was certain
Eternity unknown
Faith built on rules

God’s plan
Happened

Instead of death
Jesus split the veil
Kept the commandments, but gave
Life through the Spirit
Made a way
Negating the 613 picky points

Opening our lives

Placing our trust in HIm, God

Quietens our spirits
Renews our minds
Sets a path before us
Teaches us through His Word

Understands our frailty
Voices the truth to our hearts
Watches over us

Xrays our insides to restore
Youthful vigour of life
Zillionaires of spiritual wealth.

©Janis Cox 2020

Other thoughts:

Transformed

Pivot- How God Can Change Our Lives

Today is Sunday Stillness – a Link for poets. Add your poems below.

 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Freedom to Live – Sunday Stillness Link

By reading scripture every day I am starting to see God’s plan – clearer. Join us at Growing through God’s Word Facebook Group. Let’s find the freedom to live.

Freedom to live

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Today these are the passages I studied: Psalm 63:1-8; Numbers 13:1-2, 17-14:9; Matthew 17:22-27

In the Psalm, I loved the first verse,

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NIV)

Don’t the words make you want to cry out to God? David is in the desert and experiencing real thirst. In today’s world, we too are thirsty for His Presence.

In the Numbers passage,

We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. (Numbers 13:33, NIV)

We see problems as huge but to God, they are not. We must give God the problems and He will take care of them.

From Matthew. What a confusing passage that is.

I think what I heard is the Jesus is the New Testament church. We are of His body. We want to live with the mind of Christ. We don’t need buildings, idols or listening to man. We need to listen to God. We have freedom because we are Sons of God (children of God).

From those readings came this poem.

Freedom to Live

Jesus is a newness
A freshness
A thirst-quenching
Drink

The old of 
Man’s rules
Has past

Following Jesus
Gives us the
Freedom to 
Listen to God
Ourselves

Jesus helps us to
Understand scripture
To read between
The Lines

No longer shackled
No longer bound
We can live full
To follow Jesus

Let’s step out
And do the work
He has called us
To do

©Janis Cox 2020

Other posts on Freedom

How Can We Find Freedom?

How God Can Change Our Lives

Join us by linking your poetry.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter