Tag Archives: community

Include: Building a Christian Community

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?

If you haven’t already, join us HERE in the Closed Facebook Group, Artists and Writers Grow Through 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.


My second gift is a PDF for my SIMPLE Bible Study Method,  where studying a verse can be meaningful but easy.


I will be building a community here on my website and including a Linky for you to share your posts and artwork. More on this later.

I’m linking to Five Minute Friday and reading other writers’ articles on the word “include”.



Why Do I Need to Study in Community?

A Look at Group Study with others

The prompt for Five Minute Friday is NEED. Time is 5 minutes to write my thoughts. Here goes.

Okay so I did it again. I thought this sounded familiar. But here is another post about NEED. I guess I am ahead of myself this week. Tomorrow is Friday. 🙂 Feels like it as the US has a holiday today. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.


Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

This week there has been much study and thought from a book and Facebook Book Group about the psalms. We are using Psalms Alive by David Kitz. I realized how much need we have to study His Word.

I knew it before but having a group of people study these psalms with me, I realized how much we need to be in fellowship and community together.

Studying by myself is great – I really learn a lot.

But I learn more and deeper in community. I need this.

By looking and listening to the thoughts of others, and by seeing their pictures, collages, and music, my mind and spirit expand.

Reading David’s book, which is fabulous in itself, helps, but add to it reading the scripture passage – that adds the truth of God’s Word – into my heart and soul. Both together have been inspiring and uplifting.

These are the scriptures we have studied so far: Psalm 19, Psalm 23, Psalm 32, Psalm 46, Psalm 67, and Psalm 84.

Here are a few samples of the wonderful interpretations we have been seeing:



By Lila Diller, interpretation of Psalm 84:5-9


By Violet Nesdoly, Psalm 84

The words from David’s book that inspired above picture:

these birds are not just visiting; they are not passing through. They have made God’s house their home. This is their nesting place. Here they will raise their family.


by Connie Inglis “The God of the universe is calling the peoples of the world to a festival of praise.” This chapter reminded me of the people group that we are translating the Bible for in Southeast Asia–a church of only around 50 believers praising God in a difficult environment–giving their people the Word to study and to sing.

The above picture shows how great the need is in this world to hear His Voice. Thanks to those who spend time translating the Bible into different languages.

Time’s up….

Writing for Five Minute Friday (although it was Thursday and the wrong week).


Call to Action:

If you are looking for a way to connect with God deeply and creatively. If you are tired of scrolling through Facebook pages and getting nothing of value….

Please join us at our interactive Growing Through God’s Word Private Facebook Group.

We share. We learn. We create. We connect. We grow.


Ruth Snyder – Psalm 84

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

Visit my Bookstore. Two children’s books, 1 Bible study.

I blog at www.janiscox.com

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What I Want to Learn about Prayer

What I Want to Learn about Prayer

by Janis Cox


I started Under the Cover of Prayer in 2010 because I felt God calling me to bring pray-ers together; to teach more about all the facets of prayer; and to make me a better pray-er.

He has done more than that. He has built a community, what I have started to call a Tribe of Jesus. I have started to use something called a hashtag (#) which helps people locate everything to do with this blog. I am using:



I have read many prayer books. I study the Bible. I focus on what I hear and see.

Today’s reading from Oswald Chambers really struck me.

How does God view our prayers and our pray-ers?

Worship and intercession must go together, one is impossible without the other (Oswald Chambers, March 30)

And from the Bible:

Your attitude should be the same as Christ (Philippians 2:5, NIV).

Now that makes me think long and hard and ask myself some questions.

      • Am I pleading without being with the mind of Christ?
      • Am I thinking of myself and my feelings, and my agenda when I pray?
      • Do I question God and ask how can I do this?
      • Do I let tell Him, ‘it is impossible’?
      • Do I decide for Him whether something will work or not?

Oswald Chambers says we need to aim to:

live in a holy relationship with God … having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray.

For that reason I need a blogging holiday – not just one week, but at least one month away from blogging.


Please pray for me while I take this time to renew, refresh and rekindle that intimate relationship that I crave.

From April 10 – May 10th. I want to R.E.N.E.W.


If you need to contact me during this time please email Under the Cover of Prayer.


Lord Jesus, you have told me to take this time away to renew. Please help me to hear clearly what is important to you. In Your name, AMEN.




I want to RENEW my relationship with Jesus (tweet this)

Why am I taking a blogging holiday? (tweet this)


5 Reasons Why Jesus is My Hero – Writers Blog Hop

5 Reasons Why Jesus is My Hero  – Writers Blog Hop

Third in a series of a Writers Blog Hop held by Ruth Snyder. 

Our first blog hop can be found at Ruth Snyder. for 2014. Writing Goals.

Our second blog hop can be found here. Writing Tools.

Blog Hop

Click here for other posts on the topic of Hero.

Don’t forget to join my Newsletter and receive a free copy of the first chapter of Living Life – One Word at a Time. See the right sidebar for instructions.


Two Fridays ago the word of the week for Five Minute Friday was “hero”. I wrote for 5 minutes as I reflected on my hero. You can read it here.

Now I want to go into more detail of why Jesus is my hero.

 Jesus made me to be born again and so He changed me. (click to tweet)

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. — John 3:3

Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning; a freshness all the time in thinking and in talking and in living, the continual surprise of the life of God (Oswald Chambers).

1. Jesus took away my WORRIES.

The first scripture I memorized was Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And he replaced my worries with prayer.

– Put
– Reason
– Aside
– Yield.

2. Jesus brought a PEACE into my daily life.

Now that I know He is in charge, I can go about my day following His leading.

P – Put
E – Everything
A – Aside
C – Christ
E – Enters

3. Jesus made me REAL.

Before my relationship with Jesus I play-acted my life. I went through the motions not knowing what I was doing here on earth. When I realized that this life is not the end, I could relax, enjoy and see each minute as a gift from God.

R – Release
E – Everything
A – And
L – Live

4. Jesus taught me not to FEAR.

Before I met Jesus I had many fears – fear of dying, fear of heights, fear of thunderstorms, fear for my children, fear of sitting by myself in a restaurant, fear of shopping by myself, fear of flying. (probably more).

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4, NIV).

My fears are all gone. I no longer have any fear except of God Himself.

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
and for their children it will be a refuge (Proverbs 14:26, NIV).

5. Jesus brought me into a COMMUNITY of His Saints.

– others who really cared for me. Before I had acquaintances and friends. Now I have Friends Forever in Christ.

So Jesus is my Hero. He changed my life. He is the One I look to for everything. (click to tweet)

Is Jesus your hero?

I love this song sung here by Jesus Culture – Holding Nothing Back, by Tim Hughes.

I am chosen, I am free
I am living for eternity
Free now forever
You pick me up, turn me around
You set my feet on solid ground
Yours now forever

And nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back

My chains fell off, my heart was free
I’m alive to live for You
I’m alive to live for You

Amazing love, how can it be?
You gave everything for me
You gave everything for me

You’ve washed my sin and shame away
The slate is clean, a brand new day

Free now forever
Now boldly I approach Your throne
To claim this crown through Christ my own
Yours now forever, yeah

And I’m free to live, free to give, free to be
I’m free to love You

Free to live, free to give, free to be
I’m free to love You
Free to live, free to give, free to be
I’m free to love You, Lord

Images © Heartlight, Inc.




Watchful Wednesdays – Who Is Your Gang?

Watchful Wednesdays – Who is Your Gang?


The other day I came across a speech by Mr. Rogers on Emily Freeman’s blog. My kids were regular viewers of Mr. Rogers and his Neighbourhood.

In 1997 Fred Rogers received a Life Time Achievement Award. Here is the acceptance speech.

In one part of his speech he asks the audience for 10 seconds of silence in which to remember those who made a difference in their lives.

Today I am calling those people your “gang”.

Who are those people who have made a difference in who you are? Take 10- 20- 30 or more seconds to quietly thank God for these people.

God wants us in community. (tweet this)

God wants us in a community with Himself. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring us back into community with Him.

God wants us in community.

God wants us in a community with others. Jesus wants us to build His Church so we can be part of this community.

But we need to work on it. It can be messy.

I am reading a book called Community is Messy by Heather Zempel. She states:

Community is the very essence of his [Jesus’] character. The complex doctrine of the Trinity demonstrates to us that God exists in community with himself. And ultimately that’s what he was dying for. To restore community. Between humankind and God. And within the mess of humankind itself (page 18, Community is Messy).


Thank You, Lord for the gang you have given me. Thank You for building a strong bond of faithful fellowship between us. Thank You for allowing me to enter into fellowship with You. Thank You for Jesus in whose Name I pray. AMEN.

Join us on Sunday for Sunday Stillness – where we are building a new strong faithful online community – a Gang for Jesus.



60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review

60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children

by Roy Lessin (Summerside Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Janet Sketchley

This hard-bound gift book is a great resource for any praying parent. Each prayer is matched with a Scripture verse and a brief inspirational quote, and a green satin ribbon lets you mark your progress through the pages.

Nine sections focus prayers in the areas of blessing, protection, character, community, praise, growth, courage, purpose and knowing God. The prayers are written from a point of view that says “my children” but are easily customizable to “our” and/or “child” … or, for that matter, “grandchild” or “niece/nephew.”

I made a point in each prayer to include my children’s names, and when I reached the end of the book, I began again. The prayers apply to any age of child as well, and again, are customizable. For example, if a reader has a child who’s ignoring the Lord, instead of thanking God for a faith relationship, the reader could thank Him for desiring such a relationship with the child, and pray for the Holy Spirit to draw him/her.

I’ve long been a fan of Roy Lessin’s verse and his devotional website, Meet Me in the Meadow. His words in these carefully-crafted prayers can aid us in regular prayer for the children (of all ages) in our lives.

Amazon link 

[Review copy from my personal library. Amazon link is an affiliate link for The Word Guild.]

Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley facebook 180x180

Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, releases November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.


Wednesday’s Word – Join


I have thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday’s Word and Sunday Stillness. But the time has come to join them together. After much waffling, praying and thinking I am going to keep Sunday Stillness and drop Wednesday’s Word.

This will be the last time to link to Wednesday’s Word. Let’s contact as many posters as we can this week – encourage them in their writing and studying of God’s Word.

Please continue to link your posts to Sunday Stillness – even if you have no picture but a word from God. I love this community we have built from both sites.

My last word – Join

God asks us to join Him in spreading His word – that is actually right from His Word.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, NLT).

Those who have linked to both Sunday Stillness and Wednesday’s Word have joined God to train others in the Word. And as we train others we train ourselves.

Let us continue to do so. Link – comment – post.

That way we learn, encourage and spread the Good News.

This is the last Wednesday’s Word Community. Please check the rules of Wednesday’s Word if you are here for the first time. Feel free to add your link below about God’s Word. And we all love comments.

Things come to an end – but there is always a new beginning. Next week join me at Sunday Stillness.

After you link please go to the blog that is in front of you and comment on their site. Words of encouragement mean so much to each of us. If you have time visit more of the writers.
Linking on Wednesdays to:
Winsome Wednesdays



Simply Helping Him Wisdom Wednesday




Why Should We Work Together?

by Jan Cox

Living in Community

As I studied different animals for my children’s book’s curriculum, two things became clear to me:

      •  most animals live in community
      •  most animals live in families

I love this video of how a community can work together. Watch elephants work together.

We can also see that humans have broken that pattern in North America. Humans have become:

      • isolated in their big homes, with their busy lives and even church denominations have been hidden behind their doors
      • we see a rising rate of family breakdowns

I believe God wants us to have community in both these areas.

At (In)Courage, a Christian community for the Internet, the focus has been to build communities. Great!

I believe we need to do that for every facet of our lives.

All those in the arts (musicians, artists, and writers) can become isolated because of their craft. We need to band together. The Word Guild and Inscribe are excellent cross-Canadian groups for writers and editors who are Christian.

The idea of banding together took I new turn for me in the last couple of weeks. Two friends and I have joined together, as writers of children’s books, to form a new community called Family and Faith Matters. We formed it in order to support one another and for families. I will explain this in the months to come.

In the same way, no one ministry has all the answers. I have been watching as our churches in Haliburton have started to ban together ecumenically to support one another. Praise the Lord for opening doors and guiding the leaders.


We are made for community. Jesus commanded that we love one another.

Let us pray for community. May God open our eyes to our similarities and close our eyes to our differences. May we be One in Him.


Father we have become isolated from one another – even our churches. Help us to reach out to one another, as Christ followers, in all areas of our ministry and our lives. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

My Gratitude List for this week – counting to 2000. I am at 1809.

        • approved proof copy of Tadeo
        • colour is magnified this autumn – just beautiful

Fall in Haliburton

        • last Bible study until the spring – what a wonderful group of women
        • preparing for the family Thanksgiving weekend
        • rain – at least a little hopefully to fill up the county’s wells
        • family walks – stroller, dogs, and kids

A Walk in the Forest

        • family meals
        • chatter – lots of conversation on every topic imaginable
        • Hard Eucharisteo – my brother-in-law in the hospital – prayers go up
        • a praying church family
        • helpers for our turkey dinner – little hands to oil the bird
        • games and more games
        • colours in the forest

Colours in the Forest

        • late nights and I stayed awake and got up the next morning refreshed
        • granddaughter learning to play the piano
        • kids liking my new piano
        • great Thanksgiving dinner with roasted parsnips, squash, potatoes, broccoli, stuffing, yellow beans, turkey and gravy. Pie and ice cream for dessert.
        • the reddest tree and quite the reflection

Reddest Tree this Fall

        • Games of “Beans”
        • better news about brother-in-law – praise God
        • walking the baby in his stroller

Out for a Stroll


Jan Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. Jan has completed a children’s book called Tadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator. Word Alive will be publishing this story and it will be available October 2012. See more about Tadeo at Jan’s Website.




How and Why do we Construct Community?

Sermon for Sunday July 1, 2012 by Harry Morgan

Canada - Kanata - community

Canada means “community”.


Using Canada Day as a lead in, Harry asked us if we knew why Canada was named CANADA? Do you know?

Canada in the Iroquois tongue, “Kanata”, meant village, settlement or community.

We took at look at the reasons for needing a community.

      • The desire to live together for safety, security, and trade.
      • We needed laws or agreements to make sure we worked well together.

But besides needs we also want community. There is a deep desire in us to join with others.

God has built into our hearts a desire to be with people who have common causes. He named political associations, general associations, service clubs, band and teams as some examples.

Then there is the CHURCH.

Church as a Community

Church as a Community

Jesus came to rebuild the disconnect between God and His people. God is all about relationship – between Him and us. Jesus came as a human to identify with us, but also to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can be in a loving relationship with God.

When we get into this LOVE relationship with God we can’t help but want to love others.

Apostle John says:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20, NIV).

The Church Community:

There is no community like a church community. Our common goal is Jesus – but we come with many differences. Nothing is as deep as a church community. It is a prototype of the Kingdom to come – but we still struggle here on earth. But in church we can learn to work through our differences for a common goal – Jesus.

Harry then unpacked our Scripture from Romans 12:9-13.

Love must be sincereHate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 NIV). [my bolding]

Here are some highlights:

Be sincere:

Jesus hated pretension – remember the “woe you Pharisees”. He wants us to be sincere and authentic.

Hate evil:

Sometimes as Canadians we are too tolerant of wrongs. We are to seek justice and make changes to our community promote that justice. And stop being negative unless you are willing to do something about it.

Be devoted:

Love does NOT insist on its own way.


A community heals as well as builds up. We learn to serve one another.

Be joyful:

Have spiritual fervour. Be filled with the Holy Spirit


Practice hospitality.

These are radical principles for loving each other in community. This is what church could look like.

What are you doing to strengthen your church community? How is God leading you to serve others?

Another Scripture that I love, from Micah has the same idea – similar words.

“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” (Micah 6:8 NIV).

You might like other posts. Community. A little Oil.

COMMUNITY – Five Minute Fridays


What would we do without others in our lives. They make the world sing, they bring us joy and peace; they help us when we are down, sick and just feeling out of sorts.

I belong to a few communities.

We have lived in a small town for almost 9 years. We know many people; our church is our home. When we visit Arizona we belong to a small community and we have found close friends in whom we can confide, chat and just enjoy their company. We have also found a church home. And of course we have our family – close and extended in whom we shower love, affection, and joy.

Our small community in Haliburton has shown me how people can help others. We have so many people doing so many things to make sure everyone gets support. The ones I can name quickly are the 4Cs (who look after food for those in need, and sell clothes at the Lily Ann (thrift store) to help keep the foodbank operational); Community Living who look after those who need a little more help to live on their own; Community Care which brings additional help to seniors; Point in Time which looks after the children in our community; The Bridge which provides a refuge for kids ages 9-20 with activities, games and music. They also bring them Jesus – in a quiet way. Our churches work with many groups as well to build a stronger community.

And online communities – which are growing every day – where we can meet and get to know others who share our interests – isn’t that wonderful?

Thanks for listening,

Time’s up.


My five minutes are up. What do you think of when you hear the word – COMMUNITY

If you want to join The Gypsy Mama in her Five Minute Fridays read below.

Here are the rules:

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.

We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.

On Fridays we write like we believe we can fly. Won’t you join us? (<—Tweet this!)

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.