Tag Archives: Creativity

Why is that cell phone addictive?

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash
cell phone
Click on the photo to listen to the podcast.Or click on Hope Stream Radio podcast.

I have been running an online study of God’s Word on Facebook and last January  we  looked at Proverbs.

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;

From a Bible Journaling

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.

That’s addiction.

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.

Another article from the New York Post explains the “digital heroin”.

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 Word is 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.

revival

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.

What This Painting Taught Me About God – A Snuggly

What This Painting Taught Me About God

A 33 Dot Challenge to Encourage My Creativity – My Snuggly

Photo From Pixabay

As for painting, I have been challenging myself by trying to push my imagination to see things from nothing. Yikes. That’s not easy. Today is another 33 Dot Challenge. Meg Konovska got me hooked on this.

Here is the first dots with connecting lines.

Dots with lines to join.

Now as I turned this round and round I saw a number of things. But I kept seeing the mouth open.

So I followed most of the lines — some I erased and some I added.

Here is the next step:

My Outline for 33 Dots

The next step is the most fun. Painting it.

My Stuffed Animal — 33 Dots by Janis Cox

Now I ask God to show me what He wants me to remember about stuffed animals.

I know that my first thought went back to my youngest’s favourite — a Puffalump — a soft stuffed animal. She took that friend everywhere. And now he lies upstairs in the grandkids’ loft area with an assortment of Cabbage Patch Dolls, a Curious George and a Snuggles Dog.

Puffalump

I am sure Puffalump is lonely. The grandkids are getting older and don’t visit very often. They still play with the Lego and other toys. But “stuffies” are past.

What do “stuffies” signify?

Love — tales of highs and lows of the day, of frustrations and joys — all are shared with our loving friends.

Cuddles — something to hug when no one is around.

Protection — yes, at night when things go bump in the night, the stuffie stays close and can ward off fears.

Sounding Boards — when a child might not talk to an adult, a child will talk with a stuffed animal or doll. Many of these are used in counselling sessions to help ease a frightened child into peace.

Rest — sleep comes easier when a child has a friend to settle down to sleep with. Tucking a child in with a snuggly, gives a safe warm feeling.

Now that we are adults, where can we find our peace? Who can comfort us at all times? Who can protect us? Whom can we talk to?

Who is our Snuggly?

I believe I have found the answer. After years of searching and trying to live life on my own steam, I have found my snuggly, my “stuffie”.

My snuggly is Jesus. Jesus is my hope, my all in all.

Here is my song of hope: In Christ Alone

He is my Joy and Peace

Look at Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (NIV).” 

Bible Art by Janis Cox

He is my Counsellor. I can talk to Him.

We are taught how to pray. And then we LISTEN.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7, NIV).”

Bible Art by Janis Cox

Jesus is my Protector. He is my fortress.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1–3, NIV).”

Bible Art by Janis Cox

Jesus loves me with a steadfast love.

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD (Psalm 32:10, NIV).”

Bible Art — Janis Cox

When I asked God to tell me what He wanted me to learn from my picture — I had no idea what He would show me.

But here it is — Like a snuggly, God is:

Jesus is my hope, my all in all.

Jesus is my Joy and Peace.

Jesus is my Counsellor. I can talk to Him.

Jesus is my Protector. He is my fortress.

Jesus loves me with a steadfast love.

Have you found your Snuggly — the most powerful One of all — Jesus?

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.

Click on the image to go to the Facebook Group — answer 3 questions please.

2. Would you like to excite your study of the Bible — Join me for a free Bible Art Course — coming soon? Sign up now.

Click on the image to go the Watercolour Sign up.

What Can I See With 33 Random Dots?

What Can I See With 33 Random Dots?

Once again I challenged myself with 33 dots on a page. I prayerfully put 33 random dots on a page with my eyes closed. Then I join the dots without crossing any lines. See how I found a rabbit. Hint it has something to do with Easter.

rabbit

From Pixabay

What will I be able to see this time?

It’s not easy but I ask God — what it is this week that you want to explain to me? I turned the page around and round. I finally settled with this view.

What do you see?

 

rabbit

33 Dots connected. What do you see?

This week I had the pleasure of a visit from my sister-in-law. We did some walking around the Riparian Water Reserve in Gilbert, Arizona. We had our little dog, Snowball, with us.

 

rabbit

Janis at the Riparian Water Park in Gilbert, AZ

My sister-in-law loves taking pictures. So I wandered and she shot 100 pictures. She and Snowball have one thing in common and that’s rabbits. They both love rabbits. But Snowball likes to chase them and my sister-in-law wants them to stay still. I would hold our little dog back while she took some great pictures.

 

rabbit

Isn’t he cute? Photo by my Sister-in-law.

I guess rabbits were on my mind when I looked at my 33 dots because this is what I saw.

A rabbit emerged from the 33 random dots.

 

rabbit

33 Dot Image — Rabbit

Now I have a rabbit picture and of course, Easter is coming in a few weeks so my mind went to the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs.

I have questioned this custom before. In fact, I wrote about Satan’s letter stating that children were taken away from the true meaning of Easter by the Easter Bunny.

But I’ve changed my mind since reading about the history of these customs.

To read more of this post go to How Can God Let Me See Through My Painting.

Linking to Paint Party Friday.

CALL TO ACTION

Are you struggling alone?
Do you need other Christian writers to help you?
Do you want to be in a community of believers?

Join us at Grow Through God’s Word on Facebook.

 

Click on the image to go to the group.

How God Can Speak Through My Art – What’s my Burden?

33 Dots  – Burden

I love to draw. But lately I felt hemmed in when I painted. This week my painting led me to the word – burden.

Photo from Pixabay

I decided I’m letting my inhibitions go and see where God would lead me.

I want to draw freely.

As always I pray first. Then I put down 33 dots ( Idea from Meg Konovska) and draw in the outline. After that I look and look. Then I decide what I see and make the picture. Then I paint it.  Continue reading

How and Why God is Leading Me to Go Forth

33 Dot Challenge: Go Forth

I love the creative challenge of 33 dots. I randomly place the dots on a page without looking. Then I draw lines to connect them without crossing any lines. This time I saw me carrying a banner that said: GO FORTH.

olympic rings Pixabay

No I am not going to the Olympics.

At first I was reminded of the up-coming Olympics and the torch that they carry. Then I saw myself – carrying the word of this year. Valiantly carrying on even though I have no idea where God is headed.

I love the challenge of the 33 dots and of my life with God.

When finding my “word” and scripture for 2018 I heard these words:

thrive, flourish, prosper, blossom, profitable and succeed.

My scripture for this year is from Hebrews 13:21

May God give you every good thing you need so you can do what He wants. May He do in us what pleases Him through Jesus Christ. May Christ have all the shining-greatness forever! Let it be so (NLT).

As you can see I only go forth with Him.

Not ahead. Not holding back. It is my goal to do what He desires and not my will.

Here is my image from today’s challenge.

go forth

Watercolour Painting 33 dots by Janis Cox

Call to Action:

Are you searching for more in your studying of the Bible?

Do you hesitate to take your Bible from the shelf?

Do you want to go deeper with God?

Connect. Create. Grow through God’s Word.

If you are interested you are welcome to join us in our search together on Growing Through God’s Word Facebook group.

We are finishing up Proverbs now. And today I learned Proverbs 28:19

“He who worked his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”

go forth

Bible Art by Janis Cox – Proverbs 28:19

You can also find me on Instagram. go forth

How Can We Learn to Be Good Fishers of Men and Women for God?

Fishers of Men: 33 Dots

I love doing the 33 dot challenge. Does anyone else want to do it with me? If so I would set up a special way to link for it. This time my dots turned into a fish. And it reminded me of “Fishers of Men”.

fishers

Photo by Fredrik Ohlander on Unsplash

“Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed” (Matthew 4:18-20, MSG).

Jesus said He would show us how to catch men and women. How?

I think He meant that through the Holy Spirit we would learn things we didn’t know before. Through His Word the Spirit would open up new ideas and awake us to the truth. And when we learned these things He wanted us to go out and tell others.

Are you telling others? If the conversation turns to God do speak up for Him? Or do you turn away? Change the subject?

I hope this fish reminds you that Jesus wants us to be Fishers of Men and Women.

“Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands” (2 Timothy 2:26, MSG).

How can we learn mature righteousness? “Joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.”

The Artwork for Fishers:

Here is the progression of my picture.

fishers

fishers

Final Painting

 

Our new group in Facebook is aimed to do just that – help us grow into Fishers of Men and Women. We grow closer to God by studying His Word and prayer. Join us.

Create. Connect. Grow Through God’s Word

And if you want a Lenten study this year like no other join us in another Facebook group, Book Study with David Kitz and Janis Cox. Learn more about that week before Jesus died. Be part of the crowd; feel what the centurion feels. Join us.

fishers

Last day to get a free book is January 31. Don’t delay join us today.

Book Study with David Kitz and Janis Cox

 

Three Ways to Surrender All to God

I want to Surrender to God but I don’t know How

Today is 5-Minute Friday and the prompt is SURRENDER. Five minutes to write… Set the timer. GO.

surrender

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

As I surrender to God I ask Him to give me the words to write. I think back – to the year 2000. That’s when I did life mostly all by myself. I felt as if my stress level was huge.

I felt burdened with the cares of this world.

surrender

But the Lord turned me around and gave me this scripture that I have memorized from 1 Peter 5:7.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

That’s exactly what I needed to do. And I did. The pain went away. I slept well. I didn’t worry about much any more, because I knew  – I really knew that God had it under control.

And the next memorized Scripture was:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To surrender takes work. It takes time. It takes trust.

My life has changed. Yours can too. Surrender to God.

Are you stressed? Do you feel as if you life is out of control? Do you want to be closer to Jesus? Do you need to surrender to Jesus?

I’m working to help you. At the moment I have two ways to help you find the way to surrender to Him.

  1. I run a Facebook Group that is safe, and comfortable. It’s where we can grow closer to God; where we can study His Word. Join us. Growing Through God’s Word.
  2. There is an exciting opportunity for all believers to dig deeper into their faith. We will be studying David Kitz’s book, “The Soldier Who Killed a King”. Starting February 14. But for the next 6 days we are offering free books as well (for as long as they last). So join us. Book study With David Kitz and Janis Cox. 

surrender

3 Ways to Surrender All

  1. Get up with God. Pray and connect. Go to bed with God. Pray and thank Him for the day.
  2. Pick up your Bible and read something. Then journal, draw and/or meditate on it throughout the day.
  3. Join somewhere with believers. I have given you 2 ideas. There are many more.

If any one needs prayer, please feel free to contact me. (Email Janis).

surrender

What do I need to motivate me towards a disciplined life?

Motivate at Five Minute Friday

It’s Five Minute Friday and the first one of the year. The word this week is MOTIVATE.

Motivate

From Unsplash ben-white-146950

That’s a great word for 2018. MOTIVATE.

My Word for this year is GO FORTH. (There will be more coming about this in the next few weeks.)

So that means I need to be motivated to get going. How do I do that?

First thing I do is pray for God’s wisdom. And since we just started studying Proverbs in Growing Through God’s Word Facebook Group, I’m learning more and more.

Here are the first 5 verses I picked out from Proverbs 1-5. Join us as we continue to grow with God through His Word. Get motivated to study God’s Word.

motivate

This year I think God has me pointed towards motivating Christian writers. If you are a Christian writer I would love to hear from you. Email Janis.

I believe God wants all His writers to be in the Word.

It doesn’t matter the amount of time but the quality and focus of that time. That’s why I like reading short passages and then using my SIMPLE method to study them. Even meditating on a verse and then listening to His thoughts can set you on fire for the day.

My mornings are the best fruit of my day.

Not only do I study God’s Word but I take time to ask Him to talk to me. I am pushing myself to have discipline to LISTEN to Him.

motivate

That means I need to do 3 important things.

Get up early

Yes for me, as I said, the mornings are the most productive and they also inspire me onward for the rest of the day. So for the past 16 years God has been waking me up – ever since I asked Him to do that.

Have a passage to focus on

I find when I am in a special study I learn more. Otherwise I might look at my Bible and say, “oh where do I start?”. So for the past years I have tried various methods to get me disciplined. I have studied prayer scriptures, gone through books of the Bible one verse at a time, and studied words in the Bible. There are many methods of doing this. Find yours and keep with it.

Pray

I pray before I start my day. I pray during my studying. Then I have the best time writing my prayers and then LISTENING for His answer.

Time is up. Lots more to say. Join us at Five Minute Friday.

only

You can find lots of my thoughts on faith, prayer, the Bible, art and journaling on my Medium page. I would love you to follow me there.

CALL TO ACTION:

Are you a Christian writer? If so, do you need to go deeper in your spiritual journey.

One way to continue to grow in God’s Word is online.

Growing Through God’s Word is 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.

 

Skater: Drawing Shouldn’t Be Complicated

33 Dots: Skater

Another day for 33 Dots – from Meg Konovska’s idea. This is my second day of randomly placing 33 dots on a piece of paper – then trying to figure out what’s there. Today we get a colourful skater.

skater

Coloured pencil skater – 33 dots

Thoughts:

As I looked at this skater, I thought of myself on ice skates. I used to be able to skate pretty well. Not great but I could make it around the rink. Not now. Now I need help. Last year my daughters took me for a spin and they shot this picture. I stayed steady for the picture and then said – “grab me.”

skate

This year, everyone forgot their cameras. But I still went around the rink twice. It wasn’t as smooth this year – many holes from lots of use. But I felt a sense of accomplishment, just putting them on, getting to the rink, and going around with help on either side.

This girl remind me of how I need to be bold, whether in trying to skate, or attempting new things.

Her skates don’t look very steady and that’s how I feel sometimes, treading this Internet and connecting with others. I’m on shaky ground.

But God tells us again and again (over 400 times actually) to not fear.

Do NOT be afraid He says.

He will always be with us. It is God Who leads and guides us so we have NOTHING to fear.

Read John 14:27

“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.”

The colourful outfit that my girl is wearing is the creativity that’s in me. It’s in all of us. But we are fearful of not being able to do it. But if we let ourselves go and let God lead it is amazing what He can do.

Read Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Here is the beginning of the picture. I had put the 33 dots. I forgot to take the picture with just the dots.

skater

Skater – 33 dots, Janis Cox

When I wrote Tadeo Turtle and wanted to illustrate my own children’s book, I didn’t think that was possible. But I did it. And it won an award in 2012 from The Word Awards.

What I believe, is that we can do anything when God is beside us.

We can learn to change our plans: our temperament; we can be kinder; we can learn to be inspirational; we can learn to draw, to write and even to skate. But we do need to ask Him and listen for His answers too.

Do you want to change? Are you tired of doing things on your own? There are two ways I hope I can help?

CALL TO ACTION:

Growing Through God’s Word is 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. JOIN US.

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.

She also has a gift for you called One Word at a Time, if you like to work through scripture.

Porcupine: Drawing Shouldn’t be Complicated

Drawing Shouldn’t be Complicated

Try 33 Dots to Discover your creativity and God’s Word – porcupine

The other day I read Meg Konovska’s post about her method of painting with 33 dots. This fascinated me as I need more help visualizing pictures.  At first I forgot the number and painted only with 14 dots. Both my 5 year grandson and I tried it with 14. We used shiny paper and markers. It was so much fun.

Here at the 14 dot pictures.

14 dot porcupine challenge

Janis – markers. 14 dot challenge

14 dot porcupine challenge

Grandson Bryce – 14 dot challenge – bear going to school

Now he is excited to try with 33 dots.

 

Today I tried the 33 dots and immediately saw a porcupine (stylized).

porcupine

Watercolour Pencil – Janis Cox

porcupine

Watercolour Pencil – with water – Janis Cox

My thoughts:

When I think of a porcupine I think of prickly and defensive.

We can be like porcupines. We snap. We get defensive.

But porcupines are reacting to danger.

What is pushing our buttons?

God gave us the ability to change. When we see the problem, we can ask for help. When we pray and ask God for help in those situations where our emotions would rather scream, but our spirit wants to halt.

We remember the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

As we head into the busyness of Christmas, reflect on this. Breathe. Seek God. Find His love, joy, peace and hope. Try not to be a porcupine.

Blessings

Janis