A new poem about change.
The Winds of Change
Already to change
because God has
chosen this as the time to
do radical revision to
everything I do
Find my true purpose
God will show me
how to go forth
I will keep close – not
jumping ahead of Him
A new poem about change.
Already to change
because God has
chosen this as the time to
do radical revision to
everything I do
Find my true purpose
God will show me
how to go forth
I will keep close – not
jumping ahead of Him
Radical: “very different from the usual or traditional”
“favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions” ~ Merriam Dictionary
The best example of being radical in our lives happened after my hubby was denied a $100 raise. We were astonished as it had been promised. But it turned out to be such a blessing. It pushed us into trusting God to lead us. It pushed us into starting our own company. We needed to let go of any fear of failure; fear of what others would say; fear that we couldn’t provide for our family.
You can read a little bit about this here:
After almost fifteen years of running our own business, we heard a different call. Step back. While taking a break on Margarita Island, hubby and I talked about how much joy we were getting out of running this business. Hubby was a 6 and I was a 2. We discussed whether it was possible to sell the business and how would we go about it. That will be another post.
Suffice to say that we decided on that sabbatical to look into selling.
Nine months later and many setbacks, we successfully sold the business.
As we listened to God for the next step of our journey, we knew that hubby needed to keep busy. He had worked all his life and this early retirement had him a little scared.
We decided to move away from our home town, up to the trees and the lakes. We decided to take on a project of building our own home. Hubby always loves building and plans so this kept him very occupied and happy. We even renovated a cottage at the same time.
However, when all was said and done and we moved in we said:
What if we used the area above the garage to make a couple of bedrooms and rent them out as a Bed and Breakfast? Sounded exciting. So we took that plunge.
We ran our B & B for four years. We found it fascinating to meet new people, discussing various subjects at breakfast. Finding out about different lands, and different ideas enlightened our thinking.
During this time we both had become involved in our little town. Our B & B made it harder and harder to work around our schedules. And my mother had come to live with us as well for part of the time. Our family had grown and we needed the rooms when they visited.
So we closed down that enterprise.
Those are just a few of our radical moves in this life. I didn’t even count the one about our early marriage.
You can read about that here:
A long time ago I read a book called “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat” by John Ortberg.
That book started me thinking of what my life would be like if I completely listened to God. And not only listened but did what He said.
The first time I truly listened to a radical spiritual calling happened while reading a post on the Internet. I read that there was a mission that taught English to Polish people while also helping them to read their Bibles and discover Jesus in their lives.
My heart started to pound. I really felt this might be something I should do.
I had so many buts.
I kept hearing — GO. Different times I would see the same post. I had to find out more. But that meant emailing someone. NO, I didn’t think I could do that. And it was someone I didn’t know.
When God really wants you to do something, He makes it very clear.
This notion of going to Poland would not leave me.
I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I wrote the email.
After many back and forth conversations, talking with my hubby and lots of praying, I decided to take that step and go. I had to go on training as well. That’s another story.
I visited Poland five times on a mission trip and once with my hubby on a vacation. We met lovely people and I developed a passion to teach others to read God’s Word. I also loved working with children (one of my jobs at the camp) and this led me to run a VBS for seven years at our church. And I grew in my faith and trust in God.
Living radically means listening to God.
Are you hesitant?
Is there something you feel called to do but are afraid?
Is God placing a call on your life — and you are holding back?
May I suggest you talk with your Pastor or a mentor?
Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.
Remember to listen to His answer and how He speaks to you.
Disclaimer: There is an affiliate link in this post.
Have you had a time where you made a hasty decision?
Have you ever made financial decisions that were not good ones?
Do you listen to God on a daily basis?
We want our children to have a strong purposeful faith. We want them to trust and believe in God. We want to instil in them good values and faith disciplines.
The Kingdom of Thrim is packed full of valuable lessons – from money, to listening to God, to being creative and using your God-given gifts – to being content with what you have. Help your child find his way.
Created for ages 6 and up, The Kingdom of Thrim brings colour and excitement to a child’s life through vivid watercolour illustrations.
The lessons learned are life lessons as one adult reader said:
“I needed this book. If you feel like you’ve lost your gift or wandered too far from home and aren’t sure if you can find your way back, you need it too.” Jeff Goins
Other happy readers have said,
“This is a delightful children’s book with a strong Biblical message. I loved the soft tone of the illustrations. It would make a wonderful story-book for those bedtime moments that are so important for bonding and teaching.” – Marcia Laycock
“Janis Cox is a beautiful storyteller and lovely illustrator and does an excellent job of presenting a story for both kids and adults that speaks to the very heart, no matter what age you may be. Highly recommended.” – Sally Meadows
Available in paperback or Kindle
Alternately you can contact me and I will send you one.
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Both of Janis’ books have children’s activities and research ideas in the back.
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Marianne Jones, author, blogger, scriptwriter.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
I knew from the time I was ten I wanted to be a writer. I was an insatiable reader and loved to memorize poetry and write my own. When I was 14, I saw an ad for a national writing competition from a now-defunct magazine called Miss Chatelaine. I decided to enter, as a test, to see if I had what it took. I was shocked when I actually won. It seemed like confirmation, but it also scared me, and because of my perfectionism and fear of failure, I didn’t do a lot of writing for a long time.
In my twenties, married, with two children, I decided to try seriously to write, and took a Christian correspondence course in writing. I thought that I’d give writing one year, and if I hadn’t sold anything in that year, I’d give myself permission to quit. That year I sold an article to Woman’s Touch magazine (also defunct now, but I don’t think it had anything to do with my article) for $15.
Still, it was not smooth sailing after that. I had years of tears, discouragement, rejection letters. But God wouldn’t let me go. Every time I was on the verge of quitting, I’d sell another piece. And I began writing for local newspapers, which taught me how to do interviews and brought in a small salary.
I first heard about IJM (International Justice Mission) at church.
So often we look at things like human trafficking and think, “That’s awful, but what can I do about it?” Here was a Christian organization that was doing a great deal about it!
I had written a play about the work of the Salvation Army in Thunder Bay, and it had done well. I ordered Gary Haugen’s book, “Terrify No More,” to get a sense of how they carry out their rescue operations, and used it as a model for a play that I wrote and directed at church. We had a fabulous cast and team, and raised $22,000 from that evening!
I have been involved to a smaller extent with other things my husband Reg has spearheaded. He formed a committee at church to sponsor two Syrian refugee families and help settle them in Thunder Bay. Both families are doing very well, and have become good friends. They are eternally grateful to the committee and to our church. Reg has also formed a “Walking Together” group at church to explore ways in which we can partner with First Nations people and promote healing, and reconciliation. This has been an exciting venture in our city, with the Walking Together group growing and gaining traction and influence in the city and some northern communities.
When I was a young Christian, churches seemed to be mainly concerned about evangelism among people that were similar to themselves.
That never felt right to me or Reg. Throughout the Bible, God talks about injustice and oppression. Jesus spoke of breaking chains and preaching good news to the poor. This is an exciting time, when we are seeing God lead in showing His love to refugees, slaves, and people trapped in poverty and addiction. His love is not just toward those of us who live in a comfortable middle-class bubble.
Several years ago I heard Linda Stewardson share her story at church. We were riveted as she told of being stabbed as a child by her stepfather, put into a garbage bag, and left to die.
I approached her later about it, and she was willing to work with me on a manuscript. Later, I entered it in a publishing contest run by Word Alive Press with Women’s Journey of Faith, and it won! Linda has spoken to women in prison, girls in crisis, College classes for child and youth workers, and everywhere she is invited. People are always enthralled by her story of how God enabled her to overcome her past and thrive. She has appeared on 100 Huntley Street three times, and the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction awarded her the Courage to Come Back award.
While Linda and I were signing copies at the launch of The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die at Women’s Journey of Faith in Saskatoon, a young woman stood near. She hung back. When there was a free moment, she came closer, hesitated, and then said, “Thank you for writing this.” Her eyes filled with tears, and she appeared to be struggling.
“Does this story resonate with you?” I asked. She nodded, and managed to share that she, like Linda, had experienced severe abuse in her life. Linda and I both embraced her and tried to convey our sympathy. I asked her if she was getting support, and she said yes. She also said that often people didn’t want to hear about it.
Watch it by clicking the link above.
Someone else came with a book for signing, and I turned to them, as Linda continued to speak with the young woman. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any contact information from her to continue the conversation, but she has stayed in our hearts and prayers since.
Linda said to me, “That’s the whole reason for this book. That’s why we did this.”
I couldn’t agree more.
They would rather change the subject and move on to something more pleasant. But I don’t see that as an option. How can we turn our backs on our sisters (and brothers) who, through no fault of their own, are treated as objects for abuse? I can handle the unpleasantness of the topic. I’ve heard women share their stories with me.
Like everyone else, I have limited time, money and energy. But like the boy who gave his bread and fish to Jesus to be shared, I can give my small offerings of time and talent, trusting that God will multiply them.
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION is a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. International Justice Mission Canada shares in this mission.
Update: I needed to find a release. I think that’s more like freedom. Timing is good for this release too.
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 two special things to tell you about.
2. I am offering a free Bible Art course. If you always wanted to try this – here is your chance. Materials are minimal. Sign up.
God always brings me back to centre.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I guess rabbits were on my mind when I looked at my 33 dots because this is what I saw.
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.
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This week the writer’s prompt from Five Minute Fridays is REGRET. We have 5 minutes to write what comes to us — quickly. Little editing. Just write.
Go: Clock is ticking
This post first published on Medium.com
I will admit I hate that word — regret. It has a negative tone and I am a positive person.
As I looked through Scripture I think God feels that way too. We are told many times to look forward, not behind. We press on, not look back. Even Lot and his family were told not to look back. Lot’s wife did — and she didn’t continue on.
“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26, NIV).”
Consider this passage:
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:13, NIV).
Do you hear that?
That’s the way our walk with Christ should be. We won’t always do the right thing.
But we will continue on the path set before us.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).”
And God shows us how. We know when we feel that aching in our souls when we know we are convicted of a sin. Don’t stay there. God is speaking to you. He will make you regret something and it must be cleansed immediately.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).”
When we feel that conviction of our spirits we need to act.
And to act is to ask forgiveness for our sins. Don’t stay there stuck in the muck thinking about it. Do something.
Knowing that Jesus died for our sins makes us realize that we have been forgiven and don’t need to wallow in the past. We have to let the past go. It doesn’t help us in our walk with God at all.
Jesus said: “It is finished.” He didn’t mean almost done, ready to be done or will be done.
He said, “It is done.”
Therefore are you letting regret grab hold of your life? Are you mulling around all the should haves? Well, STOP it right now. Jesus has paid the price and you are not thanking Him by thinking of the past.
Go on. Move forward.
Here is a prayer for releasing regret.
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for my sins. I am so grateful that I can hardly understand it. You have washed away all that from my past and have wiped the slate. The tape is erased. I am new because of You, Jesus. Help me to move forward, beyond this moment of time into Your presence of light and joy. Help me be at peace because You have made the way for me to be free and live eternally with You. And today I know that there is something still I need to confess. I confess it now before you. …………………………….In Your Name, Jesus. Amen.
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I am still challenging myself to draw 33 random dots on paper; then connect the dots without intersecting any lines; then paint. Today it turned out to be the theme of balance.
This challenge has me inspired. I never know what I will see.
This time was very different. I couldn’t see anything for a while. First I saw a foot but it looked like it was stepping on the head. Why would someone be stepping on a head? I didn’t like that. I saw the little dog but wondered what he was doing up there at the top of the page.
Do you see anything? I turned it around and around but kept coming back a foot, a head and a dog. At one time I thought I saw a whale’s tale but there was no whale.
As I looked at my rough sketch I changed the bows on the triangle on the dog to make it a real bow. I erased some lines and added some.
This is the final outcome.
This year is the first time I have found a balance of how to write, paint and enjoy retirement. I have focused on God for the past 17 years but have been balancing ten times more things that I had to.
To me I have learned balance by learning to focus on the one thing I heard God say to me. And that was: “Encourage believers to read their Bibles and pray.”
That also has led me to try Bible journaling and getting out of my shell and talking and listening to others. God is teaching me to become a spiritual mentor.
Here are a few of the latest Bible Journals from our study of Proverbs in Growing Through God’s Word Facebook Group. Join us.
In this study of 33 dots, Instead of just “painting” listen God before I paint. He helps me connect the dots. Then after I paint I see what He shows me – the meaning of my painting. By doing the 33 dots challenge it forces me to trust God and it makes me look, and create.
The person at the bottom (me) is learning to carry a heavy load as well as balance a dog on a poll. I think the standing person represents my work in writing and painting. It is steady on its own. The little dog is the rest of my life. It moves around so I have to watch it carefully so it doesn’t topple. But it’s the fun part. Even though my “work” of painting and writing is delightful I can also take fun in the other people in my life and the experiences around me.
And the Holy Spirit helps keep all things in balance.
Notice how the person at the bottom is looking forward. And that’s where I am looking. Not down or up but following God on the path He is leading me. My word for this year is “Go Forth” and as I pray and listen to God I am willing to change my direction. The things I am balancing are light because Jesus is right beside me or should I say inside me.
Jesus is my strength. He leads and guides me. I do what He tells and shows me. I listen.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
“The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Are you struggling to find more time with God? Where is your path headed? Do you want to feel His strength in your life?
Are you feeling disconnected from God?
Is your art or writing suffering because you are struggling do work on your own?
Do you want to tap into God’s unlimited creativity?
If you want a safe place to connect with other believers, to grow stronger in God’s Word and learn to listen to Him, please visit us at Growing Through God’s Word Facebook Group. We would love to have you.
Today on Five Minute Friday the prompt is SIMPLIFY.
Write for 5 minutes. Setting the Timer: Go
I totally agree with Kate when she wrote about over doing it. I have done that before. I think there are 5 major things we can do to simplify our lives.
Always start with God in the morning. Sit down with Him. He is your coach. See what He says about the day. Read His Word. Pray. Listen.
Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
Look at your life every once in a while. Check that what you are doing is what God has planned for you. Say NO to things that are not on His path.
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Psalm 118:8
Use your time wisely. I podcasted this week about social media as a trap for me (it will be available next Tuesday on Hope Stream radio). I recently uploaded an app called Pomadoro, which is a timer with breaks. I have set it for 30 minute work sessions and then a couple of 5 minute breaks and then a 15 minute break. So far it is working very well to simplify my writing and my art.
Colossians 4:5 “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
Look at activities that you do. Are you watching TV that is not uplifting? Are they time wasters? I have watched much TV for the last 5 years. Are you going to things that you feel you have to go to but really are not benefiting your heart and soul? Choose wisely.
Isaiah 40:31 The Message “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Look around you. Are you looking at too much stuff? Is that making your head not clear? Cleaning up my desk is something that really frees my mind. Clutter can cloud our thinking. Gett rid of stuff routinely.
Romans 12:2 ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Those are the 5 ways I have learned to simplify my life (at least that I can get down in 5 minutes.)
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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.