Tag Archives: God

How Did God Lead Marianne to Social Justice?

A Powerful Story of God’s Persistence and a Woman’s Obedience

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

Marianne

Marianne didn’t let anything stop her from speaking out. Here is her story.

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.

I felt that God had given me my answer.

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.

Right away I was hooked.

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!

The idea of writing a play about their work kept gnawing at me.

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.

God has led all the way.

When I was a young Christian, churches seemed to be mainly concerned about evangelism among people that were similar to themselves.

Social justice was not considered to be the church’s work.

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.

I am thrilled at what God  is doing!

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.

As she continued, I thought, “This is a book. I have to write her story!”

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.

Marianne

A powerful story of the impact one story can have

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.

I told her that there is power in sharing one’s story.

The Girl Who wouldn’t Die

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.

Marianne

Linda and Marianne at book signing.

People are often uncomfortable at topics like sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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.

Their stories don’t depress me. Rather, they motivate me to do something about it.

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.

The Kindle version of The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die can be found here.
For a print copy, email her

Marianne is a team member for Chain Breakers at IJMCanada. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

Chain Breakers.

 

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.

 

Find out How and Why God has Given me Release

Update: I needed to find a release. I think that’s more like freedom. Timing is good for this release too.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

I know it’s been awhile since I posted here. I have been busy writing on Medium.com. I’ve been busy taking courses. Maybe too busy.

You can check out my posts by going to Janis Cox Medium. You don’t have to sign up to read the posts. But you can’t “clap” (which is a “like”) unless you sign up. (A few of my posts are in a program to get paid and you can’t get those unless you subscribe to Medium.) If you are already a member please tell me so I can drop over to visit you.

I did a 30-day challenge to write 5 days a week in March. Whew, that was interesting. I don’t think I’ll keep up that pace. I learned a lot though.

This week as I talked to God and read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 I realized I needed to take a break, a release.

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.

  1. If you are looking for a place to learn about God’s Word, but don’t have time, or not sure how. Here is a safe haven – join us on our Facebook Closed Group – Growing Through God’s Word.

release

 

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.

release

 

Now for the Five-Minute Friday post:

Five minutes to write. Go: – The Word is RELEASE.

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.

Blessings,

Janis

 

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.

What is a Split-Second Prayer?

What is a Split Second Prayer?

My prayer life is in progress. I read my Bible every day. I learn a little bit here, a little bit there. Jesus teaches me. The Holy Spirit teaches me. This is about a split-second prayer.

split-second-prayer

What is a Split Second Prayer?

I read something the other day that made me have an aha moment. Then I knew I needed to be in constant conversation with God.

Split-Second Prayers

A split-second prayer is a quick communication link
before I start anything.
(tweet this) 

By doing these split-second prayers I get in touch with God instantly.

“In this way, your speaking comes under the control of My [Jesus] Spirit (Jesus Calling, August 3rd).

I remember learning this when I took The Workbook of Living Prayer. I would pray when I heard a fire engine, an ambulance, at a stop light, while in a grocery line, or before I made each phone call.

I wrote back in October 2010, a post called Constant Communication:

In Living Prayer, we are encouraged to find our own pattern of prayer to practice different methods until we discover how we can best communicate with God. What time of day is best for you? Do you use interruptions as a call to prayer (being put on hold on the phone, lineups at the store, traffic lights)? Do you follow a pattern (PATH,  ACTS,  SHELTER )?

Today I thought of other ideas for split second prayers:

      • anytime I am speaking – pray, think, listen, then respond
      • when I begin to write
      • before I begin to paint
      • as I begin to make a meal

Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
(James 1:19, NIV).

Before we do anything, connect with God – it only takes a split second. (tweet this)

Prayer:

Lord, help us to keep up a constant communication. Help us to use split-second prayers so we keep in touch with you. Speak to us. Show us how to listen. Help us be slow to speak so we can listen to You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

This post was updated from one I wrote in 2013.

CALL TO ACTION

Do you long for a deeper relationship with God?
Are you tired of being tired?
Would you like to feel God’s peace, protection and strength?

Grow Through God’s Word is a safe Facebook group where we learn scriptures, dabble in Bible art, and express our thoughts and questions on scripture. To join answer the 3 questions.

Click on the image and it will take you to the Facebook Group.

Would you like to learn more about Bible Journaling? Please add your name to the waiting list for a Free Bible Art course.

Click on the image to sign up for the waitlist for the course.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Regret

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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).”

Therefore if we aren’t to look back what should we do? Look forward of course.

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?

Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.

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).”

But how can we throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that entangles us?

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).”

One of my first Bible art — Bible journaling.

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.

A prayer of repentance is the door out of regret.

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.

CALL TO ACTION

Do you long for a deeper relationship with God?
Are you tired of being tired?
Would you like to feel God’s peace, protection and strength?

Grow Through God’s Word is a safe Facebook group where we learn scriptures, dabble in Bible art, and express our thoughts and questions on scripture. To join answer the 3 questions.

Click on the image and it will take you to the Facebook Group.

Would you like to learn more about Bible Journaling? Please add your name to the waiting list for a Free Bible Art course.

Click on the image to sign up for the waitlist for the course.

How Can I Balance my Life in This Day and Age?

33 Dots: Balance

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.

Step 1: Connect the dots to make contour lines.

balance

Outline when I connected the 33 dots.

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.

Step 2: See if I can make anything out of this.

balance

The outline of the picture as I saw it. 33 Dots.

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.

Step 3: Draw with micron pen and paint.

This is the final outcome.

balance

The final picture for 33 dots – Balance

Step 4: See where God leads my thoughts.

Balance:

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.

My Focus:

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.

balancebalance

Listen to God:

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.

What this painting means to me:

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?

CALL TO ACTION

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.

5 Ways to Simplify your Work Life

To Simplify isn’t Easy, you know

Today on Five Minute Friday the prompt is SIMPLIFY.

simplify

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

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.

Start with God

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.”

Review your 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

Watch your Time While You Work

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.”

Where are you spending that 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.”

Are you Cluttering Your Mind with your Stuff?

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.)

What about you? What do you do to simplify your life?

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.

simplify

It’s Amazing How Different Things are When You Look Closely

This was going to be a different Friday as I had decided not to write. Ha ha. Me? not write?

different

Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

So I am taking the required 5 minutes to write on the word “different” for Five Minute Friday. If you are a writer and just want to write for fun and link with others to encourage them, join us.

If you need help or encouragement just ask me. I’m right here to help you. Email Janis.

5 Minutes: GO

I thought of many ways I could approach the word different – how changed I am from the way I was last year, to how I was 16 years ago- to today. I thought of how life is better and different when I am with God than when I am not.

But I decided to take a look at my journey in art. When I first took a watercolour painting course in 1996, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.

Not about art – but about seeing.

Yes my eyes were closed to the world around me. Through my subsequent art lessons I learned to see.

I remember when we were taught to look at a distance and see the atmospheric conditions – how there were grays, and not blues, how the trees where not green but they could actually look blue.

different

Photo by Sergei Akulich on Unsplash

And then to look at trees on the side of the road – to really look at the different greens. There are deep greens, lime greens, all interspersed. Can you see the difference?

different

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

I started to look. And as I started to look closer I really saw the difference.

I had to be careful when driving on the country roads that in my desire to see, I didn’t take my eyes off the road.

Now to look how this affected my life.

I really hadn’t seen how different God made his creatures, his plants, his flowers. When I saw a flower up close it looked incredible.

I started to take pictures. I bought a good camera and for a long time I took many pictures.

different

Photograph by Janis Cox – Butterfly Conservatory

different

Photograph by Janis Cox – Butterfly Conservatory

My thought: When you take time and look, things can be different. (click to tweet)

The same is true with my faith. I didn’t really think about my faith before. It was there. It didn’t mean anything to me.

But then I started to look – to ask, to question, and eventually to pray.

I now know I am different than I was in 1996. I have seen into the spiritual and as I study, pray, and listen to God I see it more and more.

Now I also do Bible Art so I can see what God is speaking to me. Here are 2 versions of 2 Corinthians 3:17.

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Painting by Janis Cox from 2 Corinthians 3:17

different

Bible Journaling by Janis Cox 2 Corinthians 3:17

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.

Janis has a free book, called One Word at a Time.  If you like short devotionals you will enjoy these 4 devotionals with questions and a place to journal.

Black and White – What are your truths?

Black and White – What are Your Truths?

Today’s prompt is black and white. I have been pondering about this theme. What are my black and whites? My truths. I am joining #ScribblePicnic.

I don’t believe everything is black and white.

I don’t think others should be telling people what to think and what to do.

But I do know there are certain truths that I put my faith in. And I am sure that you do too. We all have our black and whites.

These are my Black and Whites about my faith which is my life:

I believe in the Apostles’ Creed (that’s my faith statement).

Jesus is My Rock.

I believe we need to love, care and help others no matter their colour, their faith, their background – whatever.

I believe God put me here on earth for a purpose and I am trying to follow that way. I try to listen to what He is telling me.

I believe I can communicate with my God. I write about what I learn as I continue to grow in my faith. I read my Bible daily.

I believe we cannot judge one another. There is One who judges. Period.

I believe in a community – a community of believers, of like-minded individuals (like artists), of young people, of seniors, (whatever) – a group of people that help one another. (That’s why I love our church.)

So today I am going to sketch my black and white.

.

black and white

 

But my faith needs colour.

I need joy, compassion, hope, love, excitement, energy, enthusiasm – I need life. Life to me is colour. So my black and white will be coloured with the zeal of living

 

black and white

 

If you enjoyed this article, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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

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I blog at www.janiscox.com

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black and white

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

A lesson on active listening

active listening

The other day I read a post about being an active listener and how important it can be. I have a head that never stops thinking except when I am asleep. And I’m not sure about that either as I do have dreams.

How can I stop this mental racket and use active listening? (tweet this)

When I’m listening to someone I do try to keep eye contact and be fully engaged. The problem is that I can get so engaged with what been said that it brings to mind other ideas. And then I feel like I’m going to burst because I want to interact. I know I need to wait for the person to stop talking or at least a break in the conversation. But as you see this leads to not actively listening. If I wait until they are finished I will lose those thoughts. That shouldn’t bother me – but it does.

I want to work on this part of me. I want to find a way of actively listening without interrupting. In church I take sermon notes. This helps me to relax, assured that if I have a question I can jot it down to ask the minister later.

This whole thing made me think about my relationship with God and how I talk to Him. My prayers consist mostly of my talking. Period. That’s it.

But what if my prayers consisted of active listening too? (tweet this)

Could I sit still and really clear my mind of my thoughts and questions and wait for God to speak?

The first time I tried this, years ago, I couldn’t sit still for longer than 5 minutes. After that time I became restless and uncomfortable.

I have, over the years, become better at this. But lately I know I have once again reverted back to talk, talk and talk some more.

That is until yesterday when I read this verse in the Bible from Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you.

Oh my – yes that’s what’s been missing I thought.

I need to STOP what I’m doing and go to God to hear Him. (tweet this)

He says He will instruct, teach and counsel me.

So for the first time in a long time I sat quietly before God. It took me a few uncomfortable, head-filled restless minutes, but eventually I relaxed and opened my heart and head to His Presence.

I felt Him. I felt the peace of Jesus. I even had a few pictures in my mind too. But mostly I heard – You’ve come back.

In my SIMPLE Method of Bible study the outline using these letters gives a time to pray and listen to God. If you want to know more about this method, Join my newsletter and get a free PDF.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, we know we have very active minds that sometimes don’t want to shut down. Help us to learn how to clear our hearts and minds of the mental clatter to be able to hear from You. Give us time to be present with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, while you study a verse or passage take time to pray and listen to God’s voice. You will be inspired.

You can listen to this devotional on my podcast for Hope Stream Radio.

active listening

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