Tag Archives: Jan Cox

TWO INTERPRETATIONS OF MATTHEW 9:14-17 – Sermon

Two Interpretations of Matthew 9:14-17 – Sermon

based on a sermon by Harry Morgan.

prayer and fasting

Sunday’s sermon, based on Matthew 9:14-17, talks about fasting, and tells two parables.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.  Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17 NIV)

Harry first talked about the Pharisees, reviewing last week’s lesson that Jesus requires mercy not sacrifice.

He talked to us about the Pharisees’ tradition of fasting where they made a big show of this practice. He even had a picture of Pharisees with long faces showing how much pain they were in. He asked, “Would you want to join these guys?”

Instead, Jesus said to enjoy Him and feast with Him while He was on earth. There would be a time for mourning and fasting when He was gone.

Then Jesus tells us two parables:

        1. Putting new unshrunk cloth on old material
        2. Pouring new wine into old wine skins

Harry said there are two theological interpretations on these parables:

 Out with the Old and in with the New:

wineskin wikipedia

We resist change and innovation. We don’t like renovations. Some people like the “same old, same old” [my words].

From Charisma Magazine there are three painful steps to make this renovation:

  1. Fear of Change: If we don’t change we will be in bondage. “Don’t park when God is calling you forward.” (tweet this)
  2. Defy Traditions: To move forward we need to be willing to defy traditions. “God is with the courageous few who are willing to blaze a new path into unreached territory.”
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new strategies: “If the work of transforming the church is not totally led by the Holy Ghost, then our changes will be shallow and our impact will be pitiful.”

And the second interpretation is:

Mature the new gently so it can appreciate and renew the old:

Harry spoke of seeing value of the old traditions, hymns. We need to respect the past.

Then he left us to figure it out for ourselves. But he said he sees value in both interpretations. Today we had a contemporary service in which we also sang an old hymn. Harry showed us there is power of the Spirit in the past as well as in the present.

He left us with these words:

“We are Christ’s witnesses to reach the world around us. Let us be graceful in our approach.”

After reading the article from Charisma Magazine I like the J.L. Grady’s conclusion:

“I believe the Lord wants to unleash a gushing river of new wine into the church today, but He is directing us to prepare our wineskins. What is old must be renewed by the Spirit, what is outdated must be remodeled, and what is ineffective must be replaced. God wants to do a new thing. Don’t resist it.”

JanisCox-photo2web

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request. Janis also is a contributor to Hope Stream Radio. Join her on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tadeo-Turtle-Cover-large-web

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

 

 

 

Do You Have Freedom When You Pray?

Do You Have Freedom When You Pray?

by Janis Cox

Music Notes

Have you ever listened to a pianist who can play by ear? Or have you seen an artist who draws freely without a picture to look at? The flow from them is uninterrupted.

I can follow directions; I can learn something; I do watercolour; but I can’t draw freely. This summer I have enrolled in an expressive arts class. I hope and pray that I can grown in my expression and creativity.

This past week, God has impressed on my to embrace Him – NOW.

I still get doing things without pausing first to connect with Him. But I am getting better and allowing my spirit to connect with God before I write and before I paint.

Please don’t squander one bit of this marvellous life God has given us (2 Corinthians 6:1, The  Message).

God gave me the gift of grace and that wonderful gift allows me to come to Him at anytime. The flow of living water is available to me always.

So at this moment, Lord, I put myself at your throne. I call upon You and You will answer me.

Prayer is the experience of drawing on the grace of God (My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, June 26). (click to tweet).

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we come to You now, at this moment – grateful for the grace You have bestowed upon us. Keep this grace flowing in our hearts and minds throughout this day. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

And the song that comes to my mind – Freedom Reigns by Jesus Culture

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis, 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. She is also a contributor to a group blog called Family and Faith Matters.  She is the author and watercolour illustrator of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle. Word Alive has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Janis’s Website.

WHY DO I FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU?

Why Do I Forget to Say Thank You?

by Janis Cox

W!C Worship

Thank You, Lord

“Thank you” – two little words with so much power. The only other words with equal or more power are “I’m sorry”.

Why do I have trouble saying thank you? I think it comes down to PRIDE – I don’t want to lower myself and admit I needed help.

I think our ability to say thank you to people is directly related to our ability to thank God.

This week was an easy one for me to thank God – for the safe arrival of our 6th grandchild. The words flowed; the praise and the thanks.

But on a day to day basis, even when I do the Joy Dare (counting gifts) I look, I find and I record BUT I forget to thank the One for the gift. I forget to thank the Giver.

When I read the Scriptures I read, I study, I even question God, I record my thoughts BUT do I thank Him for His Word – NO.

One of the first Scriptures I memorized is found in Philippians:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). [emphasis mine]

With thanksgiving – oh those are meaningful words.

Thank Him, Thank Him – all ye little children – remember that one?

Here is a new song for me “I’m Alive” by Peter Furler.

Here are the words to the chorus:

I’m alive
I’m on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight
Bright-eyed
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You

Thank You
Thank You

This week I want to be more intentional in my thanksgiving. I want to be aware of thanking Him for every little thing.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for taking all that You do for granted. I do want to thank You. I will try this week to remind myself of those two little words and use them daily in my walk with You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Janis 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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

HOW CAN WE BE ON FIRE FOR GOD?

How Can We Be On Fire for God?

by Janis Cox

Fire

Last week I wrote about why we pray. I came to the conclusion that the best reason for prayer was to build a relationship with God.

Now a reminder – God does want to hear from us. So make your requests known to Him. As you spend time with God your requests and His desires will move you closer together.

“I take pleasure in hearing your prayers. So feel free to bring Me all your requests” (Jesus Calling March 23).

And the God of abundance will answer you with even more than you ask.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV).

I think that is really awesome – that we can continue to pray and expect great answers.

The more you pray, the more answers you
can receive (Jesus Calling).
Tweet this.

So this week my request is based on the song Light The Fire Again by Brian Doerksen.

Don’t let our love grow cold
I’m calling out
Light the fire again
Don’t let our vision die
I’m calling out
Light the fire again
You know our hearts, my deeds
I’m calling out
Light the fire again
I need Your discipline
I’m calling out
Light the fire again
I am here to buy gold
Refined in the fire
Naked and poor
Wretched and blind I come
Clothe me in white
So I won’t be ashamed
Lord, light the fire again

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/b/brian_doerksen/

Let us be on fire in our conversations with others about our God. Let our words be many; let our hearts and souls reverberate in Heaven; Let this be a loud cry.

Prayer:

Father, you tell us in your Word to pray – to talk to you – at all times. Help us be a people of prayer. Draw us close to You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

WHY DO WE PRAY?

Why Do We Pray?

by Janis Cox

Why Do We Pray?

Why Do We Pray?

This is probably the most asked question put into searches on prayer.

People might say we pray for protection, good health, strength and comfort; a good job, a better relationship, a new friend; housing, food, shelter.

What we are really doing when we pray is building
a relationship with God. Tweet this.

Think about this – the people that you know the best, how did you get to be such good friends? You have similar interests and enjoy spending time together, right?

It is exactly the same with God. when you spend time with Him in prayer you are building a relationship. You are beginning to understand the mind of God.

The more time you spend with God –
the better is your relationship with Him. Tweet this.

“This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will” (Oswald Chambers, March 20).

This was a revelation to me. If I am that close to God then I will already be in His will. Then I can go ahead and make decisions unless He puts a check in my spirit.

“You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God. Knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint” (Oswald Chambers, March 20).

So why do we pray?

We pray to continue to build a strong loving relationship with God, through Jesus. The more we talk to Him, the stronger this relationship is.

Prayer:

Oh, Father. Thank You for the wonderful privilege of prayer – our communication with You. Keep us mindful of this daily communication method. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

Related articles

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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

HOW CAN I PRAY USING SCRIPTURE?

How Can I Pray Using Scripture?

by Janis Cox

Real Prayers from Real People

Our Bible Study, better known as the Bible Babes, has started a new study called Rational Worship by Carolyn J. Watts. As we looked closely at Scriptures we were asked our thoughts and feelings. Then we were asked to make a prayer.

Praying using the Scriptures is very powerful. Tweet this.

This week I asked my women friends to share with you their prayers.

The question in our study read:

In the light of your current life situation, what does Romans 11:33 make you want to pray?

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out “(Romans 11:33, NIV)!

Here are real prayers from real people:

God, I need your wisdom and knowledge to lead me to make good decisions each day. Only You see the future and therefore only You can guide me in the right way, the way that glorifies You.

God, You know everything. So from the depth of the riches of Your knowledge and wisdom I know You can be there for me. Show me, guide me, and move the mountains.

O Lord, my Father, my Creator, I give my whole self to You. You know me so well. I thank and praise You for Your glory is everything.

I am so grateful that an all-powerful God would be involved in the details of my life and my plans for the future. Thank You that I can trust You with all my hopes and desires knowing that You will lead me in the right direction.

What prayer would you pray – after reading that Scripture a few times?

Stop. Think. Then pray.

Related articles

Janis 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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

ARE MY PRAYERS TOO SMALL?

Are My Prayers Too Small?

by Janis Cox

Prayer

Are Your Prayers too Small?

I am learning much through Henry Blackaby’s study called Experiencing God.

This week, lesson 7, involved a crisis of belief.

Henry made sure to explain that this is not a crisis (which we can have as well) but a crisis of belief when God has put something on our hearts that we don’t think we can do.

“When God speaks, it will create a crisis of belief. ”

“One word from God has the potential of an open-ended experience with God” (Henry Blackaby).” Tweet this.

And so what are we to do? When we reach the stage of hearing from God and know what He is saying, what happens? We either do it or we don’t – simple.

“The smallest encounter with God has incredible dimensions to it” (Henry Blackaby).

Oh Oh… You mean it is God-sized? I can’t do it myself?

Yes that is exactly what happens. I see it this way:

      • you have a dream, an idea from God
      • you pray about it
      • God gives you the answer – yes do it
      • and you say, “What? Me, God?”

This is called a crisis of belief.

Now here was the best part.

Pray again. And again.

“Most Christians are just one prayer away from God doing a mighty work” (Henry Blackaby). Tweet this.

Our thinking is too small. The task seems impossible.

We do have to remember that all things are
possible with God.
Tweet this.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27, NIV)

I found 3 other references to this, Matthew 19:26; Mark10:27; Hebrews 11:6.

God will always excite with what’s impossible (without Him). The key is to obey. When we don’t believe and obey then the activity of God is shut down.

What has God laid on your heart? Does it seem impossible? Then you are in a crisis of belief. Pray and pray again.

Prayer:

I know I am in a crisis of belief. But I also know that You are God – an amazing, awesome God, who can do the impossible. So I am ready for You – I believe and will obey. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

I would love you to share your dreams/crises of belief – either in the comment section or directly to Under the Cover of Prayer.

Here is a great praise song by Hillsong – All Things are Possible

Related articles

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis, 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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

CAN VISUALIZATION HELP YOU PRAY?

Can Visualization Help You Pray?

by Janis Cox

GOD

Being able to see (and that doesn’t have to be seeing with your eyes) can make us aware of God.

Have we lost the ability to visualize God?

“One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize” (Oswald Chambers, February 10). Tweet this.

I looked at what could distract me from seeing God:

  •   My daily life – the regular every day things, eating, socializing and my to-do lists.
  •  The world’s delectable distractions – TV, movies, books.
  •   Money – to make it; to spend it – lots of choices on where to spend the money

Now I want to make it clear that I don’t mean to imply that God isn’t in our daily lives. But to truly focus on Him, I believe I need to visualize myself in His Presence. There needs to be a daily dedicated time in His Presence.

Now what can help me make this connection with God.

  • The earth as He made it – nature
  • His people

Here is how I can truly focus on God:

Quiet Morning Reflection

I find my best time of speaking and listening to God is the first thing in the morning. It is quiet. There are NO distractions. I can shut my eyes. I can speak out loud or in my head and the be quiet. I can feel His Presence. It takes work, concentration and focus. This can work.

A Quiet Walk Alone in Nature

Other times I find that I can take a quiet walk by myself – looking around, breathing in His Spirit, singing, and talking to Him.

What about you? How and where do you visualize God?

I love the praise song Awakening sung by Chris Tomlin.

Related articles

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis, 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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

ARE YOU WAITING?

Are You Waiting?

by Janis Cox

by Janis Cox

by Janis Cox

Oh – to learn to slow down. A number of times in the past week I have read about “waiting”.

        • My Advent study from Margaret Feinberg – first week – WAIT.
        • A speaker at a women’s dinner said, “learn to unitask”.
        • Tadeo – my turtle goes slowly – something I need to learn.
        • Then I read Jesus Calling – “it is good to wait quietly” (Lamentations 3:26 NIV).

I took a deep breath. I sighed. Yes I do need to slow down or I will miss the waiting. This waiting for Christmas can be a Holy time if I let it.

I responded to Margaret’s words in Wonderstruck.

I particularly liked when she wrote about “Three Word Prayers”. I realized I needed to slow down my words to God. To release them ONE at a time.

Thank You God

Wonder. Power. Healing.

Search my soul.

Sense my being.

“Every word, every syllable, demanded mindfulness” (Wonderstruck, page 78).

“Three word prayers required me to reengage spiritual muscles that had long ago grown flabby” (Wonderstruck, page 80)”

Do I ramble at God like a nagging wife? Or do I slow it down and make each word count?

“Be still and know that I am God.”

That is what God said. Not chatter and beg – but be STILL.

So in this first week of Advent I have tried to be still. I have tried to seek the quietness that He wants. And you know what – it is good. I rested in Him.

The First Week of Advent

A time to wait
A time to listen to God
Still your hearts
Still your souls.

Slow down your thoughts
Focus on Him
Let distractions cease
[even for a few minutes]

Who is this God?
What is eternity?

“Be still
And know

I am God

Get to know Me.”

Breathe

God is LOVE
God knew you before you were born
God knows you now
God will know you forever!

Janis Cox 2012

“Modern man has lost the perspective of eternity. To distract himself form the gaping jaws of death, he engages in ceaseless activity and amusement” (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young).

Ceaseless activity VS Stillness in Him?

Which are you doing this Christmas?

I would love to hear from you.

Here is Chris Tomlin and Everlasting God (Wait Upon the Lord)

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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.

DOES GOD CARE FOR YOU?

Does God Care for You?

by Janis Cox

Since I started a new website at www.janiscox.com I have been praying for a byline for it. I had another blog before I switched to a self-hosted blog with WordPress, called A Better Way. While I still liked that name, it didn’t seem to be the focus where God was leading me.

In my children’s story about Tadeo Turtle, I knew God had spoken into my heart to get out the message of how special each one of us is to God. That has been on my heart for the past year as I wrote, edited and published my story.

Now as I enter into the other side of writing – marketing – I see God telling me that this theme of every single person being special to God, continues to be His goal for me.

“Tell everyone”, says the Lord, “you are special to Me.”

Now as I read His word I pray for inspiration of HOW to do this.

I would pray that all my friends and readers would ask a prayer for me to find a way to do this.

Starting today my website will be called He Cares for You with the Scripture from 1 Peter 5:7.

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

The prayer I am using is Psalm 17:6

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me, give ear to me and hear my prayers.”

Thanks for your support in this.

Prayer:

Father I ask that you will continue to teach me how to reach people with the news that You care for them. Please show me how to do this. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Don’t forget to visit www.janiscox.com to see my gratitude list on Mondays. Here is last Monday’s. Counting to 2000.

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 has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.