You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NIV)
Don’t the words make you want to cry out to God? David is in the desert and experiencing real thirst. In today’s world, we too are thirsty for His Presence.
In the Numbers passage,
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. (Numbers 13:33, NIV)
We see problems as huge but to God, they are not. We must give God the problems and He will take care of them.
From Matthew. What a confusing passage that is.
I think what I heard is the Jesus is the New Testament church. We are of His body. We want to live with the mind of Christ. We don’t need buildings, idols or listening to man. We need to listen to God. We have freedom because we are Sons of God (children of God).
From those readings came this poem.
Freedom to Live
Jesus is a newness A freshness A thirst-quenching Drink
The old of Man’s rules Has past
Following Jesus Gives us the Freedom to Listen to God Ourselves
Jesus helps us to Understand scripture To read between The Lines
No longer shackled No longer bound We can live full To follow Jesus
Let’s step out And do the work He has called us To do
*xyst means a garden walk planted with trees or a portico used as a promenade. I considered it a path that God wants me to take.
May I pray for you and me?
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on this Trinity Sunday, I ask that You seek our hearts and we seek Yours. Touch us and let us feel Your Presence. Reach us in our deep inner parts and teach us all that we need to know. In the powerful name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
God sees all. God created us and knows us intimately
From YouVersion – Psalm 51:10
Today as I read the three passages from the Bible, (I am reading through the Bible in three years) I saw this theme.
God knows us well.
What a powerfully packed lesson. I want to read it again and again.
Today, once again, I see pride as something that God detests. He mentions those who are upset with God when an answer doesn’t come to their liking. He doesn’t like them asking pridefully, “We fasted, and we humbled ourselves, and You didn’t listen or answer.”
But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’ “Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. (Isaiah 58:3, MSG)
But God explains that their fasting was a show when in reality they were not acting in God’s way – they exploited others, they quarrelled.
Their fast was for “show”.
And when they humbled themselves they did that in a showy way by lying on sackcloth and ashes.
What does God suggest instead?
Once again it comes back to love God and love your neighbour.
so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ 31 And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” (Mark 12:30-32, MSG)
God wants us to loose the chains of injustice, untie chords of yoke, and set oppressed free.
Isaiah 58:6 Loose the chains of injustice
How can we do this?
God gives us the means.
Those are the basic needs of life. If people don’t have those we need to help.
In Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21
We are told not to brag about doing things that we feel God wants us to do. For instance, giving is important. But not telling what we give. God knows it anyway. And we are to please Him and not try to be noticed.
The same can be said for fasting. If we fast, we do it in secret too. Secret to the world – but not to God.
And having things we don’t need – storing up stuff here on earth. Instead, we are to look for those things that please God and store up them.
I love the way the Message tells us how to do these things.
“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face.
God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.
A Life of God-Worship
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:16-21, MSG) Bolding mine.
Confession. This is one spot we forget. I do too. I like the ACTS way of praying because it reminds me that confession is a part of prayer.
Supplication (praying for ourselves and others)
This Psalm has the scripture that I memorized. Make a clean heart in me, O Lord.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10, ESV)
What does God desire of me?
A broken spirit (confession)
A broken and contrite heart – seeing what God wants and not what I want.
And it talks about God knowing us – our inner beings, our secrets.
Because He made us, He knows us. Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, NIV)
He wants a humble people. Not a proud people.
What did I learn?
We must see ourselves as God sees us. That means I need to remember to confess, because what I see God sees and what I do, God sees. And I know some of the things He sees in me is not to His liking.
Our hearts have to be softened. I need to think more about others.
Humility is important. So, don’t brag about anything.
And lastly, I want to help others with the basic needs of life.
What can I do?
A few practical things to start.
Go through my closet again and getting rid of clothes I do not wear.
Pray for inspiration of how to help people get their basic needs.
Confess daily those little things that God sees and I ignore.
What will you do?
I would love to hear your decisions. If we work on this together and encourage each other, without bragging, God will see us and be pleased.
May I pray for you and me?
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us today the way we are to live. Thank You that You see and listen to us. Help us to be humbler and in tune with Your ways. Help us love our neighbours. Help us be aware of opportunities to serve others. In Your name. Amen.
How Medium can help us grow personally and in our faith
And how you can be a part of spreading God’s Word around the world by using Medium.
What is Medium?
When I started writing on Medium in 2015, I had no idea how to do it. I would post something and that would be it. No interaction. No claps (we had likes back then). Not until I took a course by Tom Kuegler did I see the possibilities.
Now I see how God can use this platform
I see how we can reach others and learn from one another.
When I ran my personal blog I had interaction. But my blog didn’t seem to want to grow. It was stuck at 300 followers. That’s when I decided to make Medium my main writing platform.
Then I joined other publications as a writer. That was exciting.
But I kept hearing God say: “There is more to this Janis.”
I waited. I heard about setting up my own publication. That task seemed bigger than I wanted.
We have been friends for years since God brought us together at a writers’ conference. Both of us have dabbled in writing. Sometimes more industriously than others. But Kimberley is administratively gifted. I am not. I like connecting, and praying, writing and art.
All of a sudden we were setting up a Publication. We were finding our first writers. Now we have 53 writers.
And we found followers. Now we have 178 of them.
It’s all God
Today I read two passages that helped me see about growth.
“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest.
The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others — ignoring God! — harvests a crop of weeds.
All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!
“But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life (Galatians 6:7–8, The Message.”
I pictured a harvest. But then I saw that to have a harvest we have to plant seeds.
Medium is a SEED PLANTER PLATFORM!
Yes, from this platform we can reach the world. We can learn about new things. We can teach what God teaches us.
Another scripture came this morning.
“For the seed shall be prosperous” (Zechariah 8:12, KJV);
“For there the seed will produce peace and prosperity” (Zechariah 8:12, Amplified).
We need to plant the seeds.
Why we decided to run Koinonia, a publication on Medium
I think there are three very basic important reasons.
We want to have a gathering place for Believers to read and to write. We want a safe haven to flush out ideas, to read God’s Word and study what we are hearing and learning.
We want a place to pray for one another. That is accomplished for our writers in our FB group. For others who read our posts, we are most willing to pray for you too. Just contact us. We want to be there for you.
We want to spread the love of Jesus around the globe.
Where is God leading us?
I ask Him this every day.
Lord, is there something else we can do to entice more writers to join us.
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?
A Purposeful Faith
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.
A page from The Kingdom of Thrim
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
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;
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.
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.
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 Wordis 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.
I am in a hard spell. There has been a lot going on in my life and I can’t seem to concentrate on sitting still and writing.
But here I am.
This Sunday and last Sunday we had marvellous sermons about Pentecost. Yes, the coming to earth of the Holy Spirit. The fire — the life — the revelation.
We need that again.
In 1734 Jonathan Edwards wrote:
“”It pleased God…to display his free and sovereign mercy in the conversion of a great multitude of souls in a short space of time, turning them from a formal, cold, and careless profession of Christianity, to the lively exercise of every Christian grace, and the powerful practice of our holy religion.”
Free and sovereign mercy — God did this.
We have to remember that God brings revival. So what do we do?
Is it time for another awakening of hearts and spirits?
Revivals happen in a period of moral decline. Look at our world: sexual abuse, disgust with those running governments, corruption, killings, and fear. We have screen abuse so we are no longer talking face to face with others. Our reading skills are declining.
Prayer stimulates our hearts and souls and sends a signal to God that we are ready to see Him in action.
Those who teach from God’s Word are speaking into the hearts of the people.
Are you ready for revival?
Do you want to see God’s spirit move in hearts?
Are you ready to be convicted and see yourself as God sees you? (That’s scary.)
I always love this song by Robin Mark. Revive Us.
God has put it on my heart to gather believers together, to grow through God’s Word and prayer.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”
I am doing a challenge experiment in drawing — to make my mind expand but also to hear God at the same time. This time I heard the word pride. I put 33 dots on a piece of art paper, outline them and then colour. Then I pray. What Lord does this mean?
Now comes the harder part. Lord, what is this? What are you showing me?
At first, when I looked at the outline alone and turned it round and round I kept seeing crowns.
That carries back to Lord of the Rings and my reading of the third book in the series. There are a series of kings in the story. Good and bad. And then I am also reading David Kitz’s book “The Soldier Who Killed a King” and we have read together in a study both Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, followed by Herod’s entry. A study of two kings. Quite the differences.
But then I got to thinking that I saw an egg — and an egg person.
So what I see is Humpty Dumpty.
As I read through article after article it seems to me that this sentence made the most sense:
Perhaps, in this instance, we could take advice from Humpty Dumpty himself, as seen in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll:
“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less “ (Lewis Carroll).