Tag Archives: stuff

Creative Tuesdays – The Greatest Gift

Creative Tuesdays – The Greatest Gift

Gift-of-God

The prompt this Tuesday was Gift. Check out all the other posts at Creative Tuesdays.

This watercolour was painted in analogous colours. Those are the colours on the colour wheel close to each other. I chose green as my main colour because to me green = life. And blue represents the sky and water, and our lives are tied to both.

About gifts:

I am not a “gift giver” or a “gift receiver”. Things don’t bless me. I guess it all started when Christmas got out of hand (we cut back on that), and when I had joined a sorority that expected secret sisters to buy gifts for each other. That got out of hand too. How much stuff can we get?

As a public school teacher we had a hard time at Christmas and the end of the year with gifting. It made it hard for poorer families to keep up with the other families. My collection of mugs could start a store (but I have since given them to our thrift store). The best gift I ever received over the years was a letter from a family explaining that they had helped a child in another country have a needed operation in my name. Now that gift brought tears to my eyes. Such a blessing to know that they thought of me as the recipient of that gift.

Now just because I am not one who doesn’t like gift giving doesn’t mean others don’t. In Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, receiving gifts is one of the love languages. An excellent book of how to relate to others, particularly our spouses.

But for me – that is not one of my love languages.

However, there is one gift that I will cherish forever and it comes from Romans 6:23 (NIV).

The gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

That is the real gift that changed me and my life forever.

To know that I can live forever with God is the greatest gift of all.

Linking to Creative Tuesdays.

Tweetable:

The best gift of all is eternal life in Jesus. (tweet this)

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.

 

 

 

 

Restore your life – Are deceivers blinding You to God’s purpose for your life?

What’s keeping you from following your purpose?

Are you looking to restore your life and purpose? What is distracting you?

restore

Photo from Free Digital Photos.net

 

I am continuing to study Titus using the SIMPLE Method of Bible Study and Ed Hird’s book Restoring Health. Today I am working through Titus 1:11.

If you want a PDF of the SIMPLE Bible Study –
please click on SIMPLE Bible Study by Janis Cox.

 

REstoring Health ed hird cover

Of course, I start with a prayer for God to open the Scripture to me.

S – Say the passage aloud.

They must be silenced because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain (Titus 1:11, NIVUK).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Since we have been following Titus verse by verse, if you are new here, you will need to go back to the beginning to better understand the characters, setting and circumstances.

Continuing from the last verse from last week:

They = mere talkers and deceivers

These deceivers are teaching things they ought not to teach.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

So how do we silence them? Everyone is involved – whole households. I wonder who the “they” were in Paul’s day. Were they people who knew God but started their own ideas? Or were they people who wanted to have people follow them – for the sake of dishonest gain. So they pretended to be “like” the apostles but without the sound doctrine of Jesus.

Were they Jewish rabbis who were following so closely to the rules they forgot to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God? (Micah 6:8) Remember Jesus got very angry when they turned the temple into a marketplace – Church is supposed to be a House of God.

I look at all that can deceive us. There is plenty. We have so much vying for our attention – TV, videos, movies, social media, sellers, Facebook ads, – all taking us on rabbit trails (some good some bad).

This all reminded me of Satan’s Letter.

What takes us away from the TRUTH – that we follow Jesus? Are we holding firmly to the trustworthy message as we have learned it from Jesus? (Titus 1:9)

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

Make sure when you do this study that you take time for this step. Otherwise we are thinking our own thoughts and can be led astray.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Deceivers come looking like goodness but they are covered up and we can’t see the truth behind them. Remember Satan is the devil in disguise. I chose the icon because Satan can  come looking like a Valentine.

the two greatest dangers to … the Kingdom of God, come from two directions, money and power… Money and power crucified Christ (E. Stanley Jones).

This reminded me again of the course by Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace. We need to get a handle on money so it doesn’t get a handle on us.

I wanted to look at all the areas of my life – all of them. Where could I be deceived?

Here is what I discovered.

POWER

That is self. I struggle with self sometimes, many times. I have to keep asking myself, am I going this for God or me?

SOCIAL MEDIA

I must watch how much time I spend on this. Which one should I focus on?

PROCRASTINATION

Of course I do what I like to do first, or what is most pressing. But maybe I need to stop and ask God where I need to focus my attention for that time?

ACTIVITIES/STUFF

God is really speaking to me about this. Is there something else I need to lay down?

About 10 years ago I heard my LIFE VERSE, “feed my lambs”. I have been trying to do this but I do go on rabbit trails. That is why this year my goal is to be Intentional to Restore my focus on God.

So in December I decided to stop writing for Inscribe, stop Under the Cover of Prayer, stop Family and Faith Matters.

I picked up being a contributor to Hope Stream Radio each Tuesday. I hope you listen to this wonderful online radio station.

And I keep hearing, do Sunday Stillness.

Of course then there are projects I need to still work on this. Which ones?

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, all of the things I am involved in are good things but they may not be where you want me to spend my time. Help me to wrestle through this. I am asking for clarification of the truth – the real road. Please point me in the right direction. Help me to learn the best way to “feed your lambs”. Help me clearly see and hear the deceivers. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Tweetable:

Are deceivers blinding you to God’s purpose for your life? (click tweet) 

2015 – my year for being intentional to focus on God’s plan (click to tweet)

CALL TO ACTION

Do you want to restore your life and faith in Jesus?

Are you struggling to find time to get to know God?

Are you anxious but don’t know how to deal with it?

Do you want to know what path God has for you?

Do you need more time reading your Bible?

I have a solution for you.

Join me on my FB Page called Growing Through Gods’ Word. We learn together how to pray and how to study His Word.

This month I am offering 3 – free spots  – to 3 people for a “coffee Skype or FB Messenger video” to talk over what you feel you need to accomplish these goals. The first 3 to email me get a spot. Email me at Janis Cox.

Do You Feel Surrounded?

Today we have a post from Janet Sketchley. Very timely as I have been a little “surrounded” myself and forgot to post until now. I find God really does have a sense of humour.

Do You Feel Surrounded?

by Janet Sketchley

Help me O Lord

O LORD, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”
Psalm 3:1, NLT*

Do you ever feel this way, not about physical enemies, but about the pressures, the “stuff” of your life? About the obligations, real or perceived, that loom around you like mountains? They block the light, and it feels like they’re closing in.

I try to be organized and manage my time, but my to-do list can turn into an overwhelming monster. The details paralyze me and I get further behind.

I forget I have a Good Shepherd, and
I hear those “enemy voices” saying I’ll never make it.

Psalm 3 is a perfect prayer when we’re overwhelmed. In eight verses, it lets me articulate the problem, it focuses on God my defender and source of hope, and it cries out to God for rescue.

Do you feel surrounded? Pray Psalm 3.

Fear may whisper that God will never rescue us—or that He can’t—but He can. He will. We just need to ask Him, and to believe His word.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Tweetables:

I forget I have a Good Shepherd, and I hear those “enemy voices” saying I’ll never make it. (tweet this)

Do you feel surrounded? Pray Psalm 3. (tweet this)

Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley facebook 180x180

Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

HAVE WE GONE THE WAY OF THE ISRAELITES?

Have We Gone the Way of the Israelites?

by Jan Cox

The Adoration of the Golden Calf'

The Adoration of the Golden Calf’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every morning I have practised on my new piano. I chose a piece from our hymnary. “O God Our Help in Ages Past”. I found this very hard to play – by the way.

As I play – I sing and think.

God has watched over all our families from the beginning of time. Our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents.. and so on. He has also watched us change our allegiance from Him to other gods and idols.

Are we just like the Israelites in the desert who wanted other things to excite them?They didn’t like waiting for Moses who had gone up into the mountain to talk to God. They built a golden calf. They wanted something tangible to worship right then.

Awareness. That’s what we need. We must open our eyes and see ourselves and how we are living.

I went to a recycling centre (a drop off for everything). I could not believe the stuff – for a small town. Most of it would have ended up in the dump if the owner had not built this facility. And our Thrift Store, called the LilyAnn, is always FULL. Their motto is, “New items every day”.

Stuff!

More Stuff!

This is a good news, bad news story. At least we are reusing our “stuff”.

But WHY do we have so much to throw away?

Our ancestors kept things much longer than we do? They were CONTENT. Are we? I don’t know the answers. I am guilty as well.

Tell me your thoughts.

I am asking God to show me how I can live with more FOCUS on Him and less on stuff.

Prayer:

Father, we are in a society of the “throw-away”. Help me to find a good balance and help me to keep my foucs on You and Your people and not on STUFF. In Jesus’s name, I pray. AMEN.

My Gratitude List: Counting to 2000 – I am at 1729.

        • quiet gentle rain for our county
        • corn – so delicious at this time of year on barbecue or boiled
        • a great night’s sleep
        • hearing great happiness from all grandkids on first day of school
        • my husband and I washing our truck
        • praying with a partner
        • skills to help others
        • getting back to Bible study group
        • deer family in the the backyard (Snowball was frantic!)
        • watching God at work
        • 2 deer running past my window early in the morning
        • excited crows – then we saw the fox
        • amazing God-led meeting
        • friend who helped me clothes shop (I hate shopping!)
        • new outfits
        • having fun!
        • working on more stuffed turtles

 

Stuffed Turtles – for gift baskets

        • ability to think
        • God connections
        • great weather for community picnic

 

Such a great time at the picnic!

        • leaves are changing

 

Leaves change early in Haliburton.

        • Bocce Ball game
        • Snowball freed from her leash for almost 4 hours outside (needed a good brush later)
        • revisions almost down for Tadeo Turtle
        • new member of family – Stella – a black standard poodle (daughter’s)
        • ideas! ideas! so many in my head
        • wildflowers

 

Oh so many sweet wildflowers

 

        • worked on our garden – planted perennials (1/2 price)
        • got my business cards done
        • had 1st piano lesson in over 40 years – fun
        • practising piano – slow, steady, again and again
        • gifts to help others
        • great group of members in our Board for our community

 

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. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has completed a children’s book calledTadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator. Word Alive will be publishing this story and it will be available later this summer. See more about Tadeo at Jan’s Website.