Janis Cox, Tell us a little bit about your church background. How did you come to faith in Jesus?
Raised in a denominational church I was baptized as a baby and as a child attended Sunday School, and belonged to youth church groups. However while in university I stopped attending services. My husband and I were married in a church and returned to attendance when our son was born. For the next few years I faithfully joined groups, helped with Sunday school and even did the treasurer’s job for a couple of years. But through all this something was missing. There was no passion; no understanding of Jesus. I just did everything out of habit.
Around 1999 God led me to a different church where I came to know Christ and gave my life to him in 2001. My quest to find Jesus led me to read many Christian books and join in Bible studies. God fueled my love for reading and opened a brand new life for me.
When did your interest in writing start? Can you look back and see God working through and with you in your desire to write. If so, explain your thoughts.
As a student I always did well in writing essays. I took a BA in English in university and actually enjoyed writing reports on what I studied.
I am a former public school teacher. I have written reports, report cards, planned workshops and created poems for bedtimes stories. But I had never written in a journal. Starting a journal was the best writing exercise I could have done. From 2001 until the present I write almost every day. During the first 2 years of being a new Christian I wrote 150 poems to help me interact with God, ask questions and find answers from His Word.
How and when do you spend time with God? Do you have a favourite devotional? What version of Bible do you use the most?
I spend the first hour or two in the morning with God – in prayer and in study. I have read through Oswald Chambers at least 3 times. Now I am studying Charles Spurgeon and A.W. Tozer. I use the NIV text as I find that the easiest to understand. However, I use Biblegateway to find other translations. I very much like The Message.
What is your favourite scripture or scriptures and why? What is your thinking about memorizing Scripture? Do you have any tips for our readers on ways to memorize that work the best for you?
My two favourite scriptures are: Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Since I had such a fear when I met Jesus this is the scripture He gave to me. It is the first scripture I memorized. Now instead of fear I have peace. Thank you Jesus.
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
I struggled at the beginning of my faith walk to understand the Bible. Now that I know His Word better I know Who Jesus is and I can see God’s plan. While I read the Bible I become better connected to Jesus.
Memorizing scripture makes it come alive to me. I love recalling a verse when I need to encourage someone. I love to paint what I see in verses. I write out the scriptures on cards and when I dry my hair I review the verses.
As a writer, time is important; quiet is important. How do you find that quiet time to reflect and write?
Thankfully I am retired now. I have such a passion and respect for moms who faithfully find time to read His Word. When I visit my grandkids I don’t seem to have the same discipline that I do when at my own home. At home I arise early – usually between 5-6am. That gives me 2 hours to pray and study before my husband awakes.
What new project/s are you working on? Why do they seem important to you?
I am working on many projects. That’s one problem with a mind that likes to go in different directions. This year I joined Hope Stream Radio and I prepare and tape a weekly podcast. I blog 2 or 3 times a week on Growing Through God’s Word. I’m beginning my publishing venture for my second children’s book called The Kingdom of Thrim. This year God led me to use my creative abilities to not only paint in books but paint in my Bible. I run a Facebook Group called Word of God Speak Community Facebook Group where we study and attempt to memorize a scripture a week through art. In addition I am working on adult colouring books with a Bible study and journaling. In the works, too, is a second in the Tadeo Turtle series.
These activities are very important to me because I believe all Christians should be reading their Bibles regularly. In the colouring books I help the reader to study a passage and reflect on it through writing and praying. I believe if we study His Word we will hear His Voice. My children’s books are made for children to Grow with God too.
Are you compelled to write or do you need to find inspiration? How do you deal with interruptions?
I am compelled to write after reading the Bible or a devotional. That’s how I am inspired. I see the picture in my mind before it becomes words on the page. I’m interested in so many things that I do become scattered in knowing how to focus on one thing at a time. So interruptions can really pull me off course. I am best left alone to write, no music, no phone, no Internet.
Do you have hobbies, or sports that you are interested in? What is it about these activities that you like? Looking at your personality are these activities ones that God has brought to you?
I have trouble sitting still unless I am writing. For that reason I love to tap dance and also attend community dances with my hubby. I also love to walk and we do at least 2 walks a day with our little Maltipoo dog, Snowball. I love art. My favourite media is watercolour although I have started to work with watercolour pencil crayons lately. And I can say “yes” God brought these activities to me because I didn’t do them seriously before I gave my life to Christ.
What is one important lesson that Jesus is teaching or has taught you that has changed your worldview, your outlook, and/or your relationships?
Jesus has taught me to control my anger. I have found a peace that I did not have before. I needed to be in control – of my life and everyone else’s. I felt compelled to fix, help and control everyone around me. If that didn’t happen, I became angry. Fear of everything ruled my life until I learned I had nothing to fear. Love casts out all fear. And I found the love of Christ. This new peace changed my relationship with my husband. Instead of trying to change him, I changed myself.
What is one deep desire that you would like God to fulfill for you? What Scripture could you find that could help you accomplish that goal?
I would like other Christians to join me to make reading the Bible a first priority. I would like to spread this as far as I can. God wants us to know Him. And to me that means we have to read, study and pray for revelation. I can see revival if we would turn to Him by reading and studying and obeying His Word.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:115).
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Lord my heart is towards You. I desire for You to be first and foremost in my days. I want to ask You for everything. I want to rely on You for everything. But I also want to work hard to spread Your Word to others so they can know the peace and love that only You can bring into their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Tweet “Lord my heart is towards You. I desire for You to be first and foremost in my days.”]
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