Happy 245th Birthday USofA

The Color Guard

Obviously, I did not paint this picture. But what a wonderful 4th of July I shared with my husband and our family! After 18 or so months of discouraging words, masks, and social distancing, it was a joy to see countless patriotic Americans celebrating the anniversary of our freedom with big smiles on their faces! Kids waved florescent wrist bands and tiny flags, lawn chairs and picnic baskets dotted the grassy park, and thousands of people filled Veteran’s Memorial Park in the southern Arizona town of Sierra Vista for an impressive display of fireworks. The evening opened up with the color guard and a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner followed by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with members from Fort Huachuca’s military firing off howitzer canons. Don’t miss it if you’re in the neighborhood next year.

America, we pray for you. The Land of the free and the Home of the brave doesn’t seem so free or brave any longer. But You have promised us that You hear us when we pray, so we pray your words back to you, lifting our government and civic leaders before You, and praying Your blessing and healing on our nation..

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Prov 11:14

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Prov 14:34

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14

GOD BLESS AMERICAwritten by Irving Berlin

God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.





Cheryl
Https://prayersandpaintbrushes.com

I Will Lift Up My Eyes

I live in the Grand Canyon state. Most people living anywhere in the world can identify this breathtaking piece of real estate. If you are standing at the rim, you will look down and across and as many times as you may have seen it in photographs, your mind can barely grasp the awe of what lies before you. If you make the significant effort to hike down to the bottom you will most definitely be looking up, possibly seeing the same place but from an entirely different perspective. Your perpective matters.

My heart hurts over the tangles and knots of this past year. Many people we love, trust and respect are separated from us by distance or by opinion. FEAR seems to be the word of 2020/21. I propose we replace the word fear with these words:

Giving and Blessing

One of God’s greatest gifts is the gift of giving. “It is better to give than to receive.” These words are attributed to Jesus in Acts 20:35 when Paul said, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

This has been a hard concept that has taken a lifetime of learning for me! In one of the most amazing verses in the Bible God says this: “Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” Malachi‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭RSV‬‬ Test me in this, God says. This is not prosperity gospel. This is God saying I have made the world to operate this way. Obey me and see if I do not bless you in return.

There were times in my life I had absolutely nothing to give but the gift of encouragement. It cost nothing other than paying attention to and investing in relationships with others. There is joy in giving our time in service to needs in our community and in obedience to His calling and nudges on our heart. And we can seek to be more intentional in ways that will bless people who are really struggling. So many are emotionally wounded and hiding behind doors and masks desperately hoping to find their real life return to them! So where we are now and in whatever place we feel confident to stand, I pray we would test God in this, and reach out to others as we are able in obedience to His direction. We cannot take any of it with us: time, talent, or treasure. Help us be blessed to be a blessing, Jesus.

Lord, we most desperately would love to see our world as you see it! Your perspective is so much higher than ours. We see through a glass darkly, as Paul says. In these days where so many of us are weary and discouraged, I pray You would help us to look UP!

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.” Psalms‬ ‭121:1-8‬ ‭RSV‬‬

So as You give to us Your protection and Your watchcare, Lord, I pray You would enable us to be wise and to seek Your leading that we might spread JOY and HOPE in these days. Help us to see as You see and love as You love. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness, and that You reached down and offered us the incredible GIFT of YOURSELF in Jesus.

We give You this day, Lord, in Jesus’ name. AMEN