Life was going along pretty smoothly there for awhile, when suddenly and unexpectedly, alarm bells and concern poured in from several different directions practically at once. I was instantly on my default fix-it mode and my stress level was climbing. I was praying constantly, which is the best thing I can do when fixing is off the table. But it has been rough and we are still in the middle of it.
My husband took the photo from which I painted this picture, Cattle Chute, hunkering down as the rain poured over him. I asked him what the wood structure was, city girl that I am. He explained that this is how they direct the cattle to funnel them onto their path ‘to market.’ One minute they are grazing peacefully on this beautiful meadow, and the next, well, we know what’s next. So goes life. I need help in these rough patches. I pray these words from God’s Word will encourage you when it feels the hammer is about to fall. Above all, trust Him who loved you first.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. Ps. 38:15 NIV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair. 2 Cor 4: 7, 8
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Ps 5:3 NIV
Lord, we thank You for your promises and Your very Presence. Praying PSALM 46 over all who need You today in their troubled waters.
No, this isn’t a political post, thank goodness! But I absolutely feel it is thought provoking and I take no credit for the inspiration. I was reading Anne Graham Lotz, “Jesus in Me” this morning. In her chapter entitled, He Equips Us, Anne shared her personal story of how the Lord has worked in her life. I truly encourage everyone to read her book. She is authentic and honest. I found many deep and moving points of inspiration in what I was reading, so I chose to spin off what I read today. I will share a small bit of my own story but with her same emphasis
An important piece of the answer to who is running this show is the never ending battle between good and evil. Satan’s forces are very apparent especially lately. So unfortunately we have to deal with the ongoing war here on earth between Satan and man influenced by the battles in “heavenly places.” The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
But over all of this and ultimately in control of the great cosmic wars of Heaven’s armies is GOD So the question is are we going to TRUST HIM or flail along trying to do this on our own; are we going to BELIEVE HIM or work with what we think we know to be true about ourselves and the world, thus limiting what He can do through us even in our fears and frailty
Many years ago my life was difficult and very different than it is now. When I first began “reinventing myself” in the new season of my life, I would pray asking God to tell me what to do. He seemed quiet. I got no sense He was going to tell me anything! However even in my sadness and loneliness, I did have incredible peace and I realized He was giving me “just enough light for the step I was on”. As time passed I learned to lean hard in prayer, to trust, and to listen for nudges from the Lord.
As Anne pointed out in her book, where we are inadequate, God is Sufficient. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is who exactly is running the show: and it is our Heavenly Father and Lord, Jesus Christ. Several momentous life experiences came about when I listened to His still small voice whispering and nudging me in an unfamiliar direction. MY voice would say, are you kidding? His voice would sometimes be powerfully silent and sometimes would give me clear insight. I hear You, Lord. I will trust You and leave the outcome to You. And He has never failed me.
For much of my life I thought I would never be able to retire. I certainly never had a clue I would one day be at a point where I had painted well over 300 watercolors, would have a website, or would write a blog! Yet each of these circumstances were led by inspiration from the Holy Spirit who guides, directs, intercedes on our behalf and is the still, small voice we hear when we ASK Jesus to come into our lives. Coming into means bringing His spirit of forgiveness, grace, mercy and love into our everyday life – just to name a few. And when He is there with us, He changes us, empowers and comforts us. He is able to guide and direct our lives.
I am GRATEFUL for God’s incredible gift of faith to me and His gift of Himself to the world. All He asks is that we would receive His gift. Let Him run your show. Let Him guide the course of your life.
Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you do acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Prov 3:5, 6.
There is much in our world that is alarming, creating turmoil and devastation. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
So sit, breathe and talk to Him! Give Him your worries, fears and anxiety. Lay your concerns about your paths and the forks in your road at His feet. His still quiet voice will help you to make those difficult decisions one small step at a time. And He will help all of us to manage as we navigate what has become a very different and stressful world.
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10
Welcome to Fine Art America, a wonderful and very clever website for artists! I started painting watercolors about seven years ago and wondered what I could do with them. That search led me to discover FAA land and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.
Fine Art America takes jpegs of all my paintings and makes them available to you as framed prints, pillows, towels, tote bags, cards, notebooks, mugs, stickers, yoga mats, shower curtains, and MORE! I invite you to pop in and do some unique shopping. I guarantee, these are unique personalized gifts.
What do you think? Is it worth a few minutes to you to learn more maybe even for yourself? Comment if you have any questions or thoughts. Below is one of my favorite paintings of Sedona, Arizona
I invite you to stop in and maybe say HELLO by commenting on a favorite. I am a tiny plankton in a very big ocean. So having someone notice me is alway jaw dropping! Watercolor towels, totebags, cards, stickers – they’re just FUN. https://prayersandpaintbrushes.com Click on GALLERY
Christmas means different things to all of us. It can be a time of great joy or a time of great stress due to “pressures of the season.” But at the heart of it, Christmas is a joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior over 2000 years ago. Below are images that speak Christmas to me – snow covered trees, cardinals, candles, shepherds and the star, hot cocoa, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, and snow-covered chapels. Whatever speaks the season to you, I pray a breath of peace, a chorus of beauty, and a warm cup of comfort and joy over you and yours this Christmas 2021.
If this Christmas is painful for you, I am praying a supernatural touch from Jesus. There has been unimaginable illness and loss these past many months. I know many who have added grief to the colors of their holiday season. And this is never something intentionally added to anyone’s Christmas list. But for many it has shown up, uninvited and certainly unwanted.
Encourage someone who is hurting. HELP SOMEONE who could use your help. GIVE to a family or to an organization to meet tangible needs. SO many have lost so much in the recent storms! LORD, the needs of the world are beyond our comprehension. So many are grieving so much loss and suffering so much misery that it overwhelms us. But we can do something if we listen for Your nudge. Help us to be Your hands and feet especially now and in this season.
In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:35-40 He said, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” The hearers asked when had they done that and He said, 40“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
I am thinking this morning about the many people God has put in my life. Much if not most of the time, we are very caught up in what is going on in our own lives. Self-focused are we! But we were made for relationship, so most of us count those we know as an important part of the fabric of our lives. Facebook, which is often a bit intrusive, is still important to me because it gives me a window into the heart, mind and lives of some of the people I care about. It enables me to (hopefully, prayerfully) make comments to encourage rather than inflame. But Facebook certainly is not the best platform to reach those we care about.
This morning I feel the weight of concern for family and friends who are struggling. I’ve often been torn almost literally to pieces by the emotional baggage of someone else’s burdens. Can anyone relate? I’ve had to learn to ‘let go and let God’ take care of what is not mine to handle. Over time, I’ve realized that I cannot edit someone else’s life story. I cannot fix ‘their broken.’ But there are things I can do when someone I care about is hurting. I can reach out with words spoken or written. I can reach out without words by a hug or a gesture – even just an “I see you – I understand” look. I can think out of the box and ask the Lord to help me know how I might encourage them or brighten their day by doing something spontaneous or unexpected.
But I believe the best thing I can do is to pray. The very best! No, not the least or the only thing I can do. Praying is the best thing! In supernatural ways we cannot even begin to fathom, God drew us into relationship with Him and one of the outcomes of His great love impacts our relationships with one another. How AMAZING that my pitiful words to God can somehow have an impact in someone’s life! How can that be? It is certainly beyond my understanding. Some verses from the Bible which tell of the power of prayer:
“Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“God is my refuge and strength. He is an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
There are too many promises to share more here, but my prayer today is that someone reading these words will trust the Lord today to handle something burdening their spirit and grieving their heart. I pray that someone who feels unequal to the task of lightening someone else’s load – let alone carrying their own – would pray and ask God to speak encouragement and direction. I pray those who are struggling, anxious, or fearful, would hear the voice of the Lord possibly because someone else prayed over them.
Lord, we cannot fix, nor can we heal. But we know who can and who does. I pray we might lay those burdens weighing on our hearts today at Your feet. I ask You, who knows and sees all, to take care of those who desperately need a touch from You! And I ask You to lift the weight of these burdens from our collective shoulders and lay them where they belong – in Your grace-filled, loving, and powerful arms. Because there is power in Your name, we pray