Welcoming the Easter Lamb

I’m a long way past chocolate bunnies, Easter bonnets and white patent leather shoes – not to mention Easter baskets, or dying and hiding eggs. It’s all part of the family tradition and is/was certainly fun. It has its place in our families. But the real Easter recognizes the end of darkness and beginning of Light as Jesus overcame a brutal death on the cross on my behalf – on your behalf – and resurrected to LIFE.

Without the miracle of that first Easter morning and the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no need for the Church. This is the reason He came – to buy us back offering us His righteousness for our darkness and sin. His love for us is offered as a free gift requiring only that we receive it with gratitude: open hands and open heart to receive the forgiveness and grace only He can give. It costs you nothing. But to ignore it costs you everything

LIVING WATER

I pray you will find the Easter gift of the Lamb of God – God’s ultimate sacrifice of His Son – this Easter Sunday. Watch “The Chosen,” free on “The Chosen” app, and be blessed to watch His story unfold before your eyes. Regardless, the cost to you is only a prayer away. Even if your belief is small, it is enough! Ask Him and see if He isn’t faithful to His promises. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Praying for peace in our nation and in our world, trusting that He who gave us His story is faithful and will redeem that which is broken in His time. AMEN

Just Who’s Running this Show, Anyway?!

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

Glory of the Skies

PRAYERS✨ and PAINTBRUSHES🎨

The name for my “businesstry” came to me when it occurred to me that I should give my business/ministry a name. I breathed a prayer and it came to me like a whisper from God! I nodded my head and said, Thank You, Lord. I like it! And thus Prayers and Paintbrushes was born in 2015.

Surprisingly I did a lot of commission paintings in the first 3 years I was painting but lately I’ve done more small paintings as cards to bless people I care about. I decided to use my “Desert at Dusk” painting as a featured image for my blog. It reminds me of the incredible beauty of an Arizona sunset. I thought I would change things up a bit and see how it will look. Along with this desert theme, I share a couple of my other Arizona favorites below. There are MANY more in my Arizona Dreaming Collection:

The “Prayers” part of my businesstry name originally made me smile, as I’d begin a painting saying, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me screw this up!” And amazingly, I felt He has honored my requests. I learned a long time ago to trust God in everything. He is faithful in the simple things and in the hard places. Prayer to me is spending time, having a conversation, unburdening my soul, and just giving to God what I can’t handle. Sometimes I just sit with my hands open and palms up and ask the Holy Spirit to come join me. I trust the Spirit to make sense of the jumble that is my mind and bring glory to God as I worship Him.

Prayers and Paintbrushes has brought me on a journey I never could have dreamed! It is apparent to me that this was the Lord’s plan for this season of my life. And it is a heartfelt prayer that sharing my heart is as important as sharing my art. I want my life to count for eternity hopefully impacting someone else’s heart for Jesus. Faith is a GIFT and I am grateful beyond words that I know and trust Jesus as my Savior. And I pray that for you as well.

…For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Praying you find HOPE and TRUST in God’s free GIFT to you of HIMSELF. What costs you nothing cost Him everything ~ and reaps you the blessings of eternity.

Praying you find PEACE in the midst of the chaos of our world by sitting at His feet and seeking His presence.

Praying you find JESUS. Just ask Him to reveal Himself to you! Ask Him to forgive you, to give you a new life, and to go before you.

And He WILL.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. The words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 7:7.

Cheryl

Finding Purpose in Your Now

Beyond the Waves Above the Sea

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What a POWERFUL statement the prophet Isaiah made so long ago – Forget the former things – do not dwell on the past. As our Pastor Chad Moore said, we can’t move in any direction except forward. We are only able to LIVE in the present. When we are stuck looking behind us at the “if only’s” or trying to imagine the “what ifs,” we lose sight of what actually IS going on in our lives in the present. And the Lord said He is making a way of renewal and revival for us in this time. So take hold of those words of encouragement and truth and hang on for the ride!

Happy New Year to you who took the time to stop in and connect. Thank you for that gift! And I pray a blessing of renewal over you as you begin this new year. Keep your eyes and your heart open for signs that the Lord is guiding and gifting you. His blessings come in many forms. No one is exempt from His great redeeming love and matchless grace. . .regardless of what you’ve done, where you’ve been, or what’s been done to you.

Take WING in this new month/new year and seek ways you can be blessed to be a blessing to a friend or a stranger, a family member or even a FB member. 😄 Someone needs something you have that likely costs nothing to give that may completely turn their day or even life around. Help us Lord, to be Your hands and feet in this chaotic and often discouraging world. Truth CAN be found in You and Your Word. And that is where I seek my direction.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭139:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s Beginning to Look A LOT Like Christmas🎄

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.

If this is you, my heart aches for you this holiday season. I pray the story of the Nativity would remind you how very much you are loved: “unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

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, 40I 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!’

LOVE ONE ANOTHER