I’d like to share again these wise words with anyone who is wrestling with where they find themselves today. These thoughts were shared by my friend Betsy, from the book, “The Red Sea Rules.” Here is a summary of what the author, Robert J. Morgan, wants to remind us during challenging times: 1) God means for us to be where we are. 2) Be more concerned for God’s glory than your relief. 3) Acknowledge the enemy but keep your focus on God. 4) Pray! 5) Stay calm and confident and let God do His work. 6) Take one day and one step at a time. 7) Look for God’s surrounding presence. 8 Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. 9) View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future. 10) Praise Him.
Jesus sent the disciples into the boat knowing that they would be caught in a severe storm. He intended that they would experience God’s glory AND His presence in and through this frightening experience . Yes, there is an enemy hard at work and his victory has been one of divisiveness in every direction. But if we keep our eyes focused on the Son. and pray – hard and often, I believe we will see He has neither forgotten nor abandoned us. He is close to the broken hearted. We can trust Him. He is faithful.
I love to paint, obviously, but there are times I just need to bury myself in a book. I love mysteries, detectives, historical fiction. And I love being encouraged by a story teller who is able to draw me in as if I were watching a movie. Recommendation: if life is overwhelming you and you need a lovely escape, try reading (or rereading!) the Mitford series books by Jan Karon.
Whatever I choose to read, I continue to read the very unique book known as the Holy Bible. Holy simply means unique, set apart, sacred. Here are just some of countless reasons this book is worthy to add to your reading list: the most popular book of all time; written by over 40 authors from varying backgrounds over a time span of aproximately 1500 years; written in three different languages from different continents (and from such unique places as the desert, prison, royal courts); it is the most vetted document in history; holds the answers to life’s biggest questions; and is woven all through from Genesis to Revelation with the theme of God’s great love and redemptive plan not only for His people Israel, but His people referred to as the Church. Gotquestions.org.
In a world where truth is subjective, there IS a place where truth is available. I cling to the truth of the Bible, the Word of God. He tells us His story – HISTORY – and we find hope in times that are confusing filled with division and untruth. If you have never opened this amazing book, I encourage you to start. Ask God to reveal His truth to you and you will find HOPE and direction for your life
Every week I come to ‘this place’ asking the Lord to give me a message of encouragement, direction, and/or hope to share. I felt a strong pull on my heart many years ago to post something other than memes and political wrangling on social media. My weekly ”blog” was birthed on my Prayers and Paintbrushes Facebook page. It has been almost a year and a half that I have had an official blog on my prayersandpaintbrushes website and though one soul may read my words – or 100 – each soul is prayed over. I am retired after a lifetime of working. I never thought retirement would be a possibility and I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog let alone being a watercolor artist with well over 300 watercolors and a website! Today I feel led to share a little bit of my story hoping it might encourage you to keep on keeping on – regardless of where you find yourself today.
At the age of 60 I was living a new chapter of my life. Recently divorced and living alone for the first time ever, I never expected to marry again. Several years later without one blind date or attempt at internet matching, I did marry again – a wonderful newly widowed gentleman I had known slightly from church and my office. At the age of 65 I was a bride! A year later I found myself unexpectedly retired and after over a year of soul-searching and even trying to find work again, with my husband’s encouragement and support, I realized it was OK for me to be retired. But I am a bit of a social butterfly and I missed the daily interaction and purpose for my days.
At the invitation of a friend to a painting party, I picked up paintbrushes and wasn’t able to put them down! That single time event became a catalyst for another new chapter in my life. in 2016, Prayers and Paintbrushes was born. I have painted commission people, pets and places and prayed with each painting that I wouldn’t screw it up! That’s where “Prayers and Paintbrushes” originated. Shortly after I began sharing my artwork on Facebook I felt the urge to point to my Source of hope and direction and my writing career began.
I share this very abbreviated story to share these thoughts with you… I am in my 70’s. Much of the world looking at my age would think my life is finished – I have nothing left to contribute. But I beg to differ. Speaking for ANYONE of ANY AGE reading these words, I remind you your life isn’t over until it’s over. Regardless where you find yourself, God can use and bless you. Seek Him! ASK HIM! Invite Him in and ask Him to show up and show off in your life! He loves you. He has a plan for you even if you cannot even begin to see it. You may have one day left of your life! Some reading this may feel that is truth. Some may have have decades left – but we can only live one day at a time REGARDLESS of how many we have left. Give that day to the One who can in all things work for good – in your life and through your life.
In a very dark time many years back, God very literally spoke this verse to me:
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper YOU and not to harm you, plans to give you A hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart“ Jeremiah 29:11-13
Even when I could not see the reality of these words, I clung to them. I pounded on the gates of heaven and reminded God I was believing Him for these words to be true in my life. And he’s been faithful and true. CALL on Him. Come and PRAY to Him. SEEK Him with ALL your Heart. Believe Him even in your disbelief! FAITH doesn’t mean knowing – it means trusting.
What does God want of me, of you? He wants us to give our lives to Him and believe Him for the outcome.
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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
Whether one person hears these words I write and finds our Savior, or one hundred, I lay this effort at His feet. I seek to be used by Him with or without my paintbrushes.Please comment or message me privately if you need encouragement as you live out your story✨
My husband and I were so fortunate to spend two weeks in Colorado last month. We had a wonderful time walking, touring and bike-riding all over beautiful, charming Breckenridge for one week, then driving south through Salida (very fun and pretty) to Pagosa Springs. From there we took a touring bus to the old mining town of Silverton. There we boarded and rode the wonderful Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway back to Durango. I had never taken this trip before and it was more than I had ever imagined! Even the sounds were thrilling – listening to the clickety-clack of the heavy train over the rails, the haunting call of the train whistle, the sounds of the Animas River below. My husband, who loves me almost as much as he loves his camera, hung out the back of the train and took amazing photographs – this being one of them. So I had to paint this as a gift for him. But you can have it as well on my website by clicking on the All Aboard link above.
We don’t always get to GO some place to escape from everyday life. It was a blessing for us to have this precious time away seeing new things and having new experiences. And we are grateful! Most of the time we continue hammering on with our everyday jobs, regardless what they are. Whether we stay or wherever we go, ‘there we are’ — We cannot escape ourselves and often, we drag the worries and burdens along with us. And, in case we forget them for a few minutes, we turn on the TV or pick up the phone, and there they are again.
So, today I share wiith you a beautiful place and a different landscape. I invite you to listen to the echo of the train whistle, hear the metallic sounds of the train riding the rails, enjoy the soothing sound of the rushing river below and realize this too is part of our world – beauty and peace. Let’s celebrate the beauty all around and turn off the cacophony of dissenting voices and differing opinions for just a little bit.
Shut your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath, SEEK GOD~ Reach out to Him and grab onto His robe. Maybe you can find no words – and that is okay! “Be still and know that I AM God.I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted on theearth.” Psalm 46:10. If you are struggling with your present, with your future – or your past; if you are uncertain of where you are going and how you will get there – take a step of faith and TRUST JESUS, who came to purchase our ticket complete with a passport to Heaven.
The stamps on our passport read:
Paid in Full. Name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
For God SO LOVED the world that He sent His only Son so that whoever would believe in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. John 3:16, 17
It is not what you have done or even could do that matters. What matters is what Jesus has done for you – and His gift which cost Him everything, is a free gift. RECEIVE IT with gratitude and repentence. And you will start on a new destination.\
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