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

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The “Prayers” part of my businesstry name originally made me smile, as I’d begin a painting saying, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me screw this up!”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

SORROW and UNCERTAINTY😳

I have several dear friends and family members who have been broadsided by life in the last several months. Unimagined events seem to have stolen their future hopes, robbed them of their health, and taken lives of loved ones. We seem to have come face to face with realities in our personal lives for which we really weren’t prepared. In addition, the status of our world and the rumors of war have us staring in disbelief at a new normal that grows darker and more unsettling by the day. We don’t recognize our lives or the world in which we live.

Where do we find solid ground when all that we thought we know seems lost? How do we face and process the battles that demand our attention and where do we find encouragement to continue on? The best place I know to find courage and hope to deal with difficulty is in the words of the Bible.

Jesus’ infamous disciple, Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. …” 1 Peter 5:6, 7. Due time. Sometimes due time is going to take awhile. But in the midst of your pain, give Jesus your fears, stress, and anxiety because He CARES and will be close to you.

Jesus cares about what we care about. He came from the Father to live among us and be tempted as we are. He was hated, betrayed, mocked, ridiculed, savagely beaten, and then nailed to a cross – He KNEW how hard his human life would be, but He chose to come to provide a way out: SALVATION in the power of His name. By trusting in His sacrifice on our behalf. By acknowledging He is our only hope. And believing in what only He can do. We have access to His peace and our eternity with Him.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬

Lord, we are in a world that can at times be stressful and heart-breaking. We need your love, mercy, grace and very presence to help us just to stay on our feet and keep breathing. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You. There is much we will never understand about life. There is much we despair of as we live in these difficult times. Yet we trust that this was known from the beginning and You have us in the palm of your hands. I pray those who do not know You, would SEEK You. I pray You would reveal Yourself to them. And for those of us who love You but are hurting by the storms all around, I pray Your mercy and grace, in the power of Jesus’ name.

Thankful and Grateful

Butterfly Moment

I am thankful for you. Yes, for you! Writing and painting are both solitary undertakings and I cannot do this with any expectations of result. So I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to those who have followed me on this journey and let you know how much your encouragement means to me. Your presence in this moment means a lot to me. May the Lord truly bless you.

We are in a season of thanksgiving and yet the reality of giving thanks gets lost in the recipes, the cooking, the parties, and the Event itself. I would like to get very personal and share public and heartfelt praises to our Lord who allowed me to know, love and trust Him. SO many don’t even believe He exists, let alone that He cares deeply about what they care about. I am humbled that You allowed me to not only know You, but to love and trust You. I realize this is a truly invaluable gift, and I am eternally grateful. I thank You, Lord, for my life. I had many years that were very painful, yet even in the most difficult of trials, You were always as close as a prayer. I am now in a season of great joy and blessing. We know from Ecclesiastes that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. I THANK YOU, LORD for Your presence in my life — for my husband, our family, our church, and our many beloved friends. We are blessed beyond measure.

Sarah Young in her wonderful book, “Jesus Calling,” says “Hallelujahs” are the language of Heaven. What a beautiful song a Hallelujah can be as the angels of heaven sing along! 🎶. I invite you to be still in this moment. Find your hallelujah and sing it to Your Heavenly Father – even if you are unsure of the words. He knows your heart.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25,26

Give Us This Day

When Life Gets Hard

God won’t give you more than you can handle…” Odd, I can’t seem to find that verse in the Bible. I’m guessing Job would take exception to that cliche. So would Joseph. Paul certainly did. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself…” II Corinthians 1:8 Why would God allow him to experience hurt more than he could handle? Read on. “…so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” II Corinthians 1:9 Truth? Cancer is more than you can handle. So is infidelity. So is caregiving. So is rejection. So is death and loss and grief and prodigal children and 101 other life struggles. God doesn’t expect YOU to handle it. He expects you to hand it over to HIM. He doesn’t want you relying on your strength, but on His. If we keep walking around thinking “God won’t give me more than I can handle,” we’re setting ourselves up for heavenly disappointment. Good news? He beckons for your burdens, “Cast your cares upon Me…” I Peter 5:7 You will never know relief until you do. For this hard place, I have Jesus! –courageouslivingbooks.com

I take no credit for the powerful words written above. But these words really resonated with me so I saved them. The only credit I could find appears as Courageous Living Books, so I gratefully acknowledge them for this message. When I first read this a few years back I was struck by the many cliches we tell ourselves. The writer of these words referred back to some seriously impressive heroes of the faith to point out that no, we cannot always handle what life throws at us. We were never created to be that self-sufficient. We need Jesus! He is our hope, our Rock and Redeemer. Our hope lies not in ourselves but in the God who is always waiting to carry our burdens and set our feet on solid ground. The Apostle Paul said, ”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. We are the jars of clay, but the power to make it through comes as we reach up to God in prayer seeking His power and His presence to help us through, often one painful step at a time.

I paint a lot of paths, probably because one of my favorite Bible verses (maybe one of yours as well) comes from Proverbs 3:5, 6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Thank you, King Solomon, for your wisdom that resounds through the ages. I may not know what lies in the distant future or even what decisions I may face tomorrow, but I acknowledge the One who knows all things. And it is to Him I entrust the outcome.

Lord, this world is often very hard! We are discouraged at every turn it seems. We truly want to do this life WELL and receive that powerful word from You at the end of our life, ”Well done, good and faithful Servant!” So we acknowledge we struggle and admit we wrestle with fear and uncertainty. We confess we are often faithless — but You, O Lord, are eternally faithful. We have no strength or wisdom in ourselves, but You promise not only wisdom, but your strength and power, if only we’ll ask it of You. So we ASK, Lord! Help us to REMEMBER and to RELY on You when the going gets hard. We can’t do life without You.

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even

youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:28-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬