Stuck in “ASSUME” mode

Flowering Cactus

How stressful that email was! I didn’t understand the cryptic words or message and my initial reaction was dread. The thorns of those cactus were prickling my spirit! I felt as if I was being called into the principal’s office and we know that can never be good. I could not imagine one reason I would get a communication so vague with such a seemingly dark shadow attached. I was instantly in stress mode!

As I have lived a lot of life and learned a lot of “life’s lessons”, I knew right away I was assuming… and the worst, at that. So I did some self talk and tried to find logic in the mists of my mind. No good! So I finally did what was the best thing and I shut off my mind and prayed. I laid my concerns at the feet of the Lord.

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

I soon realized I not only needed to be quiet before Him as I gave Him all my “what-ifs” but I needed to be quiet so He could speak to me. I do believe we can hear from our Lord when we ask to hear His voice. I felt Him urge my spirit, ‘Leave this with me.’ Immediately I felt my anxieties begin to ease and the wicked voices that made me imagine the worst, begin to quiet.

Within minutes of this happening I received a call from a dear friend who is also a strong believer in Jesus and I shared my experience with her. We prayed together and, not an hour later, I heard from someone who was able to clarify the cryptic message and yes, I HAD assumed something totally unrelated to reality.

I share this because this kind of challenge has happened so often in my life. Before I trusted Christ as my Savior I was doing life on my own. Something would happen and I would fall into that dark pit believing the worst and be stuck there until reality showed up. As I’ve lived life as a believer in Jesus, I’ve learned not to do that! But sometimes~ well, sometimes we just forget and get caught.

ASK HIM. ASK HIM to breathe His peace over You, to take your concerns and to manage them for you. I trust these words will encourage you when you get stuck in “assume mode”

“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.

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

…and one of my favorite “go-to” verses is – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.”  Prov 3:5, 6

When we go it alone, we mess ourselves up, Lord. We need You. Without You we flounder and often find ourselves our own worst enemy. Help ME to remember this lesson today. I pray, in Jesus’ powerful name. AMEN!

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

HOPE in Uncertain Times

How much we need You, Lord. You have promised through the ages to BE our living hope, our Rock and our Redeemer. Who else was foretold as was Jesus so many thousands of years before He was born? What other religious leader’s name, place of birth, method of execution, and plan for the ages was ever revealed and in such absolute accuracy BEFORE they occurred?

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3) “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–13). “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14

Springtime in Texas


How grieved many of us are by what appears to be the actions and plans Satan and his army of fallen spirits manifesting in our nation and our world. The darkness is swirling and encroaching, but You are our protector and our provision – our HOPE. You warned us the world around us would become more and more difficult in the end times. The statues of great leaders of our country being knocked down, murders, lawlessness, immorality, suicide, ongoing virus fears, and the mandate to change our nation into something very dark and immoral – to name but a few – have robbed us of what we knew as “normal.” Wars and rumors of wars and saber rattling is now very apparent on the horizon. None of this is a surprise to you. You warned us of these things throughout the Old Testament in Daniel, Ezekial, and Isaiah to name a few of the many. And Jesus himself told us. He came to get our attention, to point the way and in His excruciating death on our behalf, to BE the Way.

“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’

“Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me'” (Matthew 11:2–6).

I sit at Your feet this morning, Lord, and my spirit is warmed by Your great love and the protection of Your grace, mercy and power. And my heart is strengthened and renewed.
Forgive me when my desire to be a peacemaker or a voice of any kind, may be received as a clanging gong. Not everyone will agree with or like me. But Your words are trustworthy!

Help us to be Your hands and feet. Help us to stand on Your Word of Truth. We need You, Lord and YOU are the only hope for our world.

1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV
[3] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, [5] who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

WHAT IS YOUR STORY? And WHO is editing YOUR story, anyway?

Maybe you are a “partier” who loves to dress in bright colors and dance the night away. Maybe you’d rather sit quietly with a mocha and a good book. You might be the one who finds joy in making or listening to music and process life through the power of melody. It is always a relief and a joy when we can return to what gives us comfort and relaxation. Regardless of which personality you identify with, you are not able to be that person 24/7. The loves of your life find place in your day but do not own your day. Life has a way of pulling us in many different and often painful directions.

Whether you are walking in sunlight, nightlight, or ”beach light”, you do not walk alone. If your life is painful, stressful or fearful, look up. Reach up! and fall to your knees in prayer. Ask the Orchestrator of all that is, to guide you on whatever path you find yourself.
Life is a journey. And ”it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Don’t quit! Don’t lose hope! In these very different days we are living in, do not crawl down a rabbit hole and get lost in the chaos and darkness. There is Hope and direction to be found in the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, He IS. The world tells you He is not. But there is very little truth to be found in the voices clamoring for attention in our world. Consider these words written so very long ago yet filled with truth and hope for the ages:

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isa 26:3

Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6, 7

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.”    Psalms‬ ‭34:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I tried to edit the life stories of those I loved as I was a younger person. I didn’t want them to suffer harm or hurt, and if I could FIX IT, I would try to do that. Many years and much personal pain and loss later, I learned that I am not the one who can fix anything! But I know the One who can. I pray and entrust those I love to my Savior. I give what I can’t handle straight to the loving arms of God and say, ”This is YOURS, Lord. These problems are way out of my league. So I give them to You.”

Whatever season in which you find yourself today, I encourage you to trust the Lord even in your lack of faith. Even if you have never considered that faith in God can change your life, TRUST HIM. He just may change the direction of your life in ways you could never have imagined.

“…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (HIS POWER✨) that works in us,” Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I never could have dreamed I would have a platform where I might speak into YOUR life. I certainly never imagined I would paint watercolors that could appear on someone’s coffee mug or throw pillow. It was beyond any expectation that my life would have gone from such a very painful place to the birth of Prayers and Paintbrushes. But God had a plan so I just held on tight and BELIEVED HIM for what I never could have imagined.

Praying for you to find HOPE this day.