For Those You Have Given Me, Lord~

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

in Jesus’ name. AMEN✨

Happy 245th Birthday USofA

The Color Guard

Obviously, I did not paint this picture. But what a wonderful 4th of July I shared with my husband and our family! After 18 or so months of discouraging words, masks, and social distancing, it was a joy to see countless patriotic Americans celebrating the anniversary of our freedom with big smiles on their faces! Kids waved florescent wrist bands and tiny flags, lawn chairs and picnic baskets dotted the grassy park, and thousands of people filled Veteran’s Memorial Park in the southern Arizona town of Sierra Vista for an impressive display of fireworks. The evening opened up with the color guard and a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner followed by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with members from Fort Huachuca’s military firing off howitzer canons. Don’t miss it if you’re in the neighborhood next year.

America, we pray for you. The Land of the free and the Home of the brave doesn’t seem so free or brave any longer. But You have promised us that You hear us when we pray, so we pray your words back to you, lifting our government and civic leaders before You, and praying Your blessing and healing on our nation..

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Prov 11:14

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Prov 14:34

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14

GOD BLESS AMERICAwritten by Irving Berlin

God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.





Cheryl
Https://prayersandpaintbrushes.com

Make me an instrument of Thy peace, Lord

Heading Home

Lord, I want to be a light in the darkness; a beacon that draws a weary sojourner to a Rock of safety and Hope. There is no shortage of places to go to find “news.” (That word has taken on a whole different meaning these days.) There is certainly very little encouragement to be found and no shortage of Bad News to send us into a tailspin. So I hope to be something different: a voice with a prayer and a paintbrush, directing eyes and thoughts away from “News” and back to Hope.

“Heading Home” is my 1st painting of 2021. I wonder what it speaks to you…

We in Arizona have some of the highest virus numbers in the world right now, I believe. God help us~ So I’m hunkering down a bit more trying to keep the “COVID glitter” from having another body to infect or spread even further, as my daughter so cleverly puts it. My BLOG is an attempt to reach out – to you! I need people in my life so this is another way around the pinch of the pandemic to spread encouragement rather than infection. To share the powerful truth of the love and presence of God, even in the midst of the chaos all around. God is still on His throne! He is not surprised or alarmed! He still has His arms open to provide comfort and forgiveness, healing and peace. And I throw in a little watercolor to comfort your eyes as well~

“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

”When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. Ps 8:3-5

Forgive me where I fall short, Lord. I need Your hands to lift me from discouragement to where I should be in Your presence. Help me love and forgive, to understand to intercede, and to be a Light of Your love. And I lift up our nation this day, praying for Your hand of grace over a broken and dispirited country as we inaugurate our President tomorrow. Praying in the powerful name of Jesus, Lord. AMEN

From where I sit~

These are important days we have been given to live: they are challenging, stressful, maybe even unprecedented. But it is for such a time as this that we find ourselves living. It seems everyone has an opinion, is taking a side, is pulling away from someone who disagrees, or is speaking in self-righteous whispers behind their fingers (or their mask) about someone else with whom they disagree. What a sad way to live! I pray we might instead seek to Shine His Light from wherever each of us find ourselves.  We all have a circle of influence in this world. Let’s be solution seekers, relationship builders, wound healers – Prayer Warriors!

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for ALL people. Ask God to HELP them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.”‭ ‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:1-4

‬ ‭Lord, from my window seat today, I pray we would seek unity of heart and mind. Starting first with me, I pray You will forgive me as I’ve run after information and engaged in conversations that end up frustrating me. I pray we might understand even in some small way, that our prayers MATTER: that they make a difference in heavenly places as well as here in the trenches. Help us to trust that, even in our uncertainty and lack of faith, YOU empower our prayers and can change our world as we come and bow before You. We need You. We ask You to forgive us for the wrongs we have done with our words or from our silence; from our behavior choices or by our angry inner dialogues. We struggle here, Lord and we need you. It is not what we need from You, Lord. It is You we need.