Are you an Ocean or a Mountain Person?

Everyone seems to be drawn to one or the other. I suppose there are some of us who are drawn to the desert as well (who would have ever thought), but usually when you take off for parts unknown it is to the beaches or to the high places.

Here are some of my paintings from my Gallery entitled Ocean Breezes

Arizona does have mountains so I share some of these with you as well. I invite you to take a look at some more of my Arizona Dreaming gallery.

Praying for you as you start this new year! Believe good things for your life, step out in faith, trust the Lord and seek after the direction that tugs on your heart.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

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

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