I Will Lift Up My Eyes

I live in the Grand Canyon state. Most people living anywhere in the world can identify this breathtaking piece of real estate. If you are standing at the rim, you will look down and across and as many times as you may have seen it in photographs, your mind can barely grasp the awe of what lies before you. If you make the significant effort to hike down to the bottom you will most definitely be looking up, possibly seeing the same place but from an entirely different perspective. Your perpective matters.

My heart hurts over the tangles and knots of this past year. Many people we love, trust and respect are separated from us by distance or by opinion. FEAR seems to be the word of 2020/21. I propose we replace the word fear with these words:

Giving and Blessing

One of God’s greatest gifts is the gift of giving. “It is better to give than to receive.” These words are attributed to Jesus in Acts 20:35 when Paul said, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

This has been a hard concept that has taken a lifetime of learning for me! In one of the most amazing verses in the Bible God says this: “Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” Malachi‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭RSV‬‬ Test me in this, God says. This is not prosperity gospel. This is God saying I have made the world to operate this way. Obey me and see if I do not bless you in return.

There were times in my life I had absolutely nothing to give but the gift of encouragement. It cost nothing other than paying attention to and investing in relationships with others. There is joy in giving our time in service to needs in our community and in obedience to His calling and nudges on our heart. And we can seek to be more intentional in ways that will bless people who are really struggling. So many are emotionally wounded and hiding behind doors and masks desperately hoping to find their real life return to them! So where we are now and in whatever place we feel confident to stand, I pray we would test God in this, and reach out to others as we are able in obedience to His direction. We cannot take any of it with us: time, talent, or treasure. Help us be blessed to be a blessing, Jesus.

Lord, we most desperately would love to see our world as you see it! Your perspective is so much higher than ours. We see through a glass darkly, as Paul says. In these days where so many of us are weary and discouraged, I pray You would help us to look UP!

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.” Psalms‬ ‭121:1-8‬ ‭RSV‬‬

So as You give to us Your protection and Your watchcare, Lord, I pray You would enable us to be wise and to seek Your leading that we might spread JOY and HOPE in these days. Help us to see as You see and love as You love. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness, and that You reached down and offered us the incredible GIFT of YOURSELF in Jesus.

We give You this day, Lord, in Jesus’ name. AMEN

WHAT Do You Want God to Do for You?

I love the author and pastor, Mark Batterson, of National Community Church in Washington, DC. One of his recent books is called “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God.” It is wonderful and thought provoking reminding us of the many ways we can know God is speaking to us. Obviously, the first place is in His Word, the Bible. A blind man called out to Jesus from the side of the road. Jesus asked Him what seems an obvious question in Luke 18:41

”What do you want me to do for you?”

Mark Batterson said: “We’re out of touch with what we really want. If we don’t know what we want, how are we going to know when we get it? Maybe it’s time to take inventory. What do you want God to do for you? You owe it to Him to answer that question.”

Mark went on to say, “We let the expectations of others override the desires God has put in our hearts.” (pg 92 “Whisper”) Just think about that statement for a minute… Is there something you’ve always had as a secret desire deep in your heart that you have stuffed away?

Let’s each look deep within today sifting through all the COVID clutter to find our one and only true life. This is our now, our gift of breath – our present. We don’t get to do this over. What is a deep longing that You can bring to Jesus’ feet and ask Him to bless and prosper? Are you hiding from a calling because you are afraid of failure? Do you long for a good friend but have fears about their condemnation or disapproval? Do you have something you have always wanted to do or be?

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

Watercolor and writing have always been a secret desire for me. Hidden away in notebooks and closets for a lifetime, I strove to meet the expectations and needs of others oblivious to what God had placed in my heart…until I heard His call and knew it was His time.

What place in your heart aches to be filled? In James 4:2b James says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Those are pretty powerful words… I encourage you to ask Him to clear away the cobwebs and clutter around you and dust off your passions. Go before God and ASK Him for what is deep within You.
It is too easy to fill those empty spaces with very wrong things: eating too much, falling into depression, unwise choices. None of us are strangers to these things…So I pray honesty, vulnerability, WISDOM and TRUST in this process.

One of my favorite promises of Scripture is Psalm 37:4. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

What is your heart’s desire today? Are you lonely, frustrated, fearful, hiding? Is there a secret part of you that wants to poke your head out and shine? ASK Him. TRUST Him. BELIEVE Him. Because He sees you as you sit by the road. He only wants to know from your heart, what it is you need from Him. And maybe more than anything, you need Jesus Himself.

Thinking About What I’m Thinking About…

Heading Home

Yesterday morning I read something on Facebook that created a shower of conflicting emotions. Where I had been before at ease, I was abruptly in a different time reliving painful feelings. As I thought about how these words made me feel, I was struck by how powerfully emotions can affect our lives. They are not “reality” as much as they are possibly a previous reality – but they can change our present if we let them. I had to have a heart to heart with my head and instruct it to straighten up and fly right. Think about what you’re thinking about, Cheryl!

Later in the evening a remarkable event occurred which brought me unexpected joy, but also enabled me to give unexpected blessing to someone I love. I experienced the profound impact of emotions and this time it was from a place of JOY. I relived how happy it made me to surprise and gift someone who matters so much to me all through the night into this morning!

I chose to share the painting, ‘Heading Home.’ This solitary bird battles strong wind currents and must continue to powerfully pound its wings regardless of how it may be feeling. There is a goal in sight and that must be its mission to stay focused on the task. The apostle Paul said in Phil 4:8, “…whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise – think about these things.” Also in Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

We are encouraged to renew our minds. To think about what we are thinking about. Don’t let your thoughts or emotions drag you into a dark place. Be careful what you focus on and what information you feed your heart. These days it is easy to feel we are sinking in the chaos and disinformation swirling powerfully against our peace of mind. FOCUS. Look up.

If you like my art and my posts, please consider visiting my gallery

“Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you do acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.“ Prov 3:5, 6

Living Water

We need You, Lord, every hour. Precious God and Savior, we come to Thee🎶


Blessed to be a blessing

Java and Muffin Haus

Last night my husband and I watched “The Chosen Christmas Special.” The talented director, Dallas Jenkins, made a comment that really stuck with my husband and me and I knew I wanted to share these words. Read them until they sink in…

“It’s not your job to feed the 5000. It’s only to provide the loaves and the fish.”

This powerful statement is a reference to the event in Matthew 14:16-21 where Jesus fed over 5000 very hungry people when presented with only five loaves of bread and two fish. He took the miniscule offering that was provided and did “…immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work…” (Ephesians 3:20). Jesus took a small gift offered from man and manifested an incredible miracle that only God could do.

“It’s not my job to feed 5000. It’s only to provide loaves and fish.” Wow! It’s not my job! I’m not able to fix the things or people I’m concerned about. I don’t need to shoulder the burden of how circumstances will all turn out. Neither the outcome nor their response is mine to stress over. I have a responsibility to present a gift of time, resources, or in a package wrapped with holiday paper and the Lord takes over from there. This is so freeing! I can’t fix homelessness, world hunger, my family member’s depression or job loss, fears about illness, or concerns about our world at large. But I will ask the Lord to do what I cannot do especially with my small gift. He will be our provision and I will pray, “Loaves and fishes, Lord!”

Bounty in a Basket

Lord, the needs in our families, communities, and the world are great. We feel so unequal to the task of blessing those around us whose emotional, physical or spiritual needs overwhelm us. We lay the weight of these burdens at Your feet, Lord. We entrust healing, protection, and provision to You. But I ask that You would take our gifts, such as they are – to the homeless, the missionary far from home, our community, our family members – given out of our very finite love and compassion, and shower Heavenly blessing from Your hand. That we might look up see Your glory at work around us.

Good News of great Joy

We absolutely love and highly recommend watching “The Chosen” as it is an amazing and inspiring mini-series on the life of Christ and his disciples. The first season is available to watch free on YouTube or on their free The Chosen app. Give yourself a Christmas gift and watch!

Shining the Light

Sometimes we are lucky to read something that changes everything for us! These words were that for me and were written by renowned Bible teacher, Beth Moore. If you would value a new perspective today, I share these with you. I felt these were powerful words of HOPE for today, for this week, this month, for this life! 

“We do not grasp the power of prayer because we have made it all about getting answers rather than having the unspeakable privilege of access by the torn veil of Christ’s own flesh to the Lord God Omnipotent who reigns without equal, without hindrance over every atom of existence. If you’re in Christ, you have all-access to approach the One who actually IS in charge. 

Who actually cannot lie. 

Who actually cannot mislead. 

Who actually has all knowledge. 

Who actually commands all time.

Who actually knows your name.

Who actually knows your need.

Make haste. No one – not the tenderest child nor the feeblest adult – is powerless who prays in the name of Jesus.”

Lord, these are such inside/out upside down days. We always face an uncertain future, but these days we find ourselves in circa 2020 are challenging for everyone everywhere! Thank You for loving us so much and granting us access to Your very presence. You know my need and the desires of my heart even before the thoughts are formed. Today we sit with You at Your feet, Lord. Quiet before You, listening for Your nudging, desperately seeking Your peace and entrusting all that weighs heavy on our hearts and minds to the ONLY One who can ever do anything about it. Praying in the unimaginable power of Your Name.

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