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Psalm 103Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
Psalm 103:4 (NKJV)

Dear Friends,

Today I want to encourage you to mark up your Bible!  I know, it’s hard to write in books if you’ve been taught all your life not to.  Ever get in trouble for coloring in a library book with a crayon?  Well, this isn’t a library book, it’s YOUR Bible!  It’s God’s Word to teach and instruct you (2 Timothy 3:16).  And, if you took classes in college, you likely marked up your textbook with a highlighter.

Sometimes I’ll write in my Bible when a pastor is giving a sermon.  I’ll underline key verses and write notes in the margin, reminding me of the message.  Other times I’ll underline verses during my TEA time with Jesus, those that really speak to me that day.  I’ve been reading the same Bible for years, and there are still new verses that jump out at me for underlining almost every day.

When I underline verses, I like to code them with the letters of My TEA CUPP Prayers acronym, so I can use them in prayer later.  I’ll label them T for Thanks, E for Exalt, A for Admit, C for Call, U for Understand, P for Promises, and Pet for Petitions.  Often there will be several verses all on the same page.  Psalm 103 is one of those places where I found my whole TEA CUPP.  I’d like to share it with you today:

T is for Thanksgiving
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits.
Psalm 103:2 (NKJV)


E is for Exalting
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 103:22 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting
 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:3 (NKJV)

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

C is for Call
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Psalm 103:1 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children.
Psalm 103:17 (NKJV)

P is for Promises
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:5 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Psalm 103:20 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Pick a Psalm today, perhaps Psalm 103.  With pen in hand, underline your favorite verses.  Label the verses how you might use them in prayer with Jesus.  Then, pray your underlined verses as conversation starters when you meet with the Lord.

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


heart

I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.  Psalm 3:4 (NKJV)

It’s okay to share your heart with God. When things are going wrong, do you ever feel like you can’t complain or tell the Lord how you really feel? You can.  The Bible gives us clear examples of God’s people sharing their hearts with Him.

Let’s look at Moses.  In Exodus 32, Moses spent 40 days fasting on the mountain with God.  When he came back down to the people, Moses found them in all kinds of trouble. God wanted to blot the Israelites off the planet.   But Moses pleaded with God…

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. Exodus 32:11-14 (NKJV)

First Moses asked God, why?  Then he reminded Him of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And guess what?  God relented from the harm He had planned!  Isn’t that amazing?!  All because Moses prayed and shared His heart with God.

Let’s look at another example from the New Testament.  Jesus was so busy healing and teaching God’s people, that He didn’t have much extra time.  Then into His tiring schedule came a Gentile woman, begging for healing for her daughter.

 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:21-28

This was a Gentile woman, not even one of the Israelites, who believed that Jesus had the power to save her daughter.  She was not discouraged by the disciples.  She was not discouraged when Jesus said He was sent for Israel.  Instead, she worshiped Jesus and begged for His help.  And when Jesus still questioned her, the woman had a ready reply, that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.  What awesome faith!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Share your heart with Jesus.  As you have your tea time today, read God’s Word and let Him speak first, then use a Psalm or the words of this Gentile lady, to plead your case with the Lord. And may Jesus say to you, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)

I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble. Psalm 142:2 (NKJV)

 

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


hospital11Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.  Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

I was lying on the narrow table in the Nuclear Science department at the Bozeman Hospital.  Of all the tests I’d had in the past half year, this one took the longest.  The kind technician explained it was a little boring, waiting for my gallbladder to appear on the screen and I could take a nap if I wanted.  Whatever chemical he had injected was slowly making its way to my gallbladder so it would become visible.  I wasn’t surprised when after 90 minutes it still hadn’t appeared.  This organ had been eluding doctors for months, why would it come forward now?  Perhaps I didn’t even have one!  But finally, after sending me for two walks and letting me chew sugar-free gum, my shy gallbladder showed up enough to allow him to complete the test.

While lying there, I prayed my favorite verse from this ordeal, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed, save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14) And I contemplated all that had brought me to this point.  It began over a year before with daily nausea.  When I had a root canal in January 2016, I thought the nausea would quit, but it continued.  Then in March when I was running, I had a mysterious pain below my right rib cage. I kept running and doing all my usual mom activities.  I even became a grandma in April and had a wonderful visit with my new granddaughter in May.  For almost a week, I was “super-grandma,” running, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and holding our sweet baby so her mommy could take a shower. Then I came home.

Reality hit when I walked in the door in early June and promptly threw up.  A week later I was having tea with friends and had to rush to the restroom where I was sick again.  Soon I found that if I had food in my stomach, I could keep the nausea at bay.  A handful of nuts every hour or two seemed to do the trick.

My first thought was I must be pregnant, which seemed like a jolly blessing for a new grandma turning 50.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  The doctors did an ultrasound of all my organs and said they were fine.  My daughter was having emergency gallbladder surgery, so they looked closely at my gallbladder. The technician pressed the wand into my right side so hard I cried out in pain.  She asked surprised, “Does this hurt?”

I replied, “Yes, doesn’t that hurt for everyone?”  Then she continued pressing for another 15 minutes, only to have the tests come back normal. But the pain in my right side persisted.  For those who have experienced pregnancy, it felt like a little foot pushing on my rib cage. Sometimes if felt like I’d pulled a muscle in my side from mopping. Always, it hurt.

Over the next several months, I had blood tests, ultrasounds, GI exams, CT scan, X-rays, and a bone scan. Every test came back negative.  With each doctor appointment, I prayed, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed.”  I dutifully went for the next test they recommended.  Each time it came back negative.  The doctors began to get tired of me.  I began to wonder if I was crazy.  But at night when I was lying in my bed, with a great pain in my right side, I knew I wasn’t crazy.

My symptoms continued. Besides the nausea and pain in my right side, I had a tight chest and shortness of  breath.  I could run four miles, but lifting my arms to brush my hair or walking from the kitchen to the laundry room would leave me breathless.  In July, I quit running as I didn’t have much energy for it anymore.  In September, I quit most of my work.

The foods I could eat were also diminishing.  Way back in 2010 I had started eating gluten-free and felt better for awhile. In 2013 I went dairy-free and again felt better for awhile.  But this year I couldn’t digest other foods.  A slice of gluten-free bread or a bowl of gluten-free oats would hurt for a day.  But the GI tests showed everything was normal.  By the end of my illness, I was eating banana/kale smoothies for breakfast, jello salad and celery, and highly refined gluten-free foods, such as pretzels.  My beverages consisted of ginger tea and coke, both helped with the nausea and the caffeine eased the pain. I still had my handfuls of nuts to avoid nausea and give me energy, but had to give those up due to pain, too.

In October, doctors finally decided my chest and rib pains were from costochondritis, an inflammation under the rib cage.  I started taking large doses of ibuprofen to reduce swelling.  Four days later I was in the emergency room with a terrible pain that started above my left shoulder blade, extended down the top of my left arm and around to my chest.  They did all the usual heart tests which were negative, gave me a toradol shot which did nothing and sent me home.  The next day they put my on prednisone, thinking it might be polymyalgia and referred me to a rheumatologist.

It’s interesting how the various doctors each picked their favorite symptom and went with that in my diagnosis and care.  The general practitioner was interested in my heart.  The OB-Gyn doctor thought it was changing hormones. The GI doctor felt my pain was from irritable bowel syndrome after a round of Prilosec didn’t help.  The rheumatologist first suspected bone disease.  Even though they all knew my pain was located right at the gallbladder.  If only one of them had said, “Even though your ultrasound didn’t show anything, let’s explore this area more…”

Of all the health care professionals I had, the wisest were the non-standard ones.  One day in October I went with my husband to his chiropractor to ask if it was possible I’d had a rib out all this time.  He checked me over and said no, I did not.  He was very concerned about the pain under might right rib and encouraged me to keep my appointment with a rheumatologist. He said since I was taking prednisone, I shouldn’t have any pain if it was from inflammation.  He didn’t do any adjusting and didn’t even charge me for his consultation.

The rheumatologist referred me to a physical therapist when the bone scan came back negative.  He thought some core strengthening would help me.  The physical therapist did an excellent job of checking me and pinpointing where my pain was coming from in the center of my back. Then he pulled out a text book to show me a diagram of referred pain from organs. The gallbladder defers pain right to the center of the back!

One day our neighbors stopped by to check on me and suggested I get a HIDA scan for my gallbladder.  Right away I emailed my GI doctor and requested the scan.  I remembered the rheumatologist had mentioned that as a possibility, too.  So, here I was finally having the HIDA scan, 5 months after my first doctor visit.  That very night I heard from the GI doctor.  It was my gallbladder!  It was only functioning at 8%.  A surgeon would be contacting me.

The day I found out I needed my gallbladder out I was so happy. After months of no answers, I finally had the correct diagnosis!  I went to bed so thankful, only to wake up a few hours later in dire pain, realizing my gallbladder wasn’t out yet!

The surgeon was all booked up until mid-December 2016, but there was a cancellation, so I got in earlier.  He was sure that I would feel better after surgery, but he wouldn’t be able to do it until December 12.  With almost three weeks to wait, I didn’t know if I’d make it.  Friends must have been praying, because I didn’t feel too bad the first week of waiting, but the last week was awful.  The back and arm pain I had in October returned full strength.  It was excruciating, but I didn’t want to go to the ER where they couldn’t help. The only thing that would help was to take out my gallbladder.

December 12, 2016, I headed to surgery, again praying Jeremiah 17:14, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved, for You are my praise.” I also claimed God’s promise in Psalm 118:17, “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

Surgery went beautifully, according to the surgeon.  As soon as I awoke from the anesthesia, I noticed the phantom pains in my back and left arm were gone!  Oh, what joy!  However, my right side still hurt because I had four incisions in my abdomen.  As the wounds healed, my pain subsided.  The first week after surgery was the worst, as my body tried to expel the CO2 used to inflate me during surgery.  But after a week, I felt like a human again, and after six weeks I was able to go for daily walks again.  I am disappointed to note that my nausea and chest pains are lingering, and I had a few complications.  I’m also having trouble figuring out what foods to eat, so I don’t get a stomach ache. My mother-in-law mentioned that some of her pains stayed for up to six months after surgery.  So, I’m prayerful that soon they will all disappear, and Jesus will heal me completely.

The prayers of so many people carried me through this ordeal.  I want to encourage you as a prayer friend, that your prayers really do matter!  The first prayer was when I called Samaritan Ministries, our health sharing organization, to report a need.  The fellow who took my information recognized my distress and called on Jesus for healing.  In August 2016, a visiting pastor came to our church and offered to pray for people after the service.  My husband took me up and the pastor, not knowing my ailment, prayed for my complete healing.  Finally, there were the prayers of all the Samaritan Ministry friends who sent checks to help pay the doctor bills.  I especially liked the comment written by one, “My husband and I stand in agreement for your complete healing.”  And that is the promise I claim to this day.

Signs you should have your gallbladder checked:

  • You eat Tums like they are candy.
  • You have daily nausea.
  • You are turning yellow.
  • There are certain foods you avoid that you used to enjoy.
  • Your digestion changes so that you are either highly constipated or running to the bathroom too often.
  • You have a sharp or constant pain under your right rib cage.
  • You have tightness in your chest and shortness of breath.
  • You have back pain that may extend down your arm.
  • Your pains are not improved with heating pads, pain killers, steroids, or shots.
  • Your pain keeps you awake at night.
  • You are fatigued and need extra caffeine to get going each day.
  • You have multiple, unexplained symptoms.
  • You just feel bad and the doctors can’t figure out why.

Be prayerful and persistent.  If you’re not happy with your doctor, ask friends to recommend another doctor. Be sure to ask for the HIDA scan if the ultrasound is inconclusive. If you’d like to learn more about Samaritan Ministries for help with doctor bills, please check out this website.  It’s a really neat organization. Each month they send our family a name.  We pray for that person and send them a card and a check to help with their doctor bills.  This time it was our time to be on the receiving end.  It really works as Samaritan Ministries helped us with over $30,000 in doctor bills.  Praise, Jesus!

P.S.  I just want to say also, God bless the nurses!  You do a wonderful job taking care of us when we are in so much pain. God bless Sarah, Bunny, and Ali!!!

 

 

 

 

 


j0155

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV)

My TEA CUPP friends,

Some of you might just be getting started with prayer, or perhaps you want a fresh way to communicate with God. So today I want to share a few more ways you can use the TEA CUPP.

The basic idea is to meet each day with Jesus, the King of kings, for TEA.  As you share your TEA CUPP with Jesus, you use His Word as conversation starters and the TEA CUPP acronym to remind you of things to talk about:

T = Thanksgiving
E = Exalting
A = Admitting
C = Calling
U = Understanding my story
P = Promises (Claiming God’s)
P = Petitions (Pouring out my heart to the Lord)

At various times I’ve sipped my TEA with Jesus in different ways.  My favorite method is to do it all every morning before my family wakes up.  There is always something to be thankful for, praise Jesus for, some sin needing forgiveness, etc.

After the birth of a child, or during a long illness, when time was short or I just didn’t feel well, I prayed one part for each day of the week (Sunday – Thanks, Monday – Exalt, Tuesday – Admit, etc.).  Then I would still pray my petitions each day, too.

Another way to sip the TEA CUPP might work well for busy moms and working ladies.  This method is to sandwich your day in prayer.  Try having TEA in the morning when you first wake up and the CUPP at night right before you go to bed.  Soon, you will be talking to Jesus throughout the whole day!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember, there is no “magic” method for prayer.  This is just a way that works for me, and God put it on my heart to share it with you.  Jesus is knocking, will you invite Him in for TEA?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

p.s.  For examples of prayer verses to use for conversation starters, please check out these recent links:

Revelation Verses

James Verses

Isaiah Verses

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


prayThen men began to call on the name of the LordGenesis 4:26b (NKJV)

Every new year I begin reading my Bible all over again.  The excitement of Jesus reigning in Revelations during December is replaced with the beginning of the world in Genesis during my January readings.

I follow the history of creation and the birth of mankind.  I cringe as Adam and Eve give in to the serpent in the garden,  hiding from God in the bushes. I imagine how hard it must have been to be the first parents with boys fighting and one kills the other (Cain and Abel).  I rejoice when God gives Adam and Eve another son, Seth, to heal their hurting hearts.

And then I come across this amazing verse:  “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.”  (Genesis 4:26b).  Adam and Eve already spoke to God when they were hiding in the garden.  Cain also talked back to God when he questioned, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Genesis 4:9). Yet at this point, people began lifting their pleas to Him. They were calling on the name of the Lord.

I wonder what those early prayers were like?  We’re they frantic yells, “Help me, God!”  We’re they more poetic like the Psalmists in the Old Testament, who poured out their hearts along with their cries?  Just this morning I was reading one of those Psalms, Psalm 17, and it gave me just the right words to cry out to Jesus:

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.  Psalm 17:1-2 (NKJV)

Another favorite cry of my heart is…

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)

Aren’t you glad that people began calling on the Name of the Lord so long ago, leaving us God’s Word as an example so we can call on Him, too?  We can share our hurting hearts and happy moments and anything we want with Jesus.  He is always there to listen.  Thank you, dear God, for your invention of PRAYER!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  When did prayer begin for you? Thank God for that moment when you first heard His voice and answered Him.  Give Jesus the glory for the prayers He has answered in your life.   prayer_kid

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
 

christmasrevelations And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4 (NKJV)

I love this time of year when I’m at the end of my Bible, soaking up the Book of Revelation. As children are anticipating Christmas, I’m reading about and anticipating Christ’s second coming, the return of Jesus.  Though I need the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel and Mary’s blessed response to God’s call, I also yearn to spend my December tea time sipping the book of Revelation.

So, I invite you to join me for My Christmas Revelation TEA.  You could sip the entire CUPP on Christmas Eve as you prepare for your family gathering.  You could sip one part of the CUPP each day between Christmas and New Year’s Day in preparation for a blessed new year.  Or, you might even pray these prayers as a way to greet the new year in January.  However you share your tea time with Jesus, you will be blessed.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Let us all prepare out hearts for coming of our Lord.  Today I give you a few verses for a Revelation TEA CUPP. You may find more verses to underline in your Bible that you enjoy praying, too. Use these verses as conversation starters as you chat with Jesus each day over a CUPP of TEA.

T is for Thanksgiving
We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. Revelation 11:17 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting
 You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)

Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested. Revelation 15:3-4 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting
 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:5 (NKJV)

C is for Call
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:11 (NJKV)

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.  Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding
I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Revelation 3:8 (NKJV)

P is for Promises
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)

For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17 (NKJV)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions
He who testifies to these things says,“Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:20-21 (NKJV)


morning-starAnd I will give him the morning star. Revelation 2:28 (NKJV)

The morning star…I see it almost every morning over the barn behind our house.  I curl up on the sofa by the window, sipping my Jesus tea and reading God’s Word.  Glancing outside I smile at the sky, talking to the Lord.  And there, above the barn, twinkling back at me, is the brightest morning star! Then, soon after, the sky lightens, the day dawns, and I view the mountains beyond Montana fields.

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  2 Peter 1:19 (NKJV)

One morning in my usual quiet time spot, I was studying this verse from 2 Peter 1:19 about reading the Bible.  Peter explains God’s Word is a light that shines in a dark place.  How this world needs His light!  We all must keep digging into His Word and shining His light to others.  And someday, Jesus will come and we won’t need the lights in the sky anymore.  For He will be our dawning light and His Morning Star will shine in our hearts.  Though we celebrate now the advent before Christmas, we are always in the season of advent, preparing for Christ’s second coming.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Of all the presents that could come your way this Christmas, my prayer for you, My TEA CUPP friend, is the gift of His light in your heart.  Sit by a window in the early morning hours, as you read your Bible, and invite Jesus to be the center of your advent season, your Christmas holiday, and your life.

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

 


christmaspresent1 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

With the coming of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping, how good it is to remember that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights!  Let us thank Him for these marvelous gifts, and put aside all else.

Today I give you “Tea Time with James” to ring in the Thanksgiving and Advent season.  James is another book with incredible verses.  You may like to read James yourself and underline more verses for your prayer time. Take some time to sip TEA with Jesus, thanking Him for His gifts, and sharing your joys, sorrows, sins, and celebrations.  Use these verses as conversation starters for your prayers. Be blessed, My TEA CUPP friend…

T is for Thanksgiving

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights... James 1:17 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

…the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10 (NKJV)

C is for Call 

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you... James 4:8 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  May your prayers be effective and fervent and avail much for God’s kingdom today!  Happy Thanksgiving and Advent season!

 

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


flood3For this is like the waters of Noah to Me… Isaiah 54:9 (NKJV)

The images swim through my head, like flood waters swirling around a plugged drain — Noah’s arc, cute animals, faithful Noah, rainbows…then muddy waters, soggy furniture, ruined books and memories…then stain glass windows, angelic babies in white gowns, and the blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As these pictures splash against the insides of my head, I try to form connections and make sense of them all.

In early September, my Sunday school preschoolers colored cute clothespin animals to remind them of Noah’s arc.  Last year we made rainbow crafts, and the year before we constructed an arc around the table with brown paper grocery bags.  Somehow, Noah is always a fun story, and we don’t think about what washed away in the water.

Two days after our Noah’s arc lesson, I was driving home and saw a beautiful double rainbow, from one end to the other.  In Montana, Big Sky Country, we often see the whole rainbow.  I was reminded of God’s promise to never flood the world again, and His many other Bible promises — like Jesus is coming back!

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. Isaiah 43:1-2(NKJV)

But four days after our Noah’s arc lesson, a real flood came to my parent’s home in Ames, Iowa — the same home they’ve lived in over half a century.  Their finished basement with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and cupboards, packed with favorite novels, puzzles, and family memorabilia, was deluged in hurricane fashion.  In a matter of minutes, water burst through the windows, filling the basement to the ceiling! flood

My parents do not live near an ocean, nor near a river, nor on a flood plain.  In the 51 years they’ve lived in their house, only a few inches of rain have ever flooded, and that was if the sump pump quit working.  The sump pump didn’t have a chance this time.

What caused such a terrible flood?  It was an incredible disaster that should never have happened. The main factor was the new school up the block.  A year ago Fellows School was re-built in the playing field behind the old elementary school my siblings and I attended.  Over the summer, the old school and parking lot were torn down.  By September they had the new parking lot poured, perhaps even graded the new play areas, but nothing had been seeded yet.  So, with no greenery to slow run-off, the sewer drain full of silt and debris from the construction, and five inches of rain over the night of September 22nd into the 23rd, the tragedy occurred.

My siblings worked heroicly to clean up the disaster, rescuing anything that could be salvaged, hauling, power washing, scrubbing, sanitizing, painting, rebuilding… It is starting to look like a basement again, minus the books and photos that were so dear to my parents.  Yet out of this disaster came a miracle.

The day of the flood, my dad who has had cancer for a few years now, was not well enough to have his chemo treatment. His white blood cell count was too low.  In the summer when I visited, he had trouble maneuvering from the living room to the kitchen with his walker.  Today he is climbing down to the basement and up to his office on the second floor a dozen times each day, taking measurements, ordering a new door, arranging his tools, often forgetting his cane or walker. He is a new man with a project.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

flood2On our way to visit my parents and see how we could help, we were blessed to attend the baptism of our first grandchild in Waterford, Wisconsin.  Her baptism was held at the most beautiful Catholic church I have ever seen.  Stain glass windows of the saints surround the sanctuary bathed in daylight.  A lovely tiled baptismal font that could compete with any city square fountain, marks the entrance to the worship area.  It was there that the priest baptized our precious Kennedy Grace in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, claiming her as God’s child.

Whether we are baptized as babies or believers, we all must make the personal choice for salvation in Jesus Christ.  It is in choosing Jesus that we are given new life.  We are washed clean from our sins and filled with the Holy Spirit. We are new creations.  As baptism symbolizes death, the coming out of the water symbolizes rising again to eternal life. I’m reminded of the Prayer of St. Francis which concludes, “It is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Our granddaughter’s baptism is the beginning of her new life in Christ Jesus.  My parents’ flood gave new life and health to my dad.  And Noah’s flood brought a second chance and rebirth to our fallen world. Above all, out of the waters rises our victorious Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

-Prayer of St. Francis

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 


2x8nIt’s a delightful day when I sit down to read my BIBLE, and the section I’m reading has all the verses I need for my TEA time with Jesus. It’s such a blessing to underline my favorite verses and then pray them back to Jesus, while pouring out my heart to Him. I THANK Him for His many blessings, I EXALT Him as my Savior, I ADMIT my sins and ask His forgiveness, I listen for His CALL, I UNDERSTAND my story, I claim God’s PROMISES, and I lay before the Lord my PETITIONS, all using God’s Word.

Isaiah promises, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
Wow! That’s an amazing promise for praying BIBLE verses! God’s purposes will be achieved!

And Isaiah also proclaims, “The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)
God’s Word is forever! So when we pray God’s Word, we are praying forever prayers. Now that is awesome.

And so today I give you TEA TIME with ISAIAH. It was inspiring to pick the verses, because there are so many good ones. I challenge you to read Isaiah with pen in hand and underline even more verses for your prayers. You will have a very precious TEA CUPP with your Savior.

T is for Thanksgiving
O LORD, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful things; (thank You, Lord, for these wonderful things…)
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory! Isaiah 6:3 (NKJV)

… And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)

C is for Call 
“You are My witnesses,” says the LORD,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.” Isaiah 43:10 (NJKV)

U is for Understanding
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hand. Isaiah 49:16(NKJV)

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”  Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)

P is for Promises
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions
Then I said, “Lord, how long?” Isaiah 6:11 (NKJV)

O LORD, be gracious to us;
We have waited for You.
Be our arm every morning,
Our salvation also in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2 (NKJV)

Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see...Isaiah 37:17 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Use the above verses for a special TEA TIME with Jesus today. Read the book of Isaiah over the next several days, underlining even more verses and promises. Thank the Lord for His Word.

It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24(NKJV)

He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 30:19 (NKJV)

… For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isaiah 56:7 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.