Out of Prison

…he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison… Acts 12:17 (NKJV)

The cell was cold.  The walls were gray. The paint was peeling. The treatment was harsh. The privacy was nonexistent.  The despair was real.  It was a prison.

How many of us find ourselves in such a place?  For some, it is a real prison from our wrong choices, for others, it is a real prison from persecution.  Yet for most of us, it is a prison with imaginary bars that trap us from the outside world, bound by fears, addictions, unforgiveness…  What is the name of your prison?

My friend, today we’re going to lead you out of that prison into the marvelous light of Jesus.  There is an amazing story in the book of Acts about Peter escaping from prison.  It is so amazing that even Peter didn’t believe it was happening to him.

Peter was one of those in a real prison because of persecution.  King Herod had just beheaded his friend James and now he was preparing to do the same for Peter.  Herod put Peter in prison with FOUR squads of soldiers (Acts 12:4).    While Peter was there the church was praying constantly (Acts 10:5).

Now here, dear sisters,  is where you must remember the power of prayer.  Those prayers of the early church were heard by God and He sent His Angel to rescue Peter!

This was no sweet angel singing anthems.  This Angel of the Lord flooded Peter’s jail cell with bright light and struck Peter on the side. Then He pulled Peter up, saying, “Arise quickly!”  And off they went, past the first and second guard posts, past the iron gates, and out into the city.  Finally, the Angel disappeared and Peter found himself at the home of his friend John Mark.

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me Acts 12:11 (NKJV)

At John Mark’s home, the church people had been praying so hard for Peter. But when Peter showed up at the gate they didn’t believe it!  How is that for not believing God can answer our prayers.  Isn’t He amazing?  God does answer all our prayers. Jesus does rescue us from our prisons.  The Holy Spirit does carry us forth in victory.

I know, because I’ve been in various prisons over the years.  One was in college before Jesus saved me.  I was in such grief over losing my cross country team and coaches in a plane crash that I turned to food for comfort. This became an eating disorder called bulimia.  There seemed to be no cure.  One time I went to a gathering to help people with eating disorders and discovered four of my surviving teammates were also there.  We had all dealt with the tragedy the same way.  Some addictions you can choose to avoid, like smoking or drinking, but with an eating disorder, you have to keep eating.  The only One who can rescue you from this prison is Jesus Christ. And He did.  When I gave my life to Him, the eating binges disappeared and I was free!

A newer version of the hymn Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin has the chorus, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free…”  That’s how it is when Jesus leads us out of the prison into His marvelous light.  The enemy wants to keep us behind bars, but Jesus has the victory. Come, my friend, let the Angel of the Lord escort you out of your prison today.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear TEA friend, whatever you are facing today, in whatever prison you find yourself, turn to Jesus. Read the miraculous story of Peter’s prison escape in Acts 12:5-17.  Imagine the Angel of the Lord shining His bright light upon you and saying, “Arise quickly.”  And the Angel leads you out of your prison, past all the guards to the home of praying friends.  And you are free!

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (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)

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 (NKJV)

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

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers…Coming Soon!

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters…
Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

I’m so excited about my new book that I just have to tell you about it today!  Coming this fall, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers!  In this companion to My TEA CUPP Prayers, I share devotions for moms to draw you into a daily TEA time with Jesus, blessing your children and homes for all eternity.  Please join me in praising Jesus for His faithfulness, taking another prayer and making it a miracle.  Here’s a tidbit from the back cover:

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and a cup of tea.  The TEA CUPP is an acronym for parts of prayer, as we pour out our hearts to the Lord.  God’s Word is the basis for Thanksgiving, Exalting, Admitting, Calling, Understanding, claiming God’s Promises, and Petitioning.

Jennifer Grace takes every day examples of being a mom and relates them to God’s truth in His Word.  Jennifer Grace is a wife, mom, grandma, runner, scrapbooker, prayer warrior, but most of all, God’s daughter.  Through the joys and sorrows of life, she finds lessons in faith, weaving it together with God’s Word.

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers calls another generation of moms to the foot of the cross in prayer.  A lady who sits with Jesus each morning for tea will honor the Father, glorify the Son, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, impact her husband, children, neighborhood, community and world.

Come quench your thirsty soul!

To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. 
Jude 25 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you’d like a taste of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers and you missed some of these devotions this spring, check out my Bible Mom series.  These Bible moms will encourage you in your walk with Jesus.

Thanksgiving with Sarah

Exalting with Mary

Admitting with Eve

Calling with Samson’s Mom

Understanding with Ruth

Promises with the Shunammite

Petitioning with Hannah

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

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

How to Get Started with your Jesus 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)

So you’ve been wanting to get started with a TEA time with Jesus, but aren’t quite sure how to do it?  Today’s devotion is for you! 

First of all, let’s praise the Lord!  You have heard God’s call and accepted His invitation to come!  That is fantastic! 

The best way to make it happen is to organize your TEA time ahead of time so that the enemy doesn’t slip in and distract you.

So, TODAY, pick your Jesus spot.  This is the place in your house where you will have TEA with Jesus each day.  Set it up with your Bible, a journal or notebook, and some pens.  I also have a devotional book, prayer shawl, calendar, and an old hymnal.  But you will find out what you need and add it as you pray over the years. Be sure to tell your family, “This is my Jesus spot! When you see me sitting here, I’m having TEA with Jesus.  So please wait until I’m finished to talk to me.”

Also, TODAY, set your alarm for an hour early for tomorrow morning.  Leave it set an hour early every day!

TOMORROW, when your alarm goes off, jump out of bed, greet the day and say, Good morning, Jesus, let’s have TEA!”  Don’t check your phone or computer or TV or let anything distract you. Heat your tea kettle, pour yourself a steaming cup, and sit down in your Jesus spot. 

Open your Bible and let Jesus speak to you first through His Word.  I like to pray a little prayer before reading, such as Psalm 119:18…Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.  If you aren’t sure where to read in your Bible, begin with the book of John, reading a few chapters each day. Then read the Psalms and then Genesis.  Or you might try a Bible reading plan to help you read the whole Bible in a year.  I follow the plan found in Our Daily Bread.

As you are reading your Bible, have your pen handy to underline favorite verses that God shows you.  These verses you can use later as conversation starters for prayer, to write in a card to encourage a friend, or to put on a note card on your bathroom mirror to memorize!

When you finish your Bible reading time, pull out your prayer journal or notebook and write down one of the verses that really spoke to you.  Then pray and/or write your prayers to Jesus about that verse.  Let your prayers flow from your heart to the throne of God!

The beautiful part of the TEA CUPP invitation is that it is more than just an invitation to sit down and have TEA with Jesus, it’s also an acronym for things you can talk about when you pray.  The “T” is for THANKSGIVING where we thank God for His many blessings. The “E” is for EXALTING where we lift up and praise the name of Jesus. The “A” is for ADMITTING where we admit our sins and ask Jesus’ forgiveness.  The “C” is for God’s CALLING where we talk to God about what He is calling us to do today or with our lives. The “U” is for UNDERSTANDING our stories so we can share our testimonies with others. The first “P” is for PROMISES where we claim a promise to carry us through the day. And the last “P” is for PETITIONS where we pour our hearts out to Jesus for everyone on our prayer lists. 

Over the years the Lord showed me how I could use the different verses I have underlined for different parts of prayer.  So in my Bible, I have put the letters “T-E-A-C-U-P-Pet” next to many of the underlined verses.  When I want to tell God thank you, I just find a “T” verse and get started praying. 

Another neat thing about the TEA CUPP acronym is that there are seven parts, just as there are seven days in a week. So, you could do one part each day of the week, or you could do them all in one day, or you could just pray as God gives you verses each day. 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Follow today’s devotion to set up your Jesus spot and get started in prayer. After your TEA time with Jesus, arrange your Jesus spot again so it is ready for tomorrow.  Welcome, dear friend, to the best TEA party of all!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

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

Bible Mom: Hannah’s Petition

“…I…have poured out my soul before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:15 (NKJV)

This is the last in our series of Bible Moms…Hannah’s Petition.

Do you know the story of the Prophet Samuel?  He has two books named after him in the Old Testament.  The story of how he came to serve the Lord and be a prophet is really quite remarkable…and it all began with the prayers of his mom Hannah.

Poor Hannah was one of the two wives of a man named Elkanah.  His other wife, Peninnah, had children, but Hannah had no children.  This made Hannah very sad.  Every year they would go to Shiloh to worship the Lord, but Hannah was too sad even to eat.  In fact, her soul was so bitter that she prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.  Hannah even promised the Lord, that if He gave her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.

Finally, the Lord remembered Hannah and blessed her with a son.  She named him Samuel, because she had asked for him from the Lord.  For three years Hannah nursed and cared for her precious baby. Then, because of her vow, she brought Samuel to the priest Eli in Shiloh and gave her boy to him to serve the Lord all his days. 

Hannah told Eli, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:26-27 (NKJV)

Each year, Hannah brought Samuel a new robe to wear.  The priest Eli blessed her because of her gift of her son.  And the Lord visited Hannah and gave her three more sons and two daughters, while Samuel grew to be a great prophet for Israel.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel 1-3 today.  I love how God used the prayers of this Bible Mom to turn His people back to Him.  Never underestimate the power of your prayers.  Use your prayer time today to pour your heart out to the Lord as Hannah did so long ago.  This is what the “P” for Petitions is all about. 

“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:17 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Elisha’s Promise to the Shunammite

Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” 2 Kings 4:16

Our Bibles are full of promises.  According to Bibleinfo.com there are 3573 promises!  That’s a lot of promises!  When we read God’s Word each day we can discover these promises, underline them, pray about them, and claim them for our own.  That’s what the first “P” of the TEA CUPP is all about: Claiming God’s Promises.

But I have to tell you a story, a story about me claiming a promise that was for someone else, one that is probably not included in the 3573 Bible promises that are for everyone. 

When our second child was born, God put the desire in my heart for more children while I was still in the hospital holding our new born baby boy!  But this was a problem because my husband and I had talked about only having two children.  I wasn’t a prayer warrior then, but before our son turned one, I was reading a One Year Bible and learning how to pray.  Six years later I was still reading the One Year Bible when I came across this story of the Shunammite woman.

Though she doesn’t have a name, this lady lived in the town of Shunem.  She was a notable woman who was able to provide food and lodging for the prophet Elisha.  Every time Elisha came to town he would stay with her.  So Elisha wanted to bless the Shunammite woman and her husband in a special way. 

Now you must understand, I’d been reading my One Year Bible every day for six years.  I had read this story several times before. But this year a particular verse jumped out at me.  When Elisha told the Shunammite woman, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”  I underlined the verse and claimed it as a promise for me.  And guess what, exactly nine months later God gave us our son Kevin Jon.  All praise be to God!

In the following years when I was reading my Bible, I would come to that promise and wonder if I could claim it again, wish I could claim it again, not sure if it would be greedy to claim the Shunammite’s promise more than once…but eventually I did claim it, over and over, and finally, after 11-1/2 years,  God gave us another son.  I’m sure the Shunammite mom had no idea someone would be borrowing her promise thousands of years later!

Today’s TEA CUPP: God’s Word is packed with promises for us to discover and claim…promises of peace and perfection and provision, promises of hope and help and heaven.  As you read your Bible today, look for God’s promises, underline them, put a letter “P” next to them, and claim them for your own.  Tell Jesus, “I claim this promise!” Here are a few to get you started…

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NKJV)

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  John 14:13 (NKJV)

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  John 10:28 (NKJV)

p.s.  And next week, our Kevin Jon, who is now 19 years old, leaves on his second international mission trip, this time to the Philippines.  And so I claim this promise for Kevin and his team…

For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10 (NKJV)

She was the great-grandmother of King David, the grandmother of Jesse, the mother of Obed, the wife of Boaz, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a Moabite, a God-seeker, and the only Bible mom to have a book of the Bible named for her.  Who was this great lady?  Ruth.

I can’t think of anyone more worthy to highlight  the “U” part of our TEA CUPP than this marvelous Bible mom.  “U” is for “Understanding our stories,” and here is Ruth’s amazing story in these four short Old Testament chapters.  When we understand our stories, how God is at work in our lives, how Jesus saved us, we can share this testimony with others.  And that’s what our Bibles let us do with Ruth, giving us a glimpse into the life of a godly mom.

How did Ruth end up in Bethlehem?  It all happened in the days of the Judges when God’s people kept turning away from Him.  God sent a famine on the land, so a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi and his two sons moved to Moab.  The two sons married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth.  Well, Elimelech died and his two sons died, so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.  She told her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab with their families and remarry.  But Ruth wouldn’t hear of it.  She proclaimed:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Back in Bethlehem, Naomi was very sad for she had gone away “full” with a husband and two sons, and had returned “empty.”  But she actually wasn’t empty, for she had a wonderful daughter-in-law, Ruth, who was willing to work hard in the fields and do whatever Naomi said.  A relative named Boaz noticed Ruth’s dedication, blessing her with these words:

The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. Ruth 2:12 (NKJV)

You will have to read for yourself the courtship and traditions that allowed Ruth to become the wife of this gentleman Boaz.  And once they were married, the Lord blessed them with a son…

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the amazing story of Ruth is Ruth 1-4 today. My friend, your story is found in scripture, too!  Whether you have many children like Leah, prayed long for children like Rachel, or are barren like Elizabeth until she was old, you can find a mom like you in scripture.  Your salvation story is here, too, whether you learned early to sit at the feet of Jesus, as did Martha’s sister Mary, or if you had five husbands like the Samaritan woman, you will find a kindred soul, and you will find out how much Jesus loves you!  What lady from the Bible do you relate to today?  Talk to Jesus about her in your prayers.  With whom can you share your story?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Samson’s Mom’s Calling

…but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)

God calls us to do so many things as moms. We are called to respect our husbands. We are called to bring up our children in the training and admonition of the Lord. We are called to take care of our homes. But I don’t know if any of us have had a calling quite like Samson’s mom.

First let’s look up these callings for us all:

  • …and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV)
  • Train up a child in the way he should go,
    And when he is old he will not depart from it.
    Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
  • She watches over the ways of her household,
    And does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Proverbs 31:27 (NKJV)

Next let’s discover the story of Samson’s mom in Judges 13. An Angel of the Lord visited a lady from the tribe of Dan and declared to her:

“…Please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” Judges 13:4-5

Did you catch that bonus list for Samson’s mom?

  • Don’t drink wine or similar drink.
  • Don’t eat anything unclean.
  • Don’t cut his hair.

Numbers 6 gives even more details of what it means to be a Nazirite, set apart to God. He also could eat no grapes or raisins, nor touch a dead body. Samson was to be kept holy for the Lord.

Well, if you read the entire story of Samson through Judges 16, you find out Samson did not keep himself holy, but his mom had done her part in bringing him up as the Angel instructed her.

Can you imagine having such an instruction list? Some moms do have a list given to them by doctors. Kids these days may have allergies to milk, eggs, soy, nuts, etc. Moms teach their kids with allergies to avoid those foods. How all the more do we need to heed God’s Word when He calls us to do something!

That’s what the “C” part of MY TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, talking to God about our CALLING. It may be what He is calling us to do today, such as visit a neighbor or teach our kids a Bible verse. Or it may be what He is calling us to do with our lives, whether that is to be a godly wife and mom or build cities like Sheerah, the daughter of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:24)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the fascinating true story of Samson and his mom in Judges 13-16. Recall the instructions the Angel gave to Samson’s mom. What instructions has God given you as you raise your kids? Write what He’s calling you to do in your prayer journal and ask Jesus to help you. Go get ’em, Bible mom!

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

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

Bible Mom: Admitting with Eve

…she took of its fruit and ate… Genesis 3:6

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20

Oh, Eve, why did you do it?

Oh, Eve, why did you listen to the serpent?

Oh, Eve, why did you even talk to that rascal the devil?

Oh, Eve, why did you look at the tree and then stretch out your hand?

Oh, Eve, why did you pluck the fruit and take a bite?

Oh, Eve, why did you give some to Adam?  And Adam, why didn’t you throw that fruit on the ground and be a strong spiritual leader for your family, asking God to forgive Eve?

Oh, Eve, why did you hide from God in the garden, didn’t you know He always see you?

Oh, Eve, why did you blame the serpent instead of admitting your sin?

Oh, Eve, how did you feel when God told you that in pain you would bring forth children?  Do you know a lot of moms would like to talk to you about that!

Oh, Eve, were your first clothes scratchy and heavy?  Weren’t you sad that God killed some of your animal friends to make those clothes?  That was the very first time blood was shed for sins.

Oh, Eve, did you hear in God’s curse on the serpent a promise?  (Genesis 3:15) From your Seed God will send a Savior to bruise the serpent Satan’s head!

Oh, Eve, how did you feel when God kicked you and Adam out of His beautiful garden and put cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the gate?

Of Eve, do you know how much all your daughters are just like you?  We all need the Savior from your Seed, Jesus, who shed His blood once for all and crushed the serpent’s head. 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the whole story of Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3. What forbidden fruit have you been eating? What sin do you need to cast off?  This is what the “A” part of the TEA CUPP is all about, admitting our sins to Jesus and asking for His forgiveness.  By using God’s Word to admit our sins, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. For some wonderful Bible verses to pray, please check out “I’m Clean!”

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. Matthew 5:30

Bible Mom: Exalting with Mary

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Luke 1:46-67

We all love Mary.  You know, Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus from your Christmas nativity scene?  Yes, there are many Marys in the Bible, but none is as special as this young lady whom God chose to be the mother of His Son Jesus.  Mary was so obedient when the angel came with the news, that she replied, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

After receiving the angel’s announcement, Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also miraculously pregnant in her old age with the special baby John the Baptist.  When Mary walked in the door, the baby John leapt inside Elizabeth’s womb for joy that his Savior had come.  What better story is there than this for life beginning in the womb! 

And it was there in Elizabeth’s house that Mary shared her praise to God.  Known as Mary’s song, she sang…

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Luke 1:46-55

Mary’s Song inspires me to pray…

O Jesus, Your dear mother Mary had words to praise You when You were just a tiny baby in her womb.

She magnified You and rejoiced in You. 

She knew You were God and Savior.

She Knew You were the One who does great things and sends us all blessings.

She knew You are holy and merciful and we should come to You in fear and respect.

And she knew You are forever, from generation to generation.

Mary proclaimed all this and EXALTED You with her cousin Elizabeth as they were both expecting miraculous babies. 

May all the world magnify You, Jesus, as did Mary! 

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the wonderful story of Mary in Luke 1:26-56. Isn’t it amazing how she praised the Lord so beautifully with this little life inside of her?  Can we do the same? Can we lift up and EXALT the name of Jesus each day as moms?  That’s what the “E” part of the TEA CUPP is all about, EXALTING the Lord.  This week as you read your Bible, be on the lookout for verses to praise Jesus.  Another Bible mom, Hannah, the mother of Samuel prayed this one…

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2

Bible Mom: If Sarah gave Thanks…

And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6

Sarah laughed. She didn’t cry. She didn’t say, “That’s crazy!” She didn’t immediately rejoice in thanks and praise to God. Sarah laughed.

Do you remember the story of Sarah?  We meet her early on in our Bibles, right in the book of Genesis.  Her name really began as Sarai, meaning “my princess,” and Abraham’s name was Abrahm. Sarai was a very beautiful lady, so beautiful that Abraham told kings she was his sister to protect himself.  She actually was his sister, but only a half-sister. 

Sarai had an interesting life as God called Abrahm to move.  She became accustomed to living in tents and honored Abrahm’s wishes when he requested her silence.  Sarai did have one fault: She didn’t trust God to provide her with a child, so she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham.  Hagar conceived and bore a son name Ishmael, but He wasn’t God’s chosen heir.  Sarai then abused Hagar and Ishmael because she wanted a child (Genesis 16).

Finally, God looked with favor on the elderly couple, sending an angel to announce a baby.  Abrahm was given the new name Abraham, and Sarai was given the name Sarah, meaning “princess.”  She would no longer be just Abraham’s princess, but the mother of many!  When the baby announcement came, Sarah was hiding in the tent.  Since she was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17) and thought she’d never have a baby, she laughed at the news (Genesis 18:12).  And so her baby was given the name Isaac which means laughter. 

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11 (NKJV)

Can you imagine Sarah’s THANKS to God after the birth of Isaac?  What would she say?

 THANK You, Lord, for this son you have given me in my old age. 

THANK You for hearing my prayers from so long ago. 

THANK You for forgiving me for my sin in sharing Hagar and then abusing her.

THANK You for taking away my shame and blessing me. 

THANK You for watching over us all our lives as we moved from here to there, protecting me from those kings who might have touched me. 

THANK You for being the One who formed the stars and Your promise that our children will be as many as the stars (Genesis 15:5).

THANK You again and again for this baby.

THANK You, Oh, Lord, my God. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Sarah’s story in Genesis 18:1-15. Ponder what Sarah might have prayed in THANKSGIVING. What blessings do you have for which to THANK God?  This is what the first “T” of the TEA CUPP is all about, giving Him THANKS. 

This week underline THANKSGIVING verses in your BIBLE. Put a “T” next to the verses, choosing one to write in your prayer journal. Use this as a conversation starter for your THANKSGIVING prayers.  Here are some verses to get you started…

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:2

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20

Thank you to Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org for the great clip art!

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