A Sweet Aroma

And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma...Genesis 8:21 (NKJV)

How is the aroma of your tea?  Does your tea smell pleasing? As you sit at your table, holding your warm mug on a chilly morning, does the steam from your favorite tea blend rise up and bring joy to your senses? 

Have you ever thought about our prayers smelling good to God? Like children to a pan of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, God comes running at the scent of our delicious prayers and it brings Him great joy!

...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)

Noah knew how much God loved sincere prayers because he walked with God.  No sooner did Noah and his family step off the ark (after more than a year on board!), did they set up an altar with a fire, preparing burnt sacrifices to God.  And when God smelled the aroma of Noah’s offering, it was then that He promised to never curse the ground or flood the whole world again.  God promised there will always be seedtime and harvest for as long as the earth remains. 

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Psalm 141:1  (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire story of Noah’s sweet aroma in Genesis 8 today.  Let your prayers be a sweet aroma to Jesus. What other offerings can you give the Lord that will smell wonderful?

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV)

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed today’s message, you might also like Tea with Two Verses and Filling the Bowls.

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

From the Lips of Children

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength… Psalm 8:2 (NKJV)

All mothers must have their endearing stories of things their children say about God and Jesus.  When our Kevin was just three-and-one-half-years old, he was full of questions about God and Jesus and everything…

  • “Daddy, why did God give us lungs?”
  • “Daddy, why did God make the mountains?”
  • “Mommy, why did Jesus have to die for our sins?”

And once he had the information set in his own mind, Kevin pondered it.  Then, when we were in the car on our hour drive to town, Kevin would break into song about all he knew.  He began with a familiar tune and then added his own lyrics…

  • “Jesus loves me, this I know
  • For the Bible tells me so…
  • And Jesus died on a cross
  • For all the bad things.
  • Then He rose up…
  • And God made the mountains
  • And God made the trees
  • And God made our bodies and hearts
  • And Jesus lives in my heart
  • And Jesus loves Mommy
  • And Jesus loves Daddy
  • And Jesus loves me
  • And Jesus loves all the children of the world!”

I could just see the angels smiling and rejoicing as our Lord heard little Kevin singing, for from the lips of children and infants He has ordained praise!  And this week our big Kevin heads back to college for his spring semester, after attending a Campus Crusade Conference over his break.  And I believe Jesus is still smiling. Keep turning the world upside down for Jesus, Kevin!

...Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have perfected praise. Matthew 21:16 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  How can we join the children in exalting Jesus?  As you read Psalm 8 and other Psalms today, underline favorite verses, marking the ones for exalting the Lord with an “E.”  Then use these verses in your prayer time to praise God!

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9 (NJKV)

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you will want to read my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.  Click here to read more!

Beach Prayer

Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. Isaiah 24:15 (NKJV)

I’m hooked on beach running.  Sadly, I live in the land-locked (yet beautiful) state of Montana where the nearest ocean is a two-day drive.  If I had grown up near the beach, there might have been no moving me to higher ground. 

There is just something about the rhythmical crash of waves on the shore, the dodging of the tide as it ascends the beach, the warm sun shining down upon my face, and the joy of miles of sand upon which to run.

A few months ago, I experienced all this as we visited our son in California.  Each morning I slipped out of our tent before sunrise to have my quiet time on a bench overlooking the Pacific, praying Isaiah 24:15 (above).

Then donning my running shoes, I jogged down to the beach where I ran in the newly-washed sand on the shore, making fresh footprints with each step.  When I reached the turn-around point and came back, I witnessed a marvel,  most of my footprints had already been washed away!  This reminded me of Jesus washing away our sins.  Each footprint of doubts and worries and anger and wrong words is washed into the depths of the sea, gone forever!

…You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

And if you are concerned about those sins just floating around, waiting to be washed up onto another beach, find hope in Revelations 21:1 where we learn the entire sea disappears! First, our sins are drowned in the ocean and then the ocean is no more! That’s how complete is our forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  As you head into a new year, cast your sins of the old year at the feet of Jesus.  Confess your failings to Him in prayer, asking Jesus to wash you clean. Claim Jesus’ promise to throw your sins into the depths of the sea.  Ask Him to help you every step of the way this new year.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

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

Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth,
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Isaiah 42:10 (NKJV)

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

 

Claiming Christmas Promises

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends!  Today I have the gift of promises from God’s Word for you.  These promises all come from the Christmas story in our Bibles.  Consider each promise a present for you to unwrap today and always. No matter what your circumstances, you can claim these as your very own…

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

…your prayer is heard Luke 1:13 (NKJV)

He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  Luke 1:15-16 (NKJV)

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 (NKJV)

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 (NKJV)

And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:33 (NKJV)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 (NKJV)

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Pour a pot of these precious Christmas promises today.  Pick your favorite and write it in your prayer journal, on a note card on your bathroom mirror, or in a Christmas card to a friend.  Claim this promise to carry you into the new year.  Tell Jesus all about it in your quiet time with Him today. Merry Christmas, dear TEA friend!

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

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

If anyone doubts that life begins at conception, she must read the Christmas story. For in Luke 1, two incredible ladies learn they are miraculously pregnant. First Elizabeth in her old age conceives the baby John the Baptist.  Half a year later, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary conceives the baby Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Soon after Mary hears of her calling, she goes with haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is already six months pregnant. As Mary enters Elizabeth’s house, the baby John inside of Elizabeth leaps for joy!  He is so excited that His Savior, the baby Jesus inside of Mary, has entered the room.  Both babies are very much alive, yet still inside their mothers, growing and waiting to be born.  Life does not begin at birth, it begins at conception when God starts knitting this precious person.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

Even the great Bible prophets and teachers knew this.  Jeremiah from the Old Testament proclaimed…

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

And the Apostle Paul from the New Testament related…

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace. Galatians 1:15 (NKJV)

So why is there all this confusion about when life begins? Because the enemy aims to confuse us and to make us doubt and even to kill.  Like the Herods of Jesus’ day, there are still Herods today who want to destroy babies while Rachel still weeps for her children (Matthew 2:16-18). But we have a Savior who makes it clear in His word.  He tells us to choose LIFE (Deut. 30:19).  And for those who have made wrong choices, and for all of us sinners, Jesus offers His forgiveness and promise of eternal life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the Christmas story in Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Luke 1-2.  See how God blessed the whole world through these babies.  None of us knows the amazing plans God has for our little ones.  Choose life! 

Please join me in praying for babies in America and around the world to be saved.  Also, pray for special blessings on foster parents and adoptive parents.  Do something special for one of these families this Christmas.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

 

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

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

 

 

A Christmas TEA CUPP

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (NKJV)

December is upon us with holiday open houses, lighted parades, Santa gift exchanges and even a few Christmas teas. But what our hearts truly long for in this often chaotic, overwhelming, lonely, expensive, yet festive time of year, is the peace and calm of a simple CUPP of TEA with the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ.

So today I give you a Christmas TEA CUPP….Bible verses from the Christmas Story in God’s Word which you can use as conversation starters as you pray to Jesus this month. 

T is for Thanksgiving

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:33 (NKJV)

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47 (NKJV)

Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David. Luke 1:68-69 (NKJV)

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:35 (NKJV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word….Luke 1:38 (NKJV)

To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. Luke 1:74-75 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our stories

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (NKJV)

For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel. Luke 2:30-32 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

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

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

for your prayer is heard...Luke 1:13

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Plan to spend a quiet moment with Jesus every morning, even on Christmas morning before the unwrapping of gifts.  Read the Christmas story in your Bible in Luke 1-2, underline your favorite verses. Borrow theses verses as you begin your prayers with Jesus.  Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends!

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

Jesus is Coming!

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)

Thanksgiving gobbled by, Black Friday stormed over, Cyber Monday flooded past, Giving Tuesday blessed all around…unless you’ve been hiding from the world, you know that Christmas looms just around the corner, it is coming whether we are ready or not.  Traditionally, for children, Christmas is always slow to arrive.  But for grown-ups, it often comes too soon. And just as Christmas finally comes to the waiting child, Jesus is coming again to the entire world.

These weeks leading up to Christmas have long been called “Advent,” a time or preparation and waiting for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  But even more so, it’s a time of preparation and expectation of the return of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King of kings.  The whole story is foretold in our Bibles, mostly in the book of Revelation, when Jesus will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NKJV)

Just as Christmas will be upon us before we know it, even more certain is our Lord’s return.  He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7)Every knee will bow on heaven and earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-10).  And when He comes with all His angels with Him, Jesus, the Great Shepherd, will separate the sheep from the goats, His sheep to everlasting life and the goats to eternity in hell (Matthew 25:32-33).  Oh, my dear friends, I want for you and your loved ones all to be among the sheep.  I plead with you to give your hearts to Jesus. 

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand. Joel 2:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Jesus is coming again. I exhort you to give Him your life and all the desires of your heart. Don’t wait another day, He is coming soon.  Let this Christmas be the year you truly celebrate your Savior’s birth, making Him first in your heart.

to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (NKJV)

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10-:9-10 (NKJV)

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. Titus 1:2 (NKJV)

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

Our Thanksgiving Chain

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3 (NKJV)

One of my favorite Thanksgiving devotions from my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, is an activity I’ve shared over the years with you, a Thanksgiving chain.

The first part of the TEA CUPP is “T” is for Thanksgiving. It’s eternally important for moms to model thankfulness to our children, so here is a project to help you do just that.  This thankfulness activity will carry your family from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas.

First, count the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas on your calendar (this year it’s only 27 days). Next, cut out that many strips of colored paper, approximately one-inch by six inches. Grab your Bible, the paper strips, some markers, and a stapler, and gather the family around your kitchen table.

Read a Psalm of Thanksgiving, such as Psalm 136.
● Talk about things for which you are thankful.
● Divide the strips of paper between all family members.
● Everyone can use markers to write blessings on their paper strips. Older family members may assist younger family members.
● When everyone is finished, mix up the paper strips. Curl one strip into a circle and staple it. Run another strip through the first circle and staple it to itself. Continue stapling strips until you have a long chain of circles.
● Hold the chain around the table and let family members read the items together as you thank Jesus.
● Hang the chain on a nail in the kitchen so you can see how many days until Christmas.
● Each morning at breakfast, let one person tear off the bottom link of the chain. Say a prayer of thanks again for whatever is listed on that slip of paper.
● Each day the chain will get shorter until it’s Christmas.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Plan to do this activity with your family at Thanksgiving. Talk with your kids about God’s blessings. Some families keep a thankful jar. Every time they find something for which they are thankful, a blessing, answered prayer, etc., they write it on a slip of paper and put it in the thankful jar. He’s blessed us so much we can’t even name them all.

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
Psalm 40:5

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

Where are the other Nine?

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16

One of my favorite thanks devotions from my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, comes from the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. The lepers were shunned members of society, ones who must have desired more than anything else to be healed and welcomed back into the community. The ten lepers had just been hollering at Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus told them to go to the priests, and as they were going they were cleansed. But only one remembered to come back and praise God and give Jesus thanks. So Jesus answered and said,

“Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” Luke 17:17

Don’t you think Jesus still asks that today? Where are the other nine? WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE? For what have you prayed recently that God heard and answered your prayers? Was it a safe trip home? Was it a check in the mail? Was it healing for a loved one? What blessings has He sent our way before we even asked? Oh, let us run back to Him and throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet and give Him thanks!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember, the first “T” in TEA CUPP is for Thanksgiving. Read the story of the ten lepers again in Luke 17:11-19. Have you forgotten to thank Jesus for anything? Ask Jesus to open your eyes to any overlooked blessings. Tell Jesus THANK YOU today!

What are some things I’m especially thankful for this year?  Jesus, God’s Word, my family, miraculous healing, a new grandbaby on the way, strength to run a marathon, publishing my second book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, and for you, my dear TEA CUPP friend. Thank you for reading my devotions and accepting Jesus’ invitation to have TEA with Him each day.

 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

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

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers!

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:12

Today I share with great joy and thanksgiving, my second book with you, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.

How appropriate that this devotional is finally ready for you in November, the month of Thanksgiving, because I am so thankful for God enabling me to finish this second book for Him and for the prayers of so many who made it happen (God bless you all!).  As many of you know, the first letter of TEA is for Thanksgiving!  Oh, joy!  Oh, thanks!  Oh, Jesus!  You did it again!  Thank you, dearest Jesus.

What will you find when you open the pages of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers?  You will discover a 77-day devotional that takes moms gracefully into a daily TEA time with Jesus.  Every Sunday you will meet a new Bible mom who will introduce you to another part of prayer.  And during the week you will again be encouraged to read your Bible and pray for your family, as I share stories God has given me, including our miracle baby Joel. The book also has a week of Christmas devotions which I hope will bless your Christmas season this year and in years to come.  They might be just the thing to read to your small group or family this Advent season. 

Here’s what the back cover of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers says…

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

 Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and your favorite morning mug. A mom who spends time with Jesus in prayer will honor the Father, glorify the Son, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, impact her husband, children, neighborhood, community, and world. Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers calls another generation of moms to the foot of the cross.

  • T = Thanksgiving
  • E = Exalting His Name
  • A = Admitting my sins
  • C = Calling for my life
  • U = Understanding my story
  • P = Promises (Claiming God’s)
  • P = Petitions (Pouring out my heart)

 Jennifer Grace takes everyday examples of being a mom and relates them to God’s truth in His Word with this companion book to My TEA CUPP Prayers. Jennifer Grace is a wife, mom, grandma, runner, scrapbooker, prayer warrior, but most of all, God’s child. Through the joys and sorrows of life, she finds lessons in faith, weaving them together with God’s Word.

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

Who is this God who wants to meet with you each day?  He is God who made you and created all the universe. He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ.  And He knows what it’s like to give birth!  (Isaiah 42:14).  He knows what it’s like to raise children (Isaiah 1:10).  He knows how hard it can be and wants to hold your hand and help you raise your kids to know Him (Isaiah 40:11, 41:13). He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you (Isaiah 30:19).

So, how can you get a copy of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers?  You can order now online at Xulon and Barnes and Noble  and Amazon.  Or, you can ask me and I will set one aside for you!

Thank you for celebrating this new book with me!  It will make a lovely gift for moms, young moms, old moms, baby showers, weddings, Christmas, or just to say, “I hope you’ll read this and accept God’s invitation to spend time in His Word each morning, having a CUPP of TEA with Jesus.”

I love the Lord because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:1-2

P.S.  Click here to read more about my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers.

Click here to watch a video about My TEA CUPP Prayers.

Click here to Contact Me to speak at you next ladies’ gathering.

God bless you, dear friends!