On our Knees

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  Psalm 95:6 (NKJV)

Eighteen years ago today, September 11, 2001, the lives of Americans, as well as citizens of the world, were changed forever.  For on this day terrorists chose to take innocent lives, countless courageous citizens gave of themselves, and our nation was brought to its knees for a time. 

What happened?  Why aren’t we still on our knees?  Some articles say church attendance increased for only a few weeks after 9/11, continuing a trend for decades of declining participation.  Yet other articles say at the very heart of the tragedy, Evangelical churches sprouted and have flourished.  Why aren’t we all still on our knees?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over the threat of the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over babies dying?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for unsaved family and friends?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for lost youth?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for our pastors and missionaries who give of themselves every day and need protection from the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees?

I remember the first time I saw someone on their knees in prayer.  It was my Grandma Margaret Applequist.  Grandma was visiting us for a few weeks and was sleeping in the bedroom belonging to my sister and me.  We were sleeping in the basement to give Grandma some peace and privacy.  But I caught a cold, so they put me back upstairs in the extra bed in my own room.  A few hours after going to sleep I awoke.  A small crack of light coming from the hallway shone on my Grandma, kneeling by her bed in prayer.  What an impact that picture made on a sick, young girl’s heart.  I wanted to be like Grandma!

And yet, when I have My TEA CUPP Prayers, I sit curled on the sofa; when we pray at meals, I’m sitting at the table; when I say good-night prayers with my kids, I’m sitting on the edge of their beds, or standing by their bunks…when am I on my knees?  Though I know He hears all those prayers, God really started impressing these kneeling prayers upon my heart, so I asked Him to show me in Scripture where it says I should be on my knees, and guess what, He did!

he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God… Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow... Philippians 2:10 (NKJV)

…And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.  Acts 21:5 (NKJV)

and fell down and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:11 (NKJV)

And so, now, every evening, when my husband and I say our goodnight prayers, instead of lying in bed with one of us dozing off, we are on our knees beside the bed, pouring our hearts out to the Lord.

We hear of faithful Christians like Reverend Billy Graham wearing out the toes of their shoes or the knees of their pants because they knelt so often in prayer.  My friends, we need to do the same!  Wear out your knees for your family! Wear out your toes for your neighbors. Wear out the rug next to your bed for your country.  Let’s get on our knees and pray!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  While researching this devotion I came across another great devotion you might enjoy by Dr. David Jeremiah.  And also this one about Reverend Billy Graham.  Let’s follow their godly examples. “Do it again, Lord, do it again!”

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Ephesians 3:14 (NKJV)

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

God is Love and so much more!

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9 (NKJV)

O Father, You are love. And I love You, but my love is so small compared to Your huge, huge love.  Even if my heart is filled to overflowing with love,  my heart is tiny and Your heart is as big as the universe, bursting with love for all humanity, sending us Your One and Only Son Jesus to die for us, and filling us with Your Holy Spirit. Blessed Trinity be glorified today! 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friends, today I share tidbits from the EXALTING section of my prayer journal, just to show how you can use God’s Word to praise Him.  Pray these prayers as your own, find more EXALTING verses in your Bible and write them in your prayer journal. Share your heart with Jesus, it doesn’t need to be fancy, just tell Him you love Him.  Make EXALTING Jesus a part of your daily TEA time together.  He will love to hear your praises!

Who does great things, and unsearchable,
Marvelous things without number. Job 5:9 (NKJV)

O Father, O Jesus, this is You!  You do great things that we don’t even know and ones we do know, like rain and rainbows and salvation and forgiveness and heaven and peace and comfort and strength and protection and guidance.  You do it all!!! O Jesus, be glorified and magnified today, especially in my prayers for…

Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what profit do we have if we pray to Him? Job 21:15 (NKJV)

O Jesus, I know You!  You are the Christ the Son, God the Father, Creator of the universe, Judge who is coming soon, King of kings, Lord of lords, Emmanuel, my Savior, my Friend, my Comforter, my Joy, my Crown, my Life, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Stronghold, my Protector, my Hiding Place, my Redeemer, my all in all! I love and praise You, Jesus!

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3 (NKJV)

O Jesus, this is You!  You are my Shield, You protect me from the enemy and send me helpers.  You are my Glory, and one day You will come again in glory!  You are the One who lifts up my head when I’m discouraged.  I love and praise You! Be glorified today!

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10 (NKJV)

O Jesus, I imagine You returning and the gates and doors that open to let You out of heaven, even those gates and doors bow before you and then lift their heads in honor of the King of kings who reigns for all eternity.  O Jesus, be glorified!  I love You!  Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

then they bowed their heads and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 (NKJV)

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”  Matthew 14:33 (NKJV)

O Jesus, they worshiped You!  Here are the Israelites in Egypt who haven’t heard from You in 400 years and they know how to worship.  Here are the disciples who also haven’t heard from the prophets in 400 years, since the Old Testament times. They are in the boat with You and they worship You!  They believe in you! They bow! They exalt and praise and worship!  O Jesus, may I do this too with all my heart. I love you!

The Lord is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land. Psalm 10:16 (NKJV)

O Jesus, You are King forever and ever. Some people don’t realize it (oh, touch their hearts!), that You are King of heaven and earth and You are coming again. That is exciting!  And every knee will bow and tongue confess that You are Lord to the glory of God the Father. O Jesus, be glorified this very day!

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever. Psalm 29:1-2,10 (NKJV)

O Jesus, You are King forever! You are Glory and Strength!  You sit on the throne.  Oh, sit on the throne of my life and be glorified!

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.
Psalm 72:18-19 (NKJV)

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

 

 

What’s in your mug?

I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:13 (NKJV)

What are you sipping in your morning mug? Tea, coffee, espresso, orange juice, water, Gatorade?  We all have a favorite beverage.  I have a teacher friend who used to walk around school with a coffee mug filled with Mountain Dew because it was okay for teachers to drink coffee, but not soda pop, and she was the PE teacher! I love her sense of humor! Now she is a principal; that Mountain Dew must have worked!

My favorite morning beverage has changed over the years as my health has changed.  I used to just hold a mug of hot water in the mornings until I found out the benefits of various teas.  I also enjoyed a hot cocoa every day, but that doesn’t agree with my tummy anymore.  This summer green tea and Hammer sports drinks are my favorites as I train for a marathon, but that could all change by winter!

The important point today is not what’s in your morning mug…coffee, tea, etc…but what you are doing with your first hour of the day.  Fill up your cup and sit down with your Bible and Jesus.  You can have coffee time with Jesus while saying your TEA CUPP Prayers, it’s okay! The TEA CUPP is just an acronym for things you can talk about while you are together.  Using God’s Word we can pray: Thanking, Exalting, Admitting, Calling, Understanding, claiming God’s Promises, and Petitioning.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up. Psalm 5:3 (NKJV)

As you sip your favorite drink, emptying your mug, let Jesus refill your cup with His Word, joy, peace, and love.  Jesus is all we ever need.  He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.  Let Jesus fill your heart and life and cup today and every day!!!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Fill your cup with Jesus!  Plan to start every day in His Word. Set your alarm early, pour your favorite beverage, and sit down with your Bible (before even checking your phone for messages).  Let Jesus speak to you and fill you with His Word.  The chorus of a hymn by Richard Blanchard says:

Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up, Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole. 

Let this be our prayer today. Enjoy this precious version by Hope Montana. 

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

Off to College

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

Today we send our third child, Kevin, off to college at Montana State University.  He follows the footsteps of his big sister and big brother while creating his own unique path.  It doesn’t get any easier with the third child! 

When we first took Kevin’s big sister to college eleven years ago, I visited Coldstone Creamery for a big chocolate indulgence dessert EVERY time we dropped her off just to drown my tears.  That was before I was dairy-free. 

When Kevin’s big brother left for college six years ago, I couldn’t imagine the day would come for Kevin to go.  And now, here it is!  And so I pray for Jesus to hear all the prayers from all the years that I have prayed for him.  I pray all these verses for Kevin.  I pray for Jesus’ angels to guard over Kevin and for him to follow God’s straight and narrow path. 

We love you, Kevin! We’re proud of you!  Go do amazing things for Jesus at MSU!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Someone you know is headed to college.  Pray these verses for him/her.  Write a verse on a card and send it to him/her in the mail, and even to his/her mom!  Save these verses for future graduation and college students.  Forward these verses to all your mom friends with college students.  Let’s pray for our college students and turn our campuses around for Jesus, one TEA CUPP at a time!

Hiding in Jesus

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

Shine for Jesus

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus2 Timothy 2:1 (NKJV)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NKJV)

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.  Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Blessings

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
Psalm 112:1 (NKJV)

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
  Psalm 128:1 (NKJV)

Protection from the enemy

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Ephesians 6:10-11 (NKJV)

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
Psalm 35:5 (NKJV)

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
  Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (NKJV)

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! 2 Timothy 4:18 (NKJV)

You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 (NKJV)

And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
Psalm 37:40 (NKJV)

Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me
. Psalm 50:15 (NKJV)

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 121:7-8 (NKJV)

Thanksgiving

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NKJV)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 4 (NKJV)

Wisdom from God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord,
And teach out of Your law
Psalm 94:12 (NKJV)

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
  Proverbs 3:21-23 (NKJV)

Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Psalm 119:33 (NKJV)

Victory in Jesus

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

Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies
. Psalm 60:12 (NKJV)

Encouraging Promises

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (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)

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.
  Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV)

He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 (NKJV)

I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble
. Proverbs 4:11-12 (NKJV)

…No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
. Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:5 (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)

Petitions for Student

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me  under the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 17:8 (NKJV)

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
  Psalm 20:4 (NKJV)

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Thessalonians 1:12 (NKJV)

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of GodPhilippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)

Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Psalm 25:20-21 (NKJV)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Psalm 36:10 (NKJV)

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
  Psalm 38:21-22 (NKJV)

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
  Psalm 31:3 (NKJV)

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
  Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)

O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
Psalm 71:12 (NKJV)

Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes
. Psalm 119:135 (NKJV)

Staying on God’s Path

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
  Psalm 17:5 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12 (NKJV)

The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
  Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)

There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)

A man’s steps are of the Lord;
How then can a man understand his own way?
Proverbs 20:24 (NKJV)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
  Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV)

Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
Psalm 85:13 (NKJV)

For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.
Psalm 48:14 (NKJV)

If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
  Psalm 94:18 (NKJV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

Go to Church!

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Psalm 122:1 (NKJV)

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
  Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle. 
Psalm 43:3 (NKJV)

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
  Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10 (NKJV)

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Psalm 92:13 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
  Psalm 28:6 (NKJV)

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

Baptized in Christ Jesus

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 19:5 (NKJV)

August 11, 2019 was a very special day.  For on this day, our 7-1/2 year-old son Joel was baptized in the name of Christ Jesus in the Yellowstone River.  There is nothing more precious in all the world, than to have your child give his heart to Jesus (3 John 4).  And our prayer is that Joel will continue to follow Jesus all the days of His life.  God promises us that Joel has eternal life and no one can snatch him from His hands (John 10:28-29). 

For our family, this was like coming full-circle.  For exactly nine months before Joel was born, on a zero-degree day, January 30, 2011, my husband Kent and I and our two sons, Jacob and Kevin, were baptized, publicly declaring our faith in Jesus.  I was not pregnant at the time, but there was something in the water that day. For exactly nine months later, after 11-1/2 years of prayer and three heart-breaking miscarriages, on October 29, 2011, Joel Kent was born.  And now this precious gift from God, our gift from our baptism, has been baptized in Christ Jesus, too.  All praise be to God!

Joel had been wanting to be baptized for over a year, but we wanted to make sure he understood what it was all about first.  He especially wanted to be baptized in the Yellowstone River, not inside.  When I asked Joel why he wanted to be baptized, he replied, “To let the whole world know that I believe in Christ.” It was extra special to have three of his church friends also baptized that day. Joel chose for his baptism a verse he learned at Vacation Bible School this summer from the Twenty-Third Psalm…

Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for You are close beside me… Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

I hope there are not too many dark valleys ahead for Joel, but I know Jesus will be close beside him always!

Why do we get baptized?  Because Jesus set the example by being baptized by John, because it’s a symbol of Jesus’s death and resurrection, and because, as Joel said, it let’s the whole world know that we love Jesus! 

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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 6:3-4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear friend, my prayer is for you and all your family to love Jesus and be baptized in His name like Lydia (Acts 16:14-15).

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 22:16 (NKJV)

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

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

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House

Holding His Feet

…cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your daysDeuteronomy 30:20


Does it seem like you are always going through something?  Whether it is an illness, cancer diagnosis, death of loved one, family troubles, money problems, car repairs…there is always a trial that makes us worried, anxious, sad, struggling, depressed…Who can help us?  Who is always there for us?  Who can we hold onto in the storm? 

Jesus!  Yes, Jesus is always the answer!  And today I have two Bible stories for you where women really did hold onto Jesus, they held onto His feet!  Just as a toddler will wrap his arms around Mommy’s legs, these women gripped Jesus’s feet with all their strength and did not let go.

The first example was before Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  Jesus was dining at the home of a Pharisee when a woman entered with an alabaster flask filled with fragrant oil.  This woman was certainly struggling for the Bible calls her a sinner, and she was weeping as she stood behind Jesus. Then she did the boldest thing, she washed Jesus’s feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, and finally anointed His feet with the fragrant oil.  After the Pharisee complained, Jesus told the dear woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48) and “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

… (She) stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:38 (NKJV)

The second story comes after Jesus died on the cross, after He was buried, and after He rose from the grave.  It was that very Sunday when Jesus rose that these two Marys went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body. But when they arrived, there was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled the stone away from the tomb entrance, sitting on the stone.  The guards were so scared they fainted, but the women watched amazed as the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” ( Matthew 28:5).  The angel invited them to see where Jesus had lain. As the two Marys were leaving to tell the disciples, Who did they meet? Jesus!  “So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 28:9)

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Matthew 28:9 (NKJV)

We also can hold Jesus’s feet!  Whether we’ve made some terrible mistakes and come to Him as sinners, like the first woman, or we are lost in grief like the two Marys, we can come to Jesus and cling to His feet.  And He will comfort us with His Word, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Today’s TEA CUPP: Hold fast (1 Corinthians 15:2), my friend. Read these Bible stories today in Luke 7:36-50 and Matthew 28:1-10.  Then cling to Jesus’s feet, telling Him everything that is on your heart.  Perhaps you’ll also enjoy this song entitled, “The Alabaster Flask.”

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!

Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 142:7 (NKJV)

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

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.

Witness of the Stone


But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
Luke 24:2 (NKJV)

Easter is here in just a few days! In just a few days we proclaim, “He is risen!” (Mark 16:6) Who is risen? It’s Jesus! How do we know He is risen? Because the stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty and Jesus appeared to so many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:6). Would you consider that perhaps the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection was the stone?

The stone that was rolled in front of the tomb (Mark 16:46).

The stone that was sealed with the Roman seal and guarded by Roman guards (Matthew 27:66).

The stone that would be too heavy for the ladies to move who came Sunday morning to anoint His body with spices (Mark 16:3).

But the stone had already been rolled away by an angel and an earthquake (Matthew 28:2)! The stone miraculously rolled away, leaving fainting guards and an empty tomb (Matthew 28:4-6)! If the stone could tell the story, what would it say?

Having stones as witnesses is not something new. Centuries before Jesus’ crucifixion when God’s people entered the Promised Land, Joshua set up stones as a witness (Joshua 4:7). Right before Joshua died, he set up another stone, declaring…

…“Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” Joshua 24:27 (NKJV)

We wonder what Joshua’s stone thought when God’s people turned away from Him again and again and again? Did it witness to all the words of Moses and Joshua? Did it tell the people how far they had fallen from God? Did the stone show God how much His people needed a Savior?

And when that Savior, God’s Son Jesus, came to walk this earth, He taught the people about stones. He said He could raise up children for Abraham from the stones (Luke 3:8), that if the people didn’t praise God, the very stones would cry out to worship Him (Luke 19:40), and that the Stone the builders rejected had become the Chief Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22).

 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40 (NKJV)

Yes, the stone that rolled away is a witness for us that Jesus, who died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and the third day rose to eternal life. The stone shouts, “The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen!” We must believe the stone moved and Jesus is alive, or our faith is in vain.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Listen to the witness of the stone: Jesus is risen! Read one of the Gospel accounts (perhaps Matthew 28:1-10) of this greatest story ever, the true story of our Savior Jesus rising from the grave. Believe in Jesus. Thank Him for His saving work on the cross, His forgiveness, and His promise of eternal life in heaven.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

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

My Dad is on the Way

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2 (NKJV)

January and February were mixed up in Montana this year.  After a mild January with little precipitation, we all thought we’d escaped the worst of winter.  Then like a visit from the North Pole, a polar vortex descended upon our state, burying both the brave and the not-so-brave in snow.

On one of the milder days, we drove up the mountain valley for work.  I let my 18-year-old son drive since I do not like driving in snow (yes, I live in the wrong state!).  Coming around the bend in the road, our old minivan with two-wheel drive tires refused to turn and continued straight into the grove of trees.  I was thankful to come to such a safe resting spot, not on the edge of a cliff, or worse, down in a ravine.  Most comforting was knowing my husband was just 15 minutes behind us in another vehicle, as we had so many supplies to bring that day.

Being the caring country place where we live, every passerby stopped to ask if they could help.  Each time, my son hopped out of the car and thanked them with the reply, “My Dad is on the way.”  Those with horse-trailers or two-wheel drive must have been quite relieved not to pull us out.  When my husband arrived in his four-wheel drive pick-up, he quickly hooked up the tow rope and pulled us back onto the road in less than a minute, and we were on our way again.

But my son’s message stuck with me:  “My Dad is on the way.”

We can all say this each day, “My Dad is on the way.”  No matter what trial we are facing, whether we are stuck in a snow drift, family troubles, bad choices, illness, mourning, despair…we have the promise from God the Father that He is on the way.  He is on the way to rescue us.  He is on the way to guide us.  He is on the way to forgive us.  He is on the way to heal us.  He is on the way to comfort us.  He is on the way to bring us hope.  And He is just a prayer away.

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)

God might come in the form of a Good Samaritan who tows us out of the snow drift.  He might come in the form of a friend who prays for us.  He comes in His Word, the Bible, where He guides and comforts us.  He comes as the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Most importantly, He comes as Jesus, who rescues, forgives and saves us.   And finally, He gives us hope that He is coming again!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God…
1 Thessalonians 4:16

Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend, Jesus is on the way!  He is coming back again. He promises us of His return in the Bible.  Revelations tells us exactly what will happen, echoing the prophets from Isaiah to Daniel to Joel.  He is coming on the clouds and every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7) and every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10).  Until that day comes, keep praying, and God the Father will be right on the way to help you. 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

…when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
Mark 8:38 (NKJV)

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