TEA with Galatians

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)

I love these popcorn girls!  They point us to the saying,  “Girls Eat Pop Corn,” a mnemonic device for the order of four short books in the New Testament.  Coming right after First and Second Corinthians, these four letters Paul wrote to his dear friends and new believers.  To help us remember their sequence, we can say “Girls Eat Pop Corn” for “Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.”  Another trick is to say, “General Electric Power Company.”

This week we explore Galatians. May you remember these verses every time you pop a batch of popcorn!

T for Thanksgiving:

What then was the blessing you enjoyed?
Galatians 4:15 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Galatians 2:4-5 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
Galatians 5:7 (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:3 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the book of Galatians in your Bible this week.  Underline your favorite verses or the ones listed above.  Today’s devotion lists only one verse per category, but I’m sure you will find others. Use these verses as conversation starters as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer for THANKSGIVING, EXALTING, ADMITTING, talking to God about your CALLING, UNDERSTANDING your story, claiming God’s PROMISES, and PETITIONING.  

(Ladies), the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Galatians 6:18 (NKJV)

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

More than Resolutions

 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:6 (NKJV)

In perhaps the greatest calling and transformation recorded in the New Testament, we read the story of the horrific torturer of Christians, Saul of Tarsus, being blinded and called by God on the road to Damascus.  Saul turned his life around in an instant, going from persecutor of God’s people to preacher of the Gospel, regaining his sight and changing his name to Paul. The very question Saul asked God, is the one we should all ask ourselves everyday, especially as we embark on a new year.

“Lord, what do you want me to do?”  Let’s all pray this during our TEA time with Jesus today. Rather than making resolutions that don’t last, let’s ask the Lord for His plan and stick to it with His strength (Philippians 4:13). Instead of setting our own goals, let’s ask Jesus what He wants us to do with our new year.   We can ask…

  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my health?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my children?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my husband?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my calling?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my neighbors?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my church?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for YOU?

Interestingly, Jesus asks the same question of another blind man in Luke 18:41.  The man was waiting by the side of a road for Jesus to come by.  When Jesus finally walked by, the blind man cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus, though He knew exactly what the blind man wanted and needed, asked the fellow, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  The man replied, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Jesus replied, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 18:39-42)

Oh, Jesus, open my eyes to see exactly what you want me to do this new year!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the story of Saul/Paul’s calling in Acts 9.  Then ask Jesus, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  With the Christmas story fresh in our minds, let’s say as Mary did, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word.” (Luke 1:38)

…Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord…
Zechariah 8:21 (NKJV)

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 6:9 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

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

Where is He?

…“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 (NKJV)

The wise men weren’t call wise for nothing!  They asked the very question we should all ask ourselves every day, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?”  (Matthew 2:2). Have we searched for Him with all our hearts? Have we followed His star to the ends of the earth to find Him? Or, have we tried to snuff Him out like the evil King Herod?

Where is Jesus in our lives?  Is He lost under the wrapping paper and tinsel?  Stuffed behind the Christmas tree?  Buried under Smart phones and social media and busyness?  Hidden behind a flurry of holiday activities, and activities all year long, for that matter? Is Jesus lost beneath some long-held bitterness that we won’t let go?

Perhaps you yourself are crying out to God this very moment because a loved one has died or there is great turmoil in your life.  You are asking, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).  And, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). And, “Jesus, if you had been here, my loved one would not have died.” (John 11:21)

Dear Friend, I assure you, God is there.  The King of the Jews is with you.  Jesus is weeping with you (John 11:25). He wants to hold you in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27) and to dry all your tears (Revelations 7:17) and comfort you.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

People have been searching for Jesus since before He was born, to the day He was born, to the day He died, when Mary Magdalene cried to the Man she supposed to be the gardener, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (John 20:15). And for those who seek Him, there is always Someone to point the way.  For the angel answered Mary Magdalene…

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Answer this question in your life today, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?” Is He hiding behind past hurts and busyness? Bring Jesus to the front.  Seek Him with all your heart.  Read your Bible each day and talk to Him in prayer.  Let Him be your peace and comfort. Be one of the wise ladies!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NKJV)

Wise men and ladies still seek Him!

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please check out some of my other Christmas writingsMy Christmas Revelation Tea, Marcie Says it Best, and My Heart Inn.

To You!

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

There is always something exciting about a wrapped present.  At my house, led by the example of their Daddy, children shake, listen, feel and measure packages they find under the Christmas tree, trying to deduce what could be inside.  But perhaps the best part is the tag which reads, “To:____”. If your name is in the space next to the “To,” you are thrilled indeed!

Well, God has such a gift for all of us marked, “TO YOU.”  As the angels announced to the surprised shepherds, “For there is born TO YOU this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

The Gift was wrapped, not in shiny paper with a bow and placed under a tree; but in swaddling clothes, the same fabric used to wrap someone who died,  pointing to the day He would one day hang on a tree. The tag on this Baby was not just for the shepherds, but for the whole world: “To YOU!” The gift is Jesus. He came for our sins. The crucial thing is, YOU have to open this Gift yourself.

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)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friend, if you haven’t already, please accept the free gift God offers you this Christmas, His one and only Son Jesus who died for our sins.  Put your name  in the verse:  “For there is born TO _______ this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Say a prayer, asking Jesus to forgive you, asking Him into your heart.  And you will truly have the Joy to the World and Peace on Earth we sing about each Christmas.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
John 4:14 (NKJV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed this devotion, you might like to read my other Christmas Devotions, one of my favorite is Remember the Cross. Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends! Jesus loves you!

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

No Shadows in Heaven

And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
1 John 2:25 (NKJV)

I often think about heaven, don’t you?  I think of all the people waiting there for me.  At the top of my list are God and Jesus, of course! There is my Daddy, who passed into the arms of Jesus exactly one year ago, and the countless relatives who went before him. Then there are my college cross country coaches and teammates who died in a plane crash. There are our three miscarried babies, Gloria Anne, Angelica May, and Gabriella Hope and our dear grandchild.  There are all the Bible heroes like Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, David, Esther, Ruth, Daniel, all the Marys and Martha, Peter, John, Paul…And there are a number of people Facebook still tells me are having birthdays, but they are now with Jesus.  It’s comforting to think about all those dear people waiting for me in heaven.

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
Revelation 21:23 (NKJV)

One day while reading my Bible and contemplating heaven, I realized there won’t be any shadows in heaven.  Isn’t that interesting?!  Think about it…we have shadows on earth because a light or the sun shines on one side casting a shadow to the other side.  But in heaven, Jesus is the light and He is everywhere!  With light coming from all directions, you can’t have shadows!

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5 (NKJV)

I imagine my Daddy, who studied light as a professor, asking Jesus, “Wow!  How do you do that?”  God drives out the darkness and there is only light!  Isn’t that a comforting thought? …no shadows, no darkness, no sighing, no tears, no death, no sickness, no pain, no evil…only the light of our precious Savior Jesus.  Wow!

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Turn on your light and turn your thoughts heavenward today.  Look up the Bible verses in this devotion and underline your favorite verses.  Write them in your prayer journal. Thank Jesus for His promise of heaven and imagine what it will be like. Keep shining for Jesus!

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

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read My Two Daddies in Heaven, and Leave No Doubt, and Glimpses of Heaven with My TEA CUPP Prayers.  Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  Jesus loves you!

For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
Psalm 36:9  (NKJV)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:5 (NKJV)

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

Casting All Your Burdens

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

The week after Thanksgiving I was suddenly overwhelmed with prayer needs.  Dear friends and acquaintances were all going through trials at the same time.  First, a young mom’s baby was born with her intestines outside her stomach; mamma and baby were both life-flighted to a hospital far away. Then the husband of one of my best friends was diagnosed with leukemia, then our local pastor had emergency gallbladder surgery, then a dear church friend had a hysterectomy, then another church member had a heart attack, then a 7.2 earthquake hit Alaska where my college roommate lives, then a community member loved by all was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer…the prayer needs were daunting for me, combined with all my usual prayers. I found myself fretting throughout the morning, worrying about each person and praying for them over and over again. In my unfruitful way, I was trying to carry out Galatians 6:2.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

But then I realized I should bear those burdens to the Lord, carrying them from my friends to Jesus.  Once I gave it to Jesus, I was supposed to let go, not take it back. I was carrying burdens I did not need to carry.  I got out my prayer journal and wrote 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”  And I wrote all the people for whom I’d been worrying.  I prayed for each one and gave them to Jesus.  I said, “Jesus, please carry these for me, it’s too much for me and You know just what to do.”  And Jesus took my load. He gave me His peace that He would take care of everyone. I still lift these dear ones up to Jesus each day, but I’m not fretting now.  Jesus has them covered.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Write 1 Peter 5:7 in your prayer journal today.  Below the verse list people you’ve been worrying about, one name per line. Then go back and write a short prayer for each one by their names.  Thank Jesus for carrying these dear ones for you!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

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

Morning Prayer

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You. Psalm 143:8 (NKJV)

Dear Lord,

I am Your servant,

Show me where to walk,

For I have come to You in prayer,

Teach me to do Your will.

May Your gracious Spirit

Lead me forward,

I am Your servant, Lord,

In Jesus Name I pray,

Let Your will be done. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  So long ago I read Psalm 143 and then wrote this prayer for God’s direction.  You can do it, too. When you need God’s guidance for your next steps, read Psalm 143.  Then pray Psalm 143, asking God to hear your prayer, to answer you speedily, to show you the way to walk, to deliver you from the enemy, to teach you, to lead you, to revive you.  And He will answer.  The King of kings and Lord of lords, the Father or our Savior Jesus Christ, will answer you and guide you on His straight and narrow path.

Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
    on a firm footing.  Psalm 143:10 (NLT)

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.  Isaiah 55:6 (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)

(NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation

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

Prayer Journal How-tos

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

Keeping a prayer journal is a great way to stay focused while you pray, to encourage you that you really did pray, and to look back to see how faithful God has been in carrying you through so many prayer requests.  Just as there are a variety of ways to pray, there are numerous ways to keep a prayer journal.  Today I’d like to show you how I do My TEA CUPP Prayers prayer journal, and soon I hope to give you one along with my book.

For now, start by finding a notebook you know you will use.  I like a spiral notebook that is about the size of my Bible.  The prayer journal and Bible fit nicely together in my book bag.  The spiral binding allows me to open it flat or flip it completely open while I am journaling.  You can find inexpensive notebooks and journals at Walmart or Target or Family Dollar, or you can find a pretty flowery one at an office or gift store.  Whatever inspires you and helps you pray is perfect!

Next, find your pens.  If your favorite color is purple, perhaps you’d like a purple pen!  I use blue Pilot G-2 pens for most of my journaling because of the smooth writing ability.  I always need two or three, because they run out right in the middle of my prayers and I don’t want to have to get up and search the house for another one.  Have extra pens right by your Bible and journal in your quiet time spot.

My quiet time begins with Jesus having the first Word as I read my Bible. I follow the one-year Bible reading plan found in the Our Daily Bread devotional.  I have also used a One Year Bible in the past, which has the Bible divided into daily readings already. I pray,

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.”  Psalm 119:18 (NKJV)

I soak up all He has to tell me and underline my favorite verses.  I label the verses with the letters of the TEA CUPP acronym, so I may use them in my prayer journal.  Then I open my journal and get it ready for my prayers.  I write the date, then going down the page I write T-E-A.  On the next page I write C-U-P.  And on the next page I write another P.

Some Bible reading days have so many verses that it is hard to pick which ones to use.  Other days I don’t have enough verses, so I go back and use verses I underlined  in the previous weeks.  I find a THANKSGIVING verse and write it next to the letter T to thank God for His blessings.  I find an EXALTING verse and write it next to the letter E to exalt and praise my Jesus.  I find an ADMITTING verse and write it next to the letter A to admit my sins and ask Jesus’ forgiveness.

On the second page of my journal, I find a CALLING verse for something God is calling me to do today and write that in my journal next to the letter C.  I find an UNDERSTANDING verse and write it next to the letter U as I try to understand my story a little better.  I find a beautiful PROMISE verse and claim that as I write it next to the letter P.

On the third page, I find a  PETITIONING verse to use to pour my heart out to Jesus in prayer.  I pray all the parts of My TEA CUPP, filling in the extra spaces of my journal with more prayers on each letter.  Then I fill the rest of the PETITIONING page and perhaps another page with all my prayer requests for family and friends and loved ones.

If I am traveling or just had a new baby, I sometimes do just one letter a day in my prayer journal.  But I feel most complete when I have time to do all the parts and talk to Jesus about everything that is on my heart that day.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  I hope today’s devotion helps you as you fine tune your own prayer journal and devotion times with Jesus.  If you need ideas for Bible verses I have oodles for you here.  Someday, you will look back on all these prayers and be praising Jesus for His goodness all over again!

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

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

My Fasting TEA CUPP

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

No tea, no cup, no plate, no food, no beverage, no water, nothing to nourish this earthly body, only God’s Word to feed my soul and His Living Water to quench my thirst.  This is an Esther fast, where we give up eating and drinking for a time, to pray and focus on Jesus and God’s Word.

When I first started a daily prayer time with Jesus, I didn’t know what fasting was all about.  My church didn’t talk about it, and there weren’t too many resources.  I wondered what the “rules” were.  As it turns out, there are no rules, only examples.  In our Bibles we have the example of Esther who fasted with her maidens for three days to save her people. Esther’s fast happened one time during an extreme crisis. They had no water and no food for three days and nights.  We also have the example of Daniel who gave up rich foods, eating only fruits and vegetables. Daniel’s fast was a way of life, along with praying three times a day.  And, of course, there are Moses, Elijah and Jesus who fasted for 40 days and nights during a time of great trial. If you are just getting started with fasting, I would recommend a one-day juice fast, where you only drink juice, a juice and banana fast is good for nursing moms.  You can work your way up to a full fast when the time is just right.

Some might think fasting is a thing of the past from Bible times, but it is still practiced by many Christians today as they seek God’s will in prayer.  If you are looking for a modern example of fasting, I encourage you to read The Heavenly Man.  This book gives testimony after testimony to fasting and prayer, from friends praying for the persecuted pastor to him praying and fasting himself.  I highly recommend The Heavenly Man.  Order a copy for yourself and share one with a friend. 

For today I give you My Fasting TEA CUPP, Bible verses that highlight fasting and trials. You may pray these verses while you are fasting, or any time you sit down with Jesus for prayer and TEA. Here are conversation starters for you as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer:

T for Thanksgiving:
(a verse of thanks as we finish our fast and have our first meal)

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  John 6:11 (NKJV) 

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

E for Exalting:
(our suffering during fasting is nothing to compared to the glory of Jesus!)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

(The prayer King Jehoshaphat prayed to exalt the Lord)

O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?   2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:
(we repent and admit our sins as we fast)

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

C for Calling:

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)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34 (NKJV)

But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.  Matthew 9:15 (NKJV)

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.  so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love. 2 Corinthians 6:4-6 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:
(I love it when God sends prayer answers right during our fasting!)

So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  Acts 10:30 (NKJV)

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:12 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:
(Promises for when we are thirsty and hungry during fasting, and He will revive us!)

Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.  Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV)

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’   Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Psalm 71:20 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Once you get started on fasting and prayer, you might like to plan a regular day to fast, such as the first day of each month, the first Sunday of each month, or every Wednesday. Or when there is a great trial or event in your life. Write it on your calendar and commit to this time of prayer and fasting with Jesus. Read Isaiah 58 in preparation. Another devotion you may enjoy reading is The Empty Plate.

…did you really fast for Me—for Me?
Zechariah 7:5 (NKJV)

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

Let’s Talk about Calling

 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

I remember sitting in the church sanctuary with a group of women.  We had spent the entire weekend together at a church as part of an Emmaus Retreat.  Over the course of the weekend we sang spirit-filled hymns, dug into scripture, cried over testimonies, and prayed in our family groups around the tables.  We shared meals prepared by loving church members and slept on cots in the Sunday school rooms. Now each lady was relating what the weekend had meant to her and what God was calling her to do next.

As each dear sister stood in front of the microphone and shared, I mentally prepared what I would say (as many of us do when we really should be listening!).  Then one sweet gal approached the stage and proclaimed, “I just want to go home and be the best wife and mom I can be.”  All my prepared thoughts were washed away by her sincere calling.  “That’s the call I want!”  I cried, already being the mom of two special young kids.  “Can I please have that calling, too!”

But when my turn came to speak before the understanding faces, I had to share what I had heard Jesus tell me during the weekend.  “I hear Jesus calling me to go to seminary to learn more about Him,” I confessed. But then I went home and asked God if I could have the other mom’s calling.

You know what He showed me? He made me a wife, so I’m obviously called to be a good wife.  He made me a mom, so I’m definitely called to be a loving mom.  But He also has something else He needs me to do.  And so I found a nearby seminary that offered the first course free and took a class on church history.  I loved learning about the Wesley brothers and their mother Susanna who prayed with her apron over her head so she could have quiet time in the midst of her many children.  And as only God can plan it, He also answered my long time prayer for another child and made me a mother again while I was taking this class. He blessed us with our dear son Kevin Jon, reinforcing my calling to be a mom.

And while Kevin was still nursing, God gave me My TEA CUPP Prayers as a way to spend time with Him each morning and be a mom, too. Kevin would wake up at 5 a.m. every morning, my trusty little alarm clock.  As he nursed, I read my Bible.  Soon he was back to sleep and I would tuck him in on the sofa beside me as I wrote in my prayer journal. I continued to take seminary classes at camping conferences where my family also participated, so I didn’t have to be away from our children, eventually receiving certification in camp and retreat ministry.  But I always embraced being a wife and mom, and now I’m a grandma, too!

Romans 11:19 says, “ For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  I can’t change what God is calling me to do.  He is calling me to invite ladies everywhere to have TEA with Jesus, the King of kings.  He has also stamped upon me “wife,” “mom,” “grandma,” “daughter,” “sister,” “aunt,” “cousin,” “friend,” “beloved.”

Every day as I read my Bible, I ask God what He is calling me to do.  Recent verses He has pointed me to include:

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NKJV)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear TEA friend, what is God’s calling for your life?  If you aren’t sure, perhaps ask Jesus each morning, “What will you have me do today?  He will show you bit by bit, how to be a loving wife, mom, neighbor, friend…to pray for a stranger, to bake cookies for a neighbor, to send a card to a loved one, to hug your kids, to honor your husband, to share Jesus…and before you know it, you are living out God’s calling for your life.

I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.  Psalm 40:8 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

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