Out of Prison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

My Coat

We all need coats, especially this time of year in the northern United States.  Each day as we don our coats to head outside, we might contemplate the coats in the Bible.  Did you know there are so many Bible coats?

The first coats: It all began when Adam and Eve listened to Satan the snake, ate the forbidden fruit, and realized they were naked. Because they had disobeyed God, Adam and Eve could no longer stay in God’s perfect garden.  But before He kicked them out of Eden, God made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins.  When God killed his dear animal friends, that was the first time blood was shed for sins, pointing to the day when Jesus would shed His blood for our sins on the Cross.  Adam’s and Eve’s animal skin coats were the first coats in the Bible.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 (NKJV)

More coats: Flip forward a few pages in Genesis to the story of Joseph.  In this passage, Joseph’s father Jacob gave him a beautiful coat, making his brothers very jealous. John MacArthur in his Study Bible tells us that Joseph was a type of Christ, pointing us to Jesus. Both had their coats taken from them and were falsely accused. Both Joseph and Jesus were shepherds of their Father’s sheep. Both were dearly loved by their Fathers, but hated by their brothers.    Both were placed with two other criminals, one who was saved and one who was lost.  And both Joseph and Jesus forgave those who wronged them and saved their nations.  What men had intended for evil, God turned to good.  And their coats played a big part of the story.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.
Genesis 37:3 (NKJV)

A Spirit-filled coat:: Next jump ahead to Elijah in 2 Kings 2:13.  Here Elijah’s protegee Elisha waited to see Elijah go to heaven.  Finally, after following Elijah everywhere, Elisha watched as God took Elijah up in a whirlwind.  When he was gone, Elisha found Elijah’s cloak on the ground.  He picked it up and took it with him and God gave Elisha double the Spirit of Elijah!

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
2 Kings 2:13 (NKJV)

 A clean coat: Then in the book of Isaiah, long before Jesus even brought us salvation, Isaiah proclaimed we will have a garment of praise! We are clothed in garments of salvation and covered in robes of righteousness!  Oh, what joy!  Oh, what a promise!!! And again the prophet Zechariah promises that God gives us a clean robe.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)

Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
Zechariah 3:4 (NKJV)

The wrong coat: The prophet Zephaniah cautions us to beware of wearing foreign apparel. We must be wearing the robe Jesus gives us. This warning is echoed again in Matthew when Jesus tells the story of a king having a wedding party…

And it shall be,
In the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
That I will punish the princes and the king’s children,
And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
Zephaniah 1:8 (NKJV)

But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:11-13 (NKJV)

The healing coat: Also in the New Testament, time after time Jesus heals and heals and heals.  The people who follow Him long to just touch His coat for healing. So I pray for all on my prayer list who are need of Jesus healing, to just touch the robe of Jesus and be healed like the people in Matthew 14…

And begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
Matthew 14:36 (NKJV)

A royal coat: And finally, flip to Revelations where Jesus returns to marry His bride the church.  And just like He clothed Adam and Eve, Jesus provides the wedding garments for His bride. He gives us the whitest most beautiful robe of all, washed clean by His precious blood.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Revelation 19:8 (NKJV)

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:14 (NKJV)

Oh, Jesus, I don’t deserve it, but You gave it to me anyway — Your beautiful coat, pure and white and every color of the rainbow all at once!  Oh, Jesus, what a miracle!  You take our filthy rags and make us beautiful!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear friend, put on the righteous robe which Jesus has given you.  Thank Him for His forgiveness and healing.  Stay away from the wrong coats.  Look up these fantastic coat verses in your Bible today. And welcome the day when Jesus comes again to clothe us all in white robes and take us home!

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
(The Solid Rock by Edward Mote,1834)

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the lamb
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean
O, be washed in the blood of the lamb.
( Are you Washed in the Blood? Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also enjoy A Tale of Two Coats and Filthy Rags.

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

 

My Valentine

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands
Isaiah 49:16 (NKJV)

Our church family members are reading through the entire Bible this year.  Our pastor invited us at the beginning of the year to find a reading plan and commit to reading the whole Bible. There are several Bible reading plans out there.  I use the one included each day in the Our Daily Bread devotion booklet.  A popular online AP is called the Youversion.  You might like to check these out!

What do we find as we read the entire Bible?  We find a VALENTINE!  A love story from God to us.  As we read the Old Testament we see a Holy God who loves His children He created.  We see our sinful nature and how far we fall short of our Heavenly Father.  We read of a promised Savior, coming to rescue God’s people.  In the New Testament the Savior finally comes, Jesus, God’s Only Son!  However, He doesn’t do what the people expect, taking over in power.  Instead, He dies on a cross for the sins of all the world because He loves us all so much.  But Jesus doesn’t stay dead, on the third day He rises to eternal life! And someday Jesus is coming back again to marry His bride the church, https://tadalafilhome.com that’s us!  What a love story!  What a Valentine!  We are His!

Oh, Jesus, I have Your Word “MINE” stamped on me like on a candy heart!  How wonderful!  I am Yours and no one can snatch  me from You.  Forever and ever my name is inscribed on Your hand and You inscribed “MINE” on me.  O Jesus, this is my story. I am Yours! I am Yours!  I am Yours! Amen.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
John 10:28-29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You are loved, dear TEA friend!  Jesus has your name written on His hand and He has stamped MINE on you!  You are like lovers with matching tattoos!  No matter if your Valentine’s Day is full of heartbreak or joy, you can rest in the peace that you belong to God.

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
John 16:27 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  If you enjoyed this devotion, you might also like to read God loves you and My Love TEA and Valentine Cookies.  Happy Valentine’s Day, dear TEA friend!

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

My Sauna Prayers

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings…
Malachi 4:2 (NKJV)

In January I joined a gym for the first time in my life.  It was not my idea.  I don’t like exercising indoors.  I like looking up at the big blue sky and smiling at Jesus as I run.  Treadmills are not my friends.  They don’t shine on me like God does with His sunshine.  And the numbers creep forward so slowly, except when I’m doing intervals, then the walking minutes seem much faster than the running minutes! I found the elliptical machine to be more kind than the treadmill.

But I am thankful our little town has a gym, what a blessing to so many people who need to get exercise in winter and year-round for various reasons.  There is something inspiring about the gym. Seeing others energetically exercising encourages me to press on, just as when we meet with believers at church every Sunday we are encouraged to press on in our faith. At the fitness center, people are there as part of a diabetes program, walking for their health, lifting weights to ward off osteoporosis, or training for their next Ironman.  I joined the gym for the sauna.

My doctor told me in December that I would need surgery because of benign tumors.  My oldest son did some research and convinced me to give Jesus and natural remedies a try first.  I asked many counselors (Proverbs 15:22): Friends with similar ailments, a naturopathic doctor, essential oil references, and so on, and decided to do it all with much prayer! One of the treatments is to sweat out the toxins that our bodies hold onto in a sauna.

One morning while perspiring on the top bench of this wooden room, I was praying for Jesus to heal me, to sweat out the icky stuff from me, and to shrink the tumors.  I thought how much God’s Word is like a sauna.  When we climb into it and read of His holiness and our sinfulness, we sweat out our sins.  He purifies us in the crucible of His Word!

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

And so I prayed, Dear Jesus, please sweat out these toxins from my body, and heal me.  And please forgive me, too, sweat out the toxins from my heart, all my sins and pride and selfishness and wrong words and…wash me clean with Your precious blood and fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Just as regular exercise is necessary to keep our bodies in shape, regular time in God’s Word is essential to keep our hearts pure.  Dear friend, please schedule time daily with Jesus, sharing a CUPP of TEA and reading His Word, using Bible verses to pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer.  You might have to set your alarm extra early, but even more than the gym, it is worth it!

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)

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

 

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 http://www.healthsupportyou.com/nchd-ambien-zolpidem/ 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.