Claiming Christmas Promises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Apostle Paul from the New Testament related…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

A Christmas TEA CUPP

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

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

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

T is for Thanksgiving

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

E is for Exalting

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

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

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

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

A is for Admitting

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

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

C is for Calling

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

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

U is for Understanding our stories

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

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

P is for Promises

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

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

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

P is for Petitions

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

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

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

Jesus is Coming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Thanksgiving Chain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Day After

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

Imagine the day after Jesus was born how Mary felt.  She had just endured this long journey on an uncomfortable donkey, Joseph searched for a place for them to stay, they ended up in a stable for animals, she gave birth to her first child which no doubt hurt a lot, she may have wished for a hot shower or bath, she had a hungry baby to care for and she was hungry herself, the animals were noisy, the straw floor was scratchy and dirty, she couldn’t send Joseph to Family Dollar for diapers, the shepherds had been there in the night, telling of the amazing angelic choir, and Joseph and Mary had stayed up late in awe of what the shepherds proclaimed. Now Mary was ever-so-tired…but in her arms she held the most precious Baby of all, the Savior of the world…Jesus was with her!

The day after Christmas there are wrapping paper remains and travels and returns and leftovers and more family and celebrations, or perhaps there are sickness and tummy aches. And after a month of anticipation and counting down days on the advent http://barefootpuppets.com/xanax/ calendar, http://barefootpuppets.com/xanax/ there are children with Christmas blahs, wondering what to look forward to next…but Jesus is with us.

The day after any event may have all sorts of emotions…the day after a speech or term paper is due, there is relief for the student. The day after graduation has great excitement and anticipation. The day after a wedding, there are tears and relief for the parents, joy and struggles for the newlyweds. The day after a loved one dies, we endure heart-wrenching weeping and what-ifs…but Jesus is with us.

Whatever your day after is like, remember this verse from Lamentations…

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Jesus is with you in all your “days after,” my friend.  His mercy and compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  God is faithful and will help you through  your day after.  Claim His promise of faithfulness today!

…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

The Lord is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;
He never fails… Zephaniah 3:5 (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.

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.

Good Deed Manger

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (NKJV)

This December we are renewing a Christmas tradition we began long ago, the Good Deed Manger. It all started when our oldest two children were little and I was reading Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul.  One story was about a mom with four children who was having trouble with them arguing and fighting during December.  So, she began a Good Deed Manger.

The story was a real tear-jerker and hard for me to finish reading aloud to my family.  But we read it each year, nonetheless, and made our own Good Deed Manger.  The first year, Kallie, Jacob and their Daddy built the manger you see in this picture, it was a little crooked, just like in the story.  Some family members went outside to collect dry grass or straw to put in a bucket near the manger.

Then we all wrote our names on slips of paper and put them in a Christmas hat.  We took turns drawing names until everyone had one.  It was a secret, so no one could know whose name we had.  That was the person we would do good deeds for all week, without them seeing us.  Each time we did a good deed, we could put a straw in the manger, trying to make a soft bed for baby Jesus.  Every Sunday night we would draw new names and continue with the good deeds.  On Christmas Eve we put a baby doll in the manger to be the Baby Jesus.  We hoped the bed was soft enough for Him because of all our good deeds.

And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Make a Good Deed Manger with your family this December! If you can find Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul at your library, look for the original story  (p. 68 “The Last Straw”). and read it aloud together. Better yet, read the story of our Savior’s birth in Luke 2. Then have a blessed Christmas season, surprising everyone with good deeds.

 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:16 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed this devotional activity, you might like to read my other Christmas Devotions, another favorite of mine is My Heart Inn.

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

Remember the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham tells the story of a crusade at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in 1953.  After a night of preaching, his friend John Bolton took a walk with Billy and commented, “Billy, you didn’t speak about the Cross.”

Rev. Graham’s friend went on to say, “How can anyone be converted without having at least one single view of the Cross where the Lord died for us?  You must preach about the Cross, Billy. You must preach about the blood that was shed for us there.  There is no other power than when we talk or preach about the Cross.” (Graham, 1997)

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, I exhort you to remember the Cross!  When you look at your tree, decorated with tinsel and lights, remember the tree that held our Savior Jesus, as He gave His precious life for us.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 (NKJV)

As you give presents to family and friends, remember the Greatest Gift ever given, when God gave His only Son to us:

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)

As you toss out the wrapping paper and scrub the holiday dishes, remember how Jesus shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary, washing away the sins of all who believe in Him.

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

And as you look upon the lights of Christmas, oohing and awhing at the displays in your town, remember to look to Jesus, the Light of the world, the author and finisher of our faith…

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember today the Baby who came in a manger, God in the flesh,  born to a virgin, to save the whole world.  Remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He grew to be a Man, fully perfect, without blemish, the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.  And so He gave His life for ours on the Cross. When you look at the Cradle, remember the Cross of Christ this Christmas, my friend.

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

Graham, B. (1997). Just As I Am. San Francisco: Harper Collins/Zondervan (p.243)

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

Some uncommon Christmas carols…

Thank You for the Cross with Matt Redman

The Old Rugged Cross