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Archive for the ‘Call’ category

World Clip ArtThese who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:6 (NKJV)

And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  Acts 11:26 (NKJV)

The accusers were complaining about Paul and Silas turning the world upside down for Jesus, not realizing what a compliment that was.  It was also enemies of the King of kings who first coined the term “Christians,” meant to be a criticism upon those who followed Christ.  Yet today we proudly bear the name Christian and seek to turn the world upside down for Jesus.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

Our son Jacob leaves this week for a one-year mission to Europe with Campus Crusade for Christ.  Jacob and his team will be starting CRU fellowships at college campuses which have no Christian groups.  Imagine the miracles and impact this will have on our European brothers and sisters. Because of the generous support of friends and family and the people of Sweet Grass County, Montana, Jacob is able to embark on this mission.  Jacob and his team are turning the world upside down for Jesus.

Our son Kevin went to Kenya this summer with our church mission team. They spent a year raising money and they gave their time to serve these African neighbors.  Kevin’s team installed a water pipeline to bring clean water to a rural school. They also played games with the children and taught them about Jesus through a skit on the Good Samaritan.  Kevin and his team turned the world upside down for Jesus.

Our son Joel is about to begin homeschool kindergarten.  He knows his ABCs and numbers and several Bible stories.  Because of his brothers, he’s learning about countries in other parts of the world where there are children, too.  And someday, because of their example, Joel will go and turn the world upside down for Jesus, too.

And me, I’m the mom who sits down with Jesus each morning for TEA, praying for so many including our children.  Jacob was less than a year old when God called me to read my Bible and pray every day.  It is with tears of gratitude, a thankful heart and a trunk full of prayer journals, that I see the fruits of my labor in our children.  Even our daughter Kallie is teaching our granddaughter Kennedy, reading her Bible stories and singing Jesus Loves Me.  Together we are turning the world upside down for Jesus.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, never stop praying, never give up.  Always pray and persevere.  You are turning the word upside down for Jesus with every CUPP of TEA.

 Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV)

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

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

Listen to this, O Job;
Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.  Job 37:14 (NKJV)

Do you know the story of Job, how he lost everything?  He lost his children, his animals and riches, and his health, all because God had a conversation with Satan.  Then some friends came to visit Job to cheer him up but failed miserably with all their talking.  We often focus on how those friends messed up, but today I want to share what they did right, a great lesson for us all.

When you begin reading the book of Job, the friends enter in the second chapter.  This first paragraph of their visit tells all the things they did right:

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:11-13 (NKJV)

Did you notice the seven things Job’s friends did right?:

  1. They came.
  2. They mourned.
  3. They comforted.
  4. They wept.
  5. They tore their robes.
  6. They sat down.
  7. No one spoke for 7 days and nights.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Can we learn from this when we have friends who are grieving or hurting?  Yes, we can! Let’s start with the first thing they did and simply come. Sit down and listen to your friend, then cry together. Our friends will always remember how we were there and they will be comforted.  I know when I had my first miscarriage and lost our long-awaited baby, it was the friends who came and cried with me that comforted me the most.  Even my parents drove all the way across the country, just to sit in lawn chairs with me while I recovered.  Then when a friend of mine lost a baby, I knew what to do.  I came and cried with her.  My friend, just come.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15 (NKJV)

With the “C” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers being about God’s CALL, I’m always on the look-out for examples of God calling people. From Moses being called by God at the burning bush to Mary being called by God’s angel as the Mother of Jesus, there are many stories of God’s callings.

Today we read a Bible story with TWO callings. If one of the people hadn’t obeyed, the other wouldn’t have fulfilled his call either.  In Acts 9:1-19 is the famous story of Saul’s call on the Road to Damascus. Saul was a persecutor of the early Christians.  He was headed to Damascus to arrest more Christians.  But on the way, a bright light came from heaven. Saul was blinded and fell to the ground as he heard Jesus say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’

Jesus told Saul to go into town and wait at a certain house.  Saul’s friends led their blind companion into Damascus.  At the same time, God told a man named Ananias to go to Saul.  Ananias didn’t want to go because Saul might hurt him, but God assured Ananias of His call with the words, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine.”  So Ananias followed God’s call and went to see Saul. There Ananias healed Saul’s eyes and told him the Good News of Jesus. Saul was baptized and became Paul.  From there Paul went on to share Jesus with uncountable others, writing much of the New Testament of our Bible.

What if Ananias hadn’t listened to God’s call?  Paul would not have heard the Good News!  What if Saul hadn’t obeyed and gone into town?  He’d still be blind on the road and many of us would never hear about Jesus!  One story, two calls.  It is so important that we listen and obey when God calls us.  What is God calling you to do today?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read this amazing story in Acts 9:1-19.  Ask as Paul did, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”  Say as Ananias did, “Here I am, Lord.” You are God’s chosen vessel.  Pray for the courage and strength and resources to carry out God’s call. Then GO!

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

WebTherefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Mathew 5:48 (NKJV)

There it is in my Bible, God’s Word, the book of Matthew, the fifth chapter, the 48th verse… Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.  I underlined it.  I wrote the letter “C” for Call next to it.  I prayed about it.  And then I asked God, “How?!”

From writing to cleaning to even fixing my hair, I just can’t ever be perfect.  When the first copies of my book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, were released, I was dismayed to find typos, including a missing word on the very first page!  This was after several rounds of corrections before printing.  Truly just wanting to cry at falling short, I realized God was keeping me humble with my imperfect book.

Another day I was cleaning a Montana guest cabin for guests soon to arrive.  There wasn’t much time between groups, so I had to hurry to clean the guest house.  I noticed there were crumbs under the sofa cushions, so I propped them up as a reminder to myself to vacuum there.  Before I had put the finishing touches on the kitchen, the new people arrived with groceries to unpack to the fridge.  I hurried to get out of their way, laying out dish towels just so and loading my rag bag to go home.  As I drove away, suddenly the picture of those sofa cushions with exposed crumbs came to my mind.  Argh!  Once again, I wasn’t perfect.

And then there is the matter of my hair.  No amount of combing, fixing, or pulling back with clips can keep my auburn tresses in place in the blustery Montana winds.  I have a feeling that my hair won’t stay in place in any state, but I like blaming it on our mountainous gales. Whatever the cause, it is true, I’m not perfect.

If you could take a look under those messy red locks at the person inside,  you would find yet more imperfection.  As I struggle to obey all God’s commands:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

So daily, I come before Jesus for TEA and prayer, asking His forgiveness and help with His call.  And I know that one day I will finally fulfill His call to be perfect. That is the day He calls me home.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Jesus, I’m having trouble with Your call to be perfect. Every day I fall short in one way or another.  Please forgive me and wash me clean and fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to be like You.  Thank you, Jesus.  I claim your promise to make me new.  Amen.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16  (NKJV)

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

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

 

come to the waterJesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

 Today I want to re-run this beautiful hymn for you. In this mud-slinging election year, and every day of every year, what our hearts and souls truly long for is the pure water of Jesus Christ. If you have access to Youtube, you can click on the link below, or just read the lyrics.  The chorus of this hymn, sums up God’s invitation to you…“Come to the water.”

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat… Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

That’s what My TEA CUPP Prayers are all about…come to the Water each day and drink deeply of the CUPP Jesus gives you.  Stand by His side in prayer. He won’t deny you.  He’ll wipe away your tears and comfort you and carry you to the next day.

Come to the Waters

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows,
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.”

Your goodness so great I can’t understand,
And, dear Lord, I know that all this was planned;
I know You’re here now, and always will be,
Your love loosed my chains and in You I’m free;
But Jesus, why me?

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.”

Jesus, I give You my heart and my soul,
I know that without God I’d never be whole;
Savior, You opened all the right doors,
And I thank You and praise You from earth’s humble shores;
Take me, I’m Yours.

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.” 
(Hymn, author unknown)

TODAY’S TEA CUPP:  Accept Jesus’ call and invitation to come.  Drink deeply of the Living Water by reading His Word, the Bible.  Commit to a regular prayer TEA time with Jesus each day.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  John 4:15 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

j0155But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

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

My dear Tea Cupp friends, today I want to encourage you to have TEA with Jesus first thing in the morning, as the sun is rising.  I know days get hectic, and some mornings the baby wakes up sick, and all kinds of other events clutter the morning hours.  But we are better armed for the battle, if most days we start by meeting Jesus for a quiet cup of tea.

Can you set the alarm a half hour early? Don’t check your smart phone or the the news.  Just heat the tea kettle, pour yourself a hot drink, and curl up on the sofa with your Bible and mug.  Here you will find the Word you need for the day. Here you will find strength for whatever you face.  Here you will find grace and mercy and joy and peace and wisdom and power and…….we find it all at the foot of Jesus’ cross, in God’s Word, the Bible, in the whisperings of  the Holy Spirit.

There are so many benefits to having a quiet time with Jesus at the beginning of each day.  Here are a few…

  • Jesus is First!  We always want our priorities to match our lives and vice versa.  If we really want Jesus to be first in our lives and hearts, we have to put Him first each day.  Give your Best Friend the start of your day!
  • Before the chaos.  We know how the unexpected can happen every day.  The phone rings with bad news, or maybe it is good news that takes time to relate.  The washing machine overflows. There is a knock at the door.  So many things can happen as the day goes on.  Meet with Jesus early before the chaos of the day.
  • A fresh start.  If you’re like me, there is always something from yesterday that needs forgiving, a wrong thought, a wrong word, impatience, etc.  Ask Jesus for forgiveness and strength for the new day.  Maybe this day will go better!
  • Marching orders for today.  It’s sure good to get directions for the day, before it begins.  If Jesus has a special calling for you, you’d like to know so you can be ready.  Sometimes He reminds me to text a friend or pray for a family member.  Other times there is a bigger call.  Keep a notebook handy to jot down any messages.
  • Leave your worries with Jesus.  Perhaps you couldn’t sleep last night because you were worried.  Don’t let those worries ruin your day.  Pour out your heart to Jesus and leave those worries with Him.  Petition the Lord for all on your prayer list.  Know that God has you covered today.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Come, come sit at His feet this morning. Pour a cup of tea. Start your day with Jesus.

In the Morning When I Rise Give Me Jesus

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters… Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  John 7:37-38 (NKJV)

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

 

Kennedy new bornBefore I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you… Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

Here I sit at the library, working on My TEA CUPP Prayers, as I try to do every week.  My dear husband is home with our two youngest boys, working on projects in the garage.  They are refurbishing the old crib that was used by all four of our children.  As I write this, our daughter, our oldest child, is at a hospital in Wisconsin, preparing to deliver our first grandchild, a sweet little girl, named Kennedy Grace.

Oh, how we love her already, our precious grandchild! We love her before we even know her.  Isn’t that how it is with Jesus.  He loved us before we even knew Him, dying for our sins and giving us new life.  And so I pray for precious Kennedy to love and know Jesus, too.  He already knows her.  He knew her before He even formed her in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  And God knit her together inside our daughter, making her wonderful (Psalm 139:13).

If only all babies could be loved as much as this little girl will be! Her paternal grandparents are on a plane right now to see her. We will see her soon, too. How we long to hold her!  A charming nursery is decorated and filled with gifts from so many who love her.  What a beautiful welcome for a beautiful little girl!

This same day, friends are finally welcoming home their adopted twins from the Congo.  They prayed and waited over two years for these boys.  How happy their hearts are now!  Just yesterday, other friends welcomed their tenth child!  What a joy!  And all of these are on my Thursday prayer list for Marriage/Babies.  Yay, Jesus!  He sent so many blessings in one day!

Yet, not all babies get such a homecoming. I hurt for all the babies that won’t be born.  I cry for all the babies that come into the world unwanted.  And I wonder what God is calling me to do?  What is He calling us to do?

God is calling for us to be a voice for the babies, to cry out that abortion is wrong, that there are many families with open arms who will welcome these children.  He is asking us to be the ones with open arms. Rachel is still weeping for her children and won’t be comforted until we help these little ones (Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:18).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Will you join me in praying for babies?  Will you join me in speaking out for the little ones?  Will you join me in opening your arms to welcome them? Jesus invites you to be part of His healing.

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Matthew 10:14 (NKJV)

p.s.  We thank Jesus for precious Kennedy Grace who was born healthy and strong, at 9 lb. 20 3/4 inches!  Mommy, Daddy and baby are all well.  So blessed!

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

 

afraid to tellSo they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

It happens every spring when I read the Easter story from the book of Mark.  I’m taken back to a time when I said nothing to anyone, because I was afraid.  Perhaps you have a similar story.

We were at a church camp conference in Georgia with the theme, “This is My Story.”  Whenever there was a lull between events, the crowd would launch into a lively rendition of the old hymn.  “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long…”  The song still rings in my heart almost two decades later.

Between singing and game workshops, maintenance manuals, recipe exchanges and all the other information you need to run a church camp, there was a delightful morning Bible study.  I wish I could remember the name of the speaker who led this, an energetic, Asian-American dynamo.  She ran us through the life of Jesus in the book of Mark, because that is Mark’s pace.  She explained to us how most scholars believe the last twelve verses were tacked on later, so Mark 16:8 is really the final verse.  And what does this verse tell us?

So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

Who were these people?  Mark 16:1 tells us they were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  They didn’t know how they would move the big stone that blocked the tomb.  So when they arrived, they were so surprised to see the stone already rolled away.  An angel in the tomb told them, “He is risen!”

Isn’t that the best news of all!  Would you run tell all your friends?  Well, according to Mark, these women were afraid and didn’t tell anyone at first.  I wonder how many of us are like that.  Do we know the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, but are too scared to tell others?

The Bible study speaker challenged me to not be afraid to tell my story.  That very day I wrote my story in my journal.  The next Christmas I sent it out with our Christmas cards.  Today I continue to look for ways to tell others about the love of Jesus, how He saved me by dying on the cross, and that He is risen.  Many days, I’m still afraid, but the Holy Spirit nudges me to share more and more. Are you being nudged, too?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Mark 16 today.  Celebrate the Good News that Jesus is Risen!  Then find someone to tell the Good News of how Jesus has helped you.

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”  Mark 16:6 (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)

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

Kisses from KatieAnd the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

We are forever changed.  All whose lives have been touched by Katie Davis in Uganda, and all who read her book here in the USA, will never be the same. We can’t return to our “normal” lives, without realizing how much more God has for us.  I invite you to be changed forever, too, as you read Katie’s incredible story.

This blessing came to me at my Wednesday Bible study where the women are passing around a book entitled Kisses from Katie. The ladies say they can’t put it down. It’s finally my turn to read it, and they are right.  As I keep telling myself, “just one more chapter,”  Katie is adopting “just one more child,” sharing the love of Jesus with the people of Uganda.

Katie, an American teenager from Nashville, Tennessee, president of her senior class and homecoming queen, gives up everything to follow Jesus’ call to care for the orphans.  Over and over, Katie relates how she is just a normal person, who says “Yes” to God’s call.  Completely honest and transparent, Katie shares the joys and trials of her new found ministry.

Learning to be a mother and run a non-profit at the age of 19 has quite the learning curve, as Katie shares her experiences. From rats and cockroaches, to HIV and scabies, to caring for the worst poverty, one might think that God gave Katie super-human powers. But as Katie relates (p. 135)…

“I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle.  Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.”

Along with her engaging narrative, Katie shares Bible heroes from David to Jonah to Paul. She writes how God met their needs, and He is caring for her and her adorable children, too. Katie has a thorough grasp of scriptures and the truth, which is also the name of her ministry, Amazima.  Above all, Katie lives out the truth of the Gospel every minute of every day, pouring out God’s love, exhausted or not, (“with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”).

Everyone should read this book — moms, dads, teenagers, homeschoolers, college students, Bible scholars, youth leaders, grandparents, the average Joe.  Your heart will be broken for these dear people in Uganda and around the world, who need the unconditional love of Jesus.  Kisses from Katie will inspire, challenge and encourage us all to do more for God’s kingdom, more than we ever imagined. Yes, we are forever changed.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

For more information on Katie’s ministry, check out her website: http://katiedavis.amazima.org/

Davis, K. (2011). Kisses from Katie. Nashville: Howard Books.

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

 

aPeanutsThe angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:28 (NKJV)

This past Christmas marked the 50th anniversary of the beloved Christmas television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I am among those who love the Peanuts gang and still sit down with my family every Christmas holiday to watch their shows, including Linus’ famous oratory from the book of Luke.

We have the show on DVD, along with another Peanuts Christmas show, It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown. This sequel, though not as famous, has a line from Marcie that should be repeated to us all.

The scene is a classroom. Peppermint Patty, sitting in front, turns to tell Marcie that she will ask the teacher to let her be Mary in the Christmas program. Marcie replies that the teacher already offered her the part yesterday. But Peppermint Patty is not listening. She continues to talk about the story and how the angel Gabriel will come to visit her.

Marcie replies, “Why would the angel Gabriel talk to you? You never listen!”

You can watch the scene at about 7 min, 17 seconds into this clip from youtube…

Marcie’s words may strike a chord with us all.  “Why would the angel Gabriel talk to you? You never listen!”  Are we listening when God tells us to do something? To talk to the stranger, to visit a friend, to lend a hand?  I know I am guilty of closing my ears so many times.  But we can ask Jesus for His forgiveness and another chance.  And who knows, if we are listening, perhaps an angel will visit us someday!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  As you read your Bible and dig into God’s Word today, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and verses Jesus may have for you. Underline those verses and pray about what God is calling you to do next.  Then reply as Mary did

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

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

Peanuts and Marcie and Peanuts Characters are trademarks of Charles M. Schultz.

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown is distributed by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Company.