Wings of the Morning

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10 (NKJV)

I don’t like flying.  Perhaps it’s because I know firsthand planes don’t always make it home (please see my running story). I’m amazed how people fly every week for work and return safely.  They aren’t afraid, so I shouldn’t be either.  But still, it is a true test of my faith to get on an airplane and believe I will return.

This past weekend I was blessed to visit our sweet granddaughter and flying was the only way to make it happen. A 6 a.m. flight necessitated a 3:45 a.m. departure from our home, so I didn’t have my TEA time with Jesus until I was on board the plane.

There in my Bible reading for the day were these verses from Psalm 139:9-10, “If I take the wings of the morning…” Here I was flying into the sunrise, high above the earth. What more could this verse mean?  How did the author write such a perfect Psalm for me centuries before the invention of the airplane?  God’s Word is amazing!  And so I claimed His promise to hold me with His right hand.

Just a month ago I claimed these same verses for our oldest son flying to Europe as a missionary. Seven years ago I wrote our daughter’s name by these verses as she flew to Guam as an exchange student.  Parents everywhere, you can pray these verses for your children.  Especially pray Psalm 139:7-8 for your prodigals. God is holding them, too!

On my return flight home from our precious granddaughter, there was late afternoon turbulence.  It was all I could do to resist gripping the arm of the stranger next to me as the plane jostled and vibrated the passengers.  Instead, I gripped the armrest and prayed the verses again, “If I take the wings of the (evening)…Your right hand shall hold me!”  And He did!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, Jesus is holding you.  Wherever you are, in His will, out of His will, on the land or in the air or by the sea, He is with you to lead and hold you.  Underline these verses in your Bible and take comfort in His promises today.

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

…Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights! Psalm 148:1 (NKJV)

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

Hymn by Michael Joncas

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

Snowball Truths

snow1Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  Mark 13:31

Two truth snowballs hit me one day.  I was planted on the sofa by the window where I always sit for my TEA time with Jesus.  That day’s Bible reading took me to Mark 13.

Jesus was talking about the trials of the end times.  He told His followers:

 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. Mark 13:18 (NKJV)

As I read this, I glanced out the window at two feet of new March snow.  Oh, I was so tired of winter! We had such a hard season already, and now we had more snow.  To imagine fleeing tribulation in winter would be awful.  Yet persecuted Christians in other countries already endure such tragedy.

Jesus doesn’t often tell us specifically what we ought to pray except here, “Pray that Your flight won’t be in winter.” And so, since Jesus told me to, I prayed that I would not be fleeing in winter.  I prayed my loved ones and I would all be with Him before any tribulation comes. And Jesus promised me in Revelation 3:20 that He will keep me from that hour of trial. This promise is also for you!

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

A few hours later, I was at church for our Sunday service.  One of the songs was Amazing Grace with the verse:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.snow2

That afternoon, since the sun was shining and the temperature had risen, I went for a walk along the cleared highway, noticing the snow was already being eaten by the Chinook winds blowing from the mountains.  The song from church popped into my head, “The earth shall soon dissolve like snow…”

If you haven’t seen a Chinook wind’s work, please see the photos in this devotion.  The first is on a Thursday when we received almost two feet of snow. The second is three days later on Sunday when I noticed the Chinook winds starting to eat the snow.  The last is on Wednesday just six days after the two feet of snow hit us, not a speck to be seen!

The snow dissolved in a matter of hours and days!  That is what will happen to the earth in the last days, according to Scripture…

snow3But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  2 Peter 3:10 (NKJV)

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)

Can you imagine that?  All of a sudden, Jesus will come like a thief in the night.  The heavens and earth will be burned up with a loud noise, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. It could happen quicker than our snow melted!

Today’s TEA CUPP: I encourage you to read Mark 13 and Revelations over the next few days to get a bigger picture of the end times.  The battles and judgments are not something we want to endure.  Let’s look with joy and hope to Jesus’ promise of taking us to heaven first.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

Ten and nine, eight and seven,
Six and five and four,
Call upon the Savior while you may;
Three and two, coming through the clouds in bright array,
The countdown’s getting lower every day.
(a favorite Awana song)

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

Promises Outside My Window

My Tea Cupp PrayersFor since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

I am spoiled.  I live in South Central Montana where the scenery never ceases to be beautiful, where God’s creation forever proclaims His glory.  And I get to see it all outside my morning window.

As I sit on the sofa for TEA with Jesus each morning, I read my Bible, glancing out the window as I ponder His Word.  There in the early morning light are God’s promises, echoing what I’ve read in His Word.

The last star of the night is still shining above our old barn.  God declares:

  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. Revelation 22:16 (NKJV)

Two deer wander through the late-winter field, looking for some early spring plants to nibble.  I tell God:

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
 Psalm 42:1 (NKJV)

The mountains on the horizon beyond the fields catch the first rays of dawn.  And I lift up my eyes and pray:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

Patches of snow still frame our yard, having drifted under the eaves of the barn.  God promises:

Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
  Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)

Brave lily plants already poke through the bare ground, promising spring is on the way.  And God says:

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease. G
enesis 8:22 (NKJV)

The big blue morning sky stretches from East to West, as far as I can see.  And I rejoice as God proclaims:

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Head outside for a nature walk today, looking for glimpses of God and praying as you walk. Oh, Jesus, You gave us this beautiful world to enjoy and to teach us about You.  Thank You for Your wonderful promises in Your creation and in Your Word.  I love You, Jesus!

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

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

God Loves You!

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

Long before there were Emoji with every face and feeling, there were simple yellow smiley faces with four words, “Smile, God loves you!”

Do you remember seeing these on bumper stickers and binders?  They always brought a smile to my face and the thought, “That’s nice.”

But one day when I was reading the book of John, it hit me.  John 16:27 proclaims that the Father Himself (God) loves me, because I believe in Jesus.  All because I love Jesus and believe He came from God, God loves me!  Even if I mess up today and all my friends send me frowny emojis, God loves me.  He will never stop loving me.  He loves me forever into eternal life in heaven, because I love Jesus and believe He came from God.  What a wonderful promise.

The beauty of His promise is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  Jesus died for all our sins before we were even born, or knew Him, or believed in Him. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13).  That is an amazing love I hold dear in my heart forever.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, God’s promises are for you. Believe in His Son Jesus and love Him with all your heart.  Tell Him you love Him today! Smile, God loves you!

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)

 

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

Prince of Peace Tea

Peace TeaPeace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 (NKJV)

Last summer, in our family’s efforts to give up carbonated beverages with high-fructose corn syrup, we found this delicious beverage at our local store, Peace Tea.  Though the artwork on the cans is expressive of the 60’s with peace symbols and “V” fingers, the name gave me an idea.

I quickly fetched two cans from our recycling bin and snapped a photo for my website.  What could be a better flavor for My Tea Cupp Prayers than Peace Tea?  Wasn’t Jesus the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)? What can we learn by drinking Peace Tea?

My lovely Wednesday morning Bible study ladies teach me so much!  Our current study is on the book of Romans, and we just completed Chapter 5.  We learned how we, like the first man Adam, would have inherited God’s wrath because of our sins.  BUT, because of our faith in Jesus, instead we inherit PEACE and eternal life.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

As soon as we ask God for forgiveness, we have peace with Him. Even if we don’t feel at peace, we have peace because of Jesus.  And nothing can snatch us from His hands! Nothing!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

So why might we still not feel peaceful, even  though we have peace with God?  It’s this fallen world we live in!  As long as we live in this world of sin, we will have troubles, the Bible promises that:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NKJV)

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  Matthew 10:34 (NKJV)

So, what are we to do?  Keep praying!  Keep having TEA with Jesus each day.  Pour out our hearts to Him and let Him take our troubles, filling our cups to overflowing with the Prince of Peace Tea.

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)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Sip a Prince of Peace Tea CUPP today.  Ask God for forgiveness and the gift of His peace.  Let Jesus take your worries.  May the Holy Spirit fill your cup to overflowing!

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

Packed with Promises

tea cupp - PAre there times when making yourself a cup of tea, that you add a heaping spoonful of sugar or an extra dab of honey?  Or, perhaps you have cookies with your tea?  It seems there are moments when we truly need a little extra sweetness to carry us through the day.

God gives us extra sweetness in His Word.  He must know we need a big dose of His promises to carry us through the ups and downs.  Romans 8 is one of those passages that is simply packed with promises!  So, if you need a big serving of God’s sweet promises, I recommend Romans 8 for you today. Let’s take a look:

We are not condemned:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

God’s Spirit is in us:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit helps us pray:

 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

God works all things for good:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

God is for us:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31 (NKJV)

Jesus is praying for us:

It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34 (NKJV)

We are more than conquerors:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Nothing can separate us from Jesus!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: I like to underline favorite verses in my Bible as I read.  If the verse is one of God’s promises, I put a “P” in the margin next to it.  Underline these promises in your Bible today, along with any others you find.  Hide these promises in your heart and claim them as your own.

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

God With Us

easter_cross_light_2012_c1God with Us

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

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)

The book of Matthew begins and ends sharing the message “God with Us.”

My TEA CUPP Prayers are all about getting to know our wonderful Lord, sitting down daily with Him for TEA.  He promises He will be with us!

Why not in preparation for Easter, read the book of Matthew?  You can divide the 28 chapters into 7 daily readings:

Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter):  Matthew 1-4
Monday:  Matthew 5-8
Tuesday:  Matthew 9-12
Wednesday:  Matthew 13-16
Thursday:  Matthew 17-20
Good Friday:  Matthew 21-24
Saturday:  Matthew 25-28

Happy Blessed Easter Sunday, celebrating our risen Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!

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

 

Pouring a Pot of Precious Promises

2x8n  Through these He Has given us His very great and precious promises…  2 Peter 1:4 (NIV)

 Today I sit with Jesus and let Him fill my CUPP.  His teapot is brewing full of precious promises.  I see the steam rising and smell the delicious aroma.  I hold out my CUPP and pray, “Jesus, please pour me some TEA?”  He slowly tips the pot, filling my CUPP to overflowing with His precious promises.

I try to keep up with Him, repeating each promise as it comes…

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John  16:33(NKJV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

But then I ask Jesus to slow down, I might have to savor these promises and come back for more tomorrow.  My little human brain is trying to remember and embrace each one.  Jesus understands, letting these precious promises soak into me.  He will always be there with more for my every need…for comfort, for peace, for trials, for a friend, for heartaches…Jesus has a precious promise for everything.  Thank You, dearest Jesus!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, today as you read God’s Word, underline the precious promises you find.  Ask Jesus for a cupful to carry you through this next week.  It will be a most delicious CUPP of TEA!

Then they believed His PROMISES
and sang His praise.
Psalm 106:12 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Preparing Places

stage stop In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NKJV)

I’ve had a busy summer of work.  We prepare guest houses for visitors to Montana.  My husband and oldest son mow the lawns and keep the yards looking green and welcoming.  I get to clean the inside of the cabins, with help from my husband.  Sometimes it can be stressful to ready the guest houses in time.  I worry the bathmats won’t be dry before check-in, or I’ll miss a hair on the toilet seat.  Everything has to be just right, because it’s my job to prepare these places.  Does Jesus know how I feel?

Yes!  He’s preparing places, too!  Jesus promises me in is John 14:2 that He is going to prepare a place for me!  Do you think He worries I’ll show up too soon with groceries for the refrigerator?  Is He concerned about dust under the beds?  No!  He will have my room ready for me at just the right time, because He promises He will.  I wonder what it will be like…  Will there be window boxes of flowers and a big feather bed?  I can’t even imagine how wonderful it will be!

To visit the vacation houses we serve, there is a website map available for guests to follow.  Guests are cautioned not to use a GPS, for those directions take you up the wrong valley.  Where are the directions for getting to heaven?  They are right in the Bible. In this same passage, Thomas asks…“Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:5-6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Are you looking forward to the mansion Jesus is preparing in heaven?  Are you getting your heart ready for that day when  you will meet Jesus face to face? Remember, Jesus is the Way and He is preparing a place for you!  Oh, Jesus.  Find me faithful.  Forgive my sins and prepare me for heaven someday! Amen.west boulder

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

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

My Best Friend Jesus

my best friend Jesus…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brotherProverbs 18:24  (NKJV)

I always wanted a best friend.  When I was three years old I had a friend down the block named Susie Brown.  We played together, watched Sesame Street, planted pieces of wicker to grow a pretzel bush, and got into her sisters’ things.  It was fun to have such a close friend. But then Susie moved to Texas when I was six.

Over the years God sent other friends to fill Susie’s place…Andi, Michale, Jennie, Jennifer, Mary Anne, Jean, Laura, Sarah, Becky, Jill, Lisa, Nancy, Jodi, Cindy, Susan (all very special to me!!!)…but they had other friends, too.  It seemed no one needed a best friend.

Yet today I encounter folks with best friends.  My scrapbook buddy had a surprise 40th birthday party given by her best friend from high school.  My neighbor was driving to Saturday morning coffee with her life time best friend, a weekly date.  There still are best friends in the world, after all.

With my Christmas card basket full of cards, I know I do have friends.  But none are best friends.  Who will be my best friend?  God tells me it is Jesus.

Jesus is the One who is ALWAYS there for me.  He never lets me down.  He holds me when I’m sad and wipes away my tears.  He carries me on days that I can’t carry myself.  On happy days, He is there to share my joy.  When I mess up, He forgives me right away.  He promises to never leave me nor forsake me.  I’m so thankful that Jesus is my best friend!

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to youJohn 15:15 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  May the words of this old hymn bring us comfort and joy today, as we have TEA with our best friend Jesus…

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.  By Joseph M. Scriven, 1855

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