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.

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 calendar, 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

No Shadows in Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casting All Your Burdens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Fasting TEA CUPP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(The prayer King Jehoshaphat prayed to exalt the Lord)

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

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

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

C for Calling:

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P is for Petitioning:

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

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

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

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

A Tale of Two Coats

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

It was the best of coats, it was the worst of brothers, it was the age of integrity, it was the age of deceit, it was the epoch of God’s will, it was the epoch of devious plans, it was the time of Light, it was the time of darkness, it was the spring of promise, it was the winter of famine, it was the Old Testament, it was the New Testament, some were going direct to Heaven, others were going direct the other way—all because of two coats (with apologies to Charles Dickens).

This summer our pastor dug into the story of Joseph found in the book of Genesis.  So much can be gained from this one story, from forgiveness to God’s call on our lives to His provision.  The dreams of Joseph, the baker, the cup-bearer and Pharaoh are quite exciting. But perhaps the most compelling element for me this year was the two coats.

Did you know Joseph had two coats that both got him into trouble? The first coat was the coat of many colors he was given by his father Jacob.  Being one of a dozen brothers, this made the others very jealous.  So, one day when Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers in the field, they took Joseph’s beautiful colored coat and sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders. The brothers dipped the coat in animal blood to make their father Jacob assume Joseph was attacked by a wild beast. The jealous brothers had their revenge on Joseph for his beautiful coat.

So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Genesis 37:31 (NKJV)

Down in Egypt, God blessed Joseph with another coat.  There he worked for a rich man named Potiphar.  Joseph was so good at managing, Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household. But Potiphar’s wife had a crush on Joseph, because he was so handsome. She tried to seduce Joseph, to no avail.  One day while everyone else was out, she grabbed his coat and Joseph fled.  His coat remained in her hands.  With the coat as false proof, Potiphar’s wife claimed Joseph tried to attack her.  Joseph was put in prison, all because of that second coat.

And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside… Genesis 39:13 (NKJV)

Two coats. Two troubles.  Poor Joseph must have wondered where God was in the midst of this.  But Joseph remained faithful in serving the Lord and was eventually promoted from the prison to the palace. There he had the amazing task of saving all his family from famine.  You can read the entire riveting story in Genesis 37-50!

 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

Joseph’s two coats point us to Jesus’ two coats.  Jump from the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, to the first book of the New Testament, Matthew. Here in Matthew 27 we read about the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested. The soldiers replaced Jesus’ robe with a royal robe.  A crown of thorns was put on his head. The soldiers mocked Jesus and spat on Him and said He was king  (how ashamed they must have been when they realized Jesus really is the King of kings!).

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Matthew 27:28 (NKJV)

The soldiers then gave Jesus back his first robe until He went to the cross.  That next day, as Jesus hung on the cross, dying for your sins and my sins and the sins of all the world, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ coat.  So our coats could be clean, Jesus shed His blood for us.

Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:

“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”  Matthew 27:35 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  How is your coat, is it clean?  My friend, ask Jesus to forgive you and wash you clean as only He can do.  And as summer turns to autumn and you begin to wear your coat again, remember these coats from the Bible.  Thank God for the story of faithful Joseph who persevered to save His family.  Thank our Lord Jesus for making our garments clean through His precious blood He shed on the cross. Be blessed by this beautiful hymn: Washed in the blood of the Lamb

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)

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

 

There is Always a Baby

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

By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.  Psalm 71:6 (NKJV)

There is always a baby.  Have you ever noticed how many of the great Bible stories have a baby?  Adam and Eve were blessed with Seth after Cain killed Abel.  Abraham and Sarah laughed as they gladly received their promised son, Isaac, in their old age. The birth of Samson, the Israelites’ judge against the Philistines, was first announced by the Angel of the Lord to his mother, “You shall conceive and bear a son.” (Judges 13:30).  Moses, God’s leader to bring His people out of Egypt, was rescued as a baby by the Pharaoh’s own daughter. When Hannah pleaded for a son at the temple, God heard her prayers, presenting Hannah with Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord.  The prophet Elisha, wanting to bless the woman who had shown him such kind hospitality, proclaimed to her, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”  And “the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.” (2 Kings 4:16-17).

Yet, above all these babies came the BABY God sent to redeem all mankind, His very own Son Jesus.  Rather than coming as a mighty King, Jesus came as a humble baby, born to the Virgin Mary in a dirty stable, and placed in a manger, instead of a mansion.  The earthly king Herod was jealous when he heard that another King had been born, so Herod ordered all the baby boys under age two to be killed.  An Angel warned Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph to flee to Egypt and Joseph obeyed, saving Jesus so He could save all mankind.

When we look back at these Bible stories we might be amazed how babies were killed unmercifully even in Bible times.  We might think this is just a current problem with society, but abortion and infanticide have been breaking God’s heart for centuries.  For the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed…

Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”  Jeremiah 31:15 (NKJV)

Each baby and child is a precious gift from the Lord.  We don’t know the plans God has written for each one. But God has already written their stories before they are even born! We can’t snuff out this life before it comes to be because of pain or poverty or preferences, because God has a plan for every human life. That plan might include saving a nation or bringing joy to a barren family.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:15-16 (NKJV)

Some of you may be burdened with the guilt of giving into society’s leading, snuffing out the life of one of these precious babies.  I want you to know, you are loved! Jesus died for your sins, as He died for all our sins.  Believe in the name of Jesus and be free from this burden. Ask Jesus to forgive you. God loves you so much! He and your baby are waiting for you in heaven.  The ironic thing is, to be saved, Jesus tells us to come to Him as a child and be born again, just like a baby!

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: My TEA CUPP friends, I exhort you to put the lives of babies at the top of your list of things God is calling you do.  Pray for babies, volunteer at a Christian women’s center, donate to your local right-to-life organization.  Ask God where He wants you to help.  Most of all, choose life for your own babies. 

As for me, I keep praying for babies and writing for babies, and also I’m running a half marathon this fall for babies. Each mile will be for a women’s ministry center that helps mothers and babies with the love of Jesus.  I’d love to see this center spread to cities in every state.  If you’d like to support babies and sponsor me by the mile (i.e. $1/mile would be $13, $2/mile would be $26, $4/mile would be $52, etc.), please check out this link: Helping Babies and Moms with Jesus’ love

Thank you, dear friends!

 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy 30:29 (NKJV)

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

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

Rainbow Promises

I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:13-15 (NKJV)

For those familiar with the true Biblical account of Noah’s Arc, you know that the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise to never flood the whole earth again.  From the day Noah’s Arc landed on Mt. Ararat until now until forever, God’s promise remains.  He will never flood the whole earth again.

Whenever I see a rainbow, I pause to remember that promise, as well as other promises God gives us in His Word.  I remember that…

God loves me

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

God forgives my sins

…For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.  Jeremiah 31:34 (NKJV)

He will be with me always

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

He hears my prayers

I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears Isaiah 38:5 (NKJV)

He is preparing a place for me in heaven

 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)

And so many, many more!

One evening, over a decade ago, my husband took me out for our anniversary dinner to a part of Montana called Paradise Valley.  As we were driving into the valley, the setting sun was shining through the evening rain clouds, creating a double rainbow for all to admire.  My longtime heart’s prayer was to have another baby, so I claimed that double rainbow as a double promise that God would bless us with a baby.  Though there were three miscarriages and three heartbreaks in the years following, I clung to that promise. And God fulfilled His promise in His time by giving us Joel when I was 45 years old.  We are so thankful for God’s promises.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  The next time you see a rainbow, claim all God’s promises!!! Write your favorite promises in your prayer journal today.

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

Jesus, Calm the Storm!

“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:41 (NKJV)

 

We awoke at 11:23 p.m. to gale-force winds slamming my husband’s side of the tent, pressing tent fabric to his nose.  The bungee strings and tent pegs threatened to pull loose as we wondered if we would be blown across the field and highway.

Just two hours before the storm hit, we had said our good-nights to escape the mosquitoes and catch up on our sleep. It had been such a peaceful evening of roasting marshmallows and playing games by the campfire.  Now as the tent quaked around us, we remember those items we had left on the picnic table.  We peeked out of the tent and, sure enough, they were blowing away.  Quickly we unzipped and scrambled to collect our things, stowing them in the car.  Then back to the tent to hold it down and wait out the storm.

As I lay curled up in my sleeping bag, the wind continued to rage.  All I could pray was, “Jesus, please calm the storm. Jesus, please calm the storm. Jesus, please calm the storm.”  Over and over I reminded Him that even the wind and waves obey Him. I prayed for the group of bicyclists camping nearby, their bikes carefully covered with trash bags for the night, and their pup tents, like ours, rattling in the wind.  Then I started praying for those friends who are having storms in their lives, their health, their marriages, their children.  I kept on praying, “Jesus, please calm the storm.”

And after what seemed like hours, but was perhaps less than an hour, the wind died down and gentle rain drops pattered our tent.  I fell asleep, waking five hours later to the light of dawn and birds chirping. Only two tent poles were broken! Thank You, Jesus, for calming the storm!!!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41.  Ask Jesus to calm the storms in your life today. Say, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And let Jesus say to your storm, “Peace. Be still!”  Trust Jesus through every storm.

The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
 Psalm 93:4 (NKJV)

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

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! Luke 13:34 (NKJV)

In Spring 2018, the world was surprised to see United States President Trump recognize Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the original capital city.

Yet for Messianic Jews and Christians familiar with God’s Word, this came as no surprise.  For during the Old Testament reign of King David, the king took a census which God punished with a plague across the land.  The plague lasted for three days, killing 70,000  people.  But then God had mercy, commanding the angel of death to halt right at the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah) (2 Samuel 24:14-16).  King David purchased that threshing floor and built an alter to the Lord.  And that was the exact spot, the Holy Ground, God chose for King Solomon’s temple.

Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 Chronicles 3:1 (NKJV)

Fast forward to the time of Jesus. Over and over in the book of Luke we read how Jesus was headed to Jerusalem (In fact, if you read Luke with a pen in hand, you can underline the word Jerusalem multiple times). Jesus knew he had to die there for the sins of the world.  Along the way, Jesus taught the people about His Father’s love, healed the sick, and performed mighty miracles.  But Jesus never lost sight of his goal: Jerusalem.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.  Luke 9:51 (NKJV)

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Luke 13:22 (NKJV)

Jerusalem should be our goal, too.  Yet ours is a New Jerusalem, a Holy City, Zion, come down from heaven.  We long for the day when Jesus will come again to rule on earth.  Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).  Jesus will reign forever and ever in the New Jerusalem.

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16 (NKJV)

Until that day comes, we must fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), following His example with Jerusalem always as our goal. When we learn to drive, we are taught to look far down the road, not right in front of the car. By focusing on a distant point we drive straight, rather than weaving around the road.  When we follow Jesus, we also want to stay on His straight and narrow path, looking far down the road to His New Jerusalem.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Revelation 21:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What is your Jerusalem?  Is it Jesus?  Every day, through every up and down, fix your eyes on the Lord of heaven and earth. With God’s Word in your heart and on your lips in prayer, keep marching to the goal! And while we are marching, let us pray for the current situation in Jerusalem. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there 2 Chronicles 6:6 (NKJV)

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