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

How Priceless!

How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 36:7 (NIV)

Our little kindergartner Joel is into money now.  One of his favorite games is The Allowance Game where players try to be the first person to earn $20.  Sometimes when you roll the die, you are sent to spend $2.25 on school supplies, when you’d rather wash the car to earn $1.30.  But eventually, with enough odd jobs, birthdays, and swinging past home for your $3 allowance, you can earn the $20 needed to win the game.

Joel also has his oldest brother’s savings bank.  This bank has three compartments, one for the church, one for the bank, and one for the store. We paid Joel a nickel for every nail he found in our yard after the house we rent was resided.  Joel takes great pride in dividing up his earnings and taking an offering to Sunday school each week.  Money is lots of fun.

But there are some things on which you just can’t put a price.  Number One is Jesus’ love.  Psalm 36:7 proclaims, “How priceless is Your unfailing love.”  Isn’t that so true!  God stepped out of heaven as Jesus the Son, just to live and die and live again for us.  His disciple Judas Iscariot thought he could put a price on Jesus, giving away Jesus’ location for thirty pieces of silver.  But even that was the wrong price, as Judas regretfully learned.  No price can be put on the love God has for us.  You can’t buy His love.  It’s a free gift.  He offers it to you, My TEA CUPP friend.  Hold out your heart and let God fill it with His priceless love.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).  Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV)

This reminds me of an old camp song we used to sing, “Lord, You are more precious than silver, Lord, You are more costly than gold, Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You!”

Today’s TEA CUPP: Today, tell Jesus how priceless He is to you…O Jesus, how priceless is Your unfailing love!  I love You, but Your love is so much greater.  You died for us.  You care about every detail of our lives.  You are preparing a place for us in heaven.  O Jesus, I love and praise You!

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NKJV)

The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Psalm 119:72 (NKJV)

(NIV) Scripture from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

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

Thank You Psalms

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8 (NKJV)

When spring finally comes to Montana after a very long winter, our hearts overflow in thanksgiving to Jesus. The bright blue skies promise an end to snow storms. Drifts melt into puddles, making way for green fields.  The daffodils and tulips raise colors in praise to their Creator.  And my heart sings for joy that winter is over!

This is the perfect time to read a Psalm of thanks, remembering all the blessings Jesus has sent us.  Psalms 107 or 136 are great places to begin.  I love the rhythm of these Psalms, how they repeat and we may add our own lines of thanks…

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:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever— Psalm 136:1-7 (NKJV)

When I go running on a beautiful spring morning, my heart is bursting with thanks for the mountains, the blue skies, the green fields, the bright sunshine…I like to sing a song in my head as my feet pound out the rhythm…

Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my King.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my Lord.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What song of thanksgiving has God put in your heart? Begin today by reading Psalm 107, 136 or another Psalm.  Select a favorite verse to write in your prayer journal and pray to Jesus.  Let this verse be your conversation starter as you thank the Lord for the many blessings He has given you.  Perhaps you’d like to write your own “Thank You Psalm” to God.

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

Put Your Friends on the Mat!

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

One of my favorite Bible stories to act out with preschoolers is the one in Mark 2.  In this amazing story we read how four friends put their friend on a mat and brought him to Jesus.  However, this was not a simple task! The house was so crowded they could not get inside.  Not to be turned away, the four friends carried their paralyzed friend on the mat up to the roof, dug a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend right down before Jesus! 

And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. Mark 2:4 (NKJV)

The first time we read this with our children, we acted it out with a blanket and a large rag doll.  We climbed up a slide, holding the four blanket corners, and lowered the rag doll down to “Jesus.”  Then we repeated Jesus’ words, “Your sins are forgiven.  Arise, take up your bed and walk.” What a powerful picture this leaves us as we think of bringing friends to Jesus!

And so, one day during my TEA with Jesus, I decided to use the mat to carry family and friends to Him.  I drew a mat in my prayer journal and wrote their names, some with a longer request nearby.  I “lowered them all through the roof” to Jesus

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the healing story in Mark 2:1-12.  Draw a rectangle in your prayer journal or on a piece of paper.  Write the names of those you want to bring to Jesus today.  Sometimes you might be the one who needs to be brought to Jesus (like when you are sick or have lost a loved one). At these times, allow your friends to put you on the mat and carry you to Jesus.

Lord, I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.  Psalm 88:9 (NKJV)

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

Bold Ladies

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

They were  bold ladies.  Their names were Achsah and Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tizrah.  In a time where men led and fought and had their names recorded in God’s Word, it is a pleasant surprise for us to see women mentioned and rewarded for their efforts.  In just a few chapters of Joshua (which might lose the reader with the descriptions of property division in the Promised Land), we see ladies being bold and asking for their family property.

Give me a blessing

First, in Joshua 15:16-19, we read about Caleb’s daughter Achsah dismounting her donkey and saying to her father, “Give me a blessing,” asking for springs of water to go with her land.  And Caleb granted her request. This story is told again in Judges 1:15.  Of course, her father had just given her away in marriage as a prize for the soldier who conquered Kirjath Sepher, Caleb’s land.  Seems like his daughter had it in her favor to ask for a blessing!

Give us a possession

Then in Joshua 17:3-6, we read the story already told in Numbers 27 about the daughters of Zelophehad of the tribe of Manasseh.  Zelophehad had no sons, so his daughters felt he was still entitled to land.  The five sisters boldly came forward and asked Moses, Eleazar the Priest, and Joshua for land.  Moses took their request before the Lord, and God said, “You shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers” (Numbers 27:7). These ladies received their request, all because they came forward boldly.

Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”  Numbers 27:4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Is God calling you to be bold in anything?  So often I focus on verses like Philippians 4:6 to be gentle, that I forget there are other virtues to attain.  So, I go boldly to the throne of grace, asking Jesus to help me be gentle, yet bold for Him. Dear TEA CUPP friend, I encourage you to be bold for Jesus, too!

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

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

Shoes of Promise

And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV)

Does your front entryway look like ours with a big pile of shoes?  Shoes that are coming, shoes that are going, work shoes, play boots, running shoes for the motivated, old Crocs for taking out the trash, and slippers for relaxing.  But most importantly, shoes to keep us on God’s path. How can shoes keep our feet on the straight and narrow?  The best way is to start the day reading your Bible before you even put on your shoes!

1994 was the first year I read my Bible from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.  I remember, because that was the year our little Jacob turned one.  And every year since then, I continued to read God’s Word, some years reading a One Year Bible, broken up into daily readings.  Other years, I’d read a regular Bible, while using a reading guide to mark off what I’d read.  It was always easy starting out, for Genesis has the exciting stories of Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph’s dreams.  The momentum of those stories can carry your feet through Exodus where Moses leads God’s people out of Egypt.  But when you reach Leviticus, things can slow down as you tip toe through the many laws laid out for the Israelites.  That’s why I’m delighted when I find verses in Leviticus that God uses to inspire me.  It’s a reward for the long pages of reading.

But you have to read all the way to Leviticus 26 for today’s special promises!  In My TEA CUPP Prayers (pp.98-99) I mention how God gives us calls with promises.  If we do this call, God promises this promise.  Here in Leviticus 26:3 we read a seemingly straight-forward call with amazing promises.

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them...Leviticus 26:3 (NKJV)

God’s call is this: If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them.  That’s it.  We have to walk in His Word.  Obey His commandments.  And do what God tells us. Doesn’t sound too complicated, but as we all know, we can’t do it.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even our best efforts, fall short of God’s glory.  But because we have Jesus’ forgiveness, we are made righteous and can claim the promises that follow in Leviticus 26.

These 10 promises include:

  1. Rain
  2. Produce and fruit
  3. Threshing and vintage shall last until next season
  4. Eat until you are full
  5. Dwell in safety
  6. Peace
  7. No evil beasts or swords
  8. Enemies will fall
  9. God’s favor
  10. God will dwell with us

Aren’t those promises you want to hold on to?  In the rural community where we live, such promises for rain and harvest are truly appreciated.  Even a person in the city is glad to have food to eat and to be able to dwell in safety.  And we are all thankful for God’s favor and dwelling with us. As the Psalmist said,

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Levitcus 26:1-13 and claim God’s wonderful promises as you have TEA with Jesus today. Then, when you put on your shoes, ask Jesus for His help in keeping on His path, and for His forgiveness when you fall short.  Pray Psalm 25:4, Show me Your ways, O LordTeach me Your paths.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
And He shall direct your paths.
 Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

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