Bike Helmet of Salvation

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV)

Last fall I had the joy of sharing this message with my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. Now that spring is here and summer is on the way, more kids are out bike-riding, so it is a good time to share this message again.

Over 25 years ago, I attended a MOPS group in Cincinnati, Ohio while my husband Kent worked for the Cincinnati Nature Center.  One week the guest speaker was an emergency room doctor.  He told us of all the head injuries he saw from children not wearing bike helmets and implored us to make our children wear bike helmets. 

My kids were only three-years and new-born at the time, but the message stuck with me.  I made them wear helmets all their growing up years.  Our son Kevin road his bike around the camp where we lived from home to dining hall to craft cabin so much that he just left his bike helmet on all day.   Bless dear Jacob who continued to wear his helmet as a teenager while skateboarding, even when the other boys quit wearing them.  Today my kids still wear helmets, including my second-grade son Joel in this recent picture near our home (taken just before Montana turned green this spring).

Today I want to share about a dear friend who forgot her helmet one day.  Paulette is a huge part of my testimony, encouraging me as a young believer. She opened her heart and home to me and kept writing to me for years in her delicate handwriting. 

Fourteen years ago, Paulette was critically injured after falling off her bicycle. She was riding a regular bike just a few blocks from her home to her daughter Kelley’s house. When the pavement ended and she hit gravel, something caused her to fall – HARD – on her left side. Paulette was not wearing a helmet. Her head received the full impact just above and behind her left ear, which caused her brain to hit against the right side of her skull and a blood clot immediately began forming.

Paulette had emergency surgery to remove the clot and a small portion of the right part of her brain.  Along with other broken bones, doctors didn’t expect her to live. But today, 14 years later, by God’s grace and miracles, Paulette is cared for by her loving husband and caregiver.  She communicates only through her eyes and little sounds, and cannot move or care for herself. 

Before the accident, Paulette verbally witnessed for Jesus. Today Paulette and her family are a witness for the faithfulness of Jesus in the midst of trials, and they tell people to WEAR YOUR BIKE HELMET! 

Just as we all should wear a helmet when bike-riding, we all need God’s Helmet of Salvation to keep us safe in this world. God’s armor protects us from an enemy who attacks our minds, making us doubt, worry, question, not trust, be anxious and so on. Just as the helmet protects a biker’s head, the Helmet of Salvation protects our minds. Putting on your Helmet of Salvation proclaims you are a child of God.

How do we put on our Helmet of Salvation? A jailer asked that very same question in Acts 16. When the prison doors miraculously opened, Paul and Silas didn’t try to escape. The prison guard asked,

…“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 (NKJV)

That’s all we need to do: BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9-10 goes on to say…

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

Moms and grandmas, you have the perfect age kids with whom you can share Jesus and bike helmets. You can start your kids wearing bike helmets when they are just toddlers, so they won’t think a thing about it when they are older.  You can teach your kids about Jesus every day, praying at meals and at bedtime, reading BIBLE stories, and going on nature walks to explore God’s creation. Talk about Jesus when you sit down, when you rise up, and when you clip on those bike helmets!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Acts 16:16-34 for the amazing story of the jailer who put on his Helmet of Salvation. I plead with you, as Paul, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Pray to Jesus now, asking Him to be your Savior . Welcome to God’s family, dear sister! I hope you and your children will eagerly wear your Helmets of Salvation, as well as your bike helmets!

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 (NKJV)

Look to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. Isaiah 45:22

… Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29 (NKJV)

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

Plague Upon Plague, Hope Upon Hope

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Our country and world have been besieged by the Coronavirus and quarantines this spring, disrupting the lives of many and causing grief and depression to those who have lost loved ones and jobs. As I read my Bible, I see how plagues such as COVID-19 are not a new thing.

You are probably tired of hearing about plagues.  You would rather read about summer time and beaches and picnics and healthy children.  Yet here I am writing about plagues again, because God showed me some cool truths in His Word. And because He gives us HOPE.

Do you remember what God used to rescue His people from Egypt? PLAGUES!  Ten Plagues! (Blood, frogs, lice, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of firstborn son, Ex. 7-10).  Could God be using plagues to rescue His people again? After they escaped Pharaoh, the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land because of the giant people, so God sent another plague upon them. During this plague, Moses prayed…

“Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the LORD said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Numbers 14:19-21 (NKJV)

Moses prayed for their forgiveness which ended the plague. We should be praying for forgiveness, too! During another plague when the people were grumbling against the two leaders…


Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.” Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped. Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died in the Korah incident. So Aaron returned to Moses at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, for the plague had stopped.Numbers 16:46-50 (NKJV)

The incense stopped the plagues. Our prayers are like that INCENSE! In both the Psalms and Revelation, our prayers are described as incense…

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.Psalm 141:2 (NKJV)

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8 (NKJV)

God sent another plague when David took an unnecessary census of the people…

So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 2 Samuel 24:15-16 (NKJV)

And do you know what was built at the place where the plague stopped, on that threshing floor? The Temple of the Lord! And when King Solomon dedicated the Temple he prayed,

Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men).1 Kings 8:38-39 (NKJV)

As King Solomon proclaimed, we all have a plague in our own hearts. We need to turn to the Temple and pray and He will forgive! Where is that Temple? Jesus is the Temple! (Rev. 21:22) Therefore…let us lay aside every weight and sin that so easily ensares us (Heb. 12:1). For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

Jesus is the cure, friends!  Jesus is the One to forgive our sins, end the plague, and heal our land.  He is the One who will put our lives back together.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Because of His saving work on the cross, we are washed clean by His blood.  Jesus is our Hope upon Hope! He gives us hope to make it through each day, and hope of eternal life in heaven. Turn to Jesus in prayer today!  

Today’s TEA CUPP: Prayer is the first step in stopping the plague across our land, first confessing our own sins to the Lord, and then confessing the sins of our nation. Our prayers are the incense that will end the plague. To God be the glory and may He heal our land!

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. Romans 12:12

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like Tea by the Temple and The Door of Hope. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!

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



Beach Prayer

Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. Isaiah 24:15 (NKJV)

I’m hooked on beach running.  Sadly, I live in the land-locked (yet beautiful) state of Montana where the nearest ocean is a two-day drive.  If I had grown up near the beach, there might have been no moving me to higher ground. 

There is just something about the rhythmical crash of waves on the shore, the dodging of the tide as it ascends the beach, the warm sun shining down upon my face, and the joy of miles of sand upon which to run.

A few months ago, I experienced all this as we visited our son in California.  Each morning I slipped out of our tent before sunrise to have my quiet time on a bench overlooking the Pacific, praying Isaiah 24:15 (above).

Then donning my running shoes, I jogged down to the beach where I ran in the newly-washed sand on the shore, making fresh footprints with each step.  When I reached the turn-around point and came back, I witnessed a marvel,  most of my footprints had already been washed away!  This reminded me of Jesus washing away our sins.  Each footprint of doubts and worries and anger and wrong words is washed into the depths of the sea, gone forever!

…You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

And if you are concerned about those sins just floating around, waiting to be washed up onto another beach, find hope in Revelations 21:1 where we learn the entire sea disappears! First, our sins are drowned in the ocean and then the ocean is no more! That’s how complete is our forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

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)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  As you head into a new year, cast your sins of the old year at the feet of Jesus.  Confess your failings to Him in prayer, asking Jesus to wash you clean. Claim Jesus’ promise to throw your sins into the depths of the sea.  Ask Him to help you every step of the way this new year.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

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

Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth,
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Isaiah 42:10 (NKJV)

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

 

Bible Mom: Admitting with Eve

…she took of its fruit and ate… Genesis 3:6

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20

Oh, Eve, why did you do it?

Oh, Eve, why did you listen to the serpent?

Oh, Eve, why did you even talk to that rascal the devil?

Oh, Eve, why did you look at the tree and then stretch out your hand?

Oh, Eve, why did you pluck the fruit and take a bite?

Oh, Eve, why did you give some to Adam?  And Adam, why didn’t you throw that fruit on the ground and be a strong spiritual leader for your family, asking God to forgive Eve?

Oh, Eve, why did you hide from God in the garden, didn’t you know He always see you?

Oh, Eve, why did you blame the serpent instead of admitting your sin?

Oh, Eve, how did you feel when God told you that in pain you would bring forth children?  Do you know a lot of moms would like to talk to you about that!

Oh, Eve, were your first clothes scratchy and heavy?  Weren’t you sad that God killed some of your animal friends to make those clothes?  That was the very first time blood was shed for sins.

Oh, Eve, did you hear in God’s curse on the serpent a promise?  (Genesis 3:15) From your Seed God will send a Savior to bruise the serpent Satan’s head!

Oh, Eve, how did you feel when God kicked you and Adam out of His beautiful garden and put cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the gate?

Of Eve, do you know how much all your daughters are just like you?  We all need the Savior from your Seed, Jesus, who shed His blood once for all and crushed the serpent’s head. 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the whole story of Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3. What forbidden fruit have you been eating? What sin do you need to cast off?  This is what the “A” part of the TEA CUPP is all about, admitting our sins to Jesus and asking for His forgiveness.  By using God’s Word to admit our sins, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. For some wonderful Bible verses to pray, please check out “I’m Clean!”

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. Matthew 5:30

My Coat

We all need coats, especially this time of year in the northern United States.  Each day as we don our coats to head outside, we might contemplate the coats in the Bible.  Did you know there are so many Bible coats?

The first coats: It all began when Adam and Eve listened to Satan the snake, ate the forbidden fruit, and realized they were naked. Because they had disobeyed God, Adam and Eve could no longer stay in God’s perfect garden.  But before He kicked them out of Eden, God made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins.  When God killed his dear animal friends, that was the first time blood was shed for sins, pointing to the day when Jesus would shed His blood for our sins on the Cross.  Adam’s and Eve’s animal skin coats were the first coats in the Bible.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 (NKJV)

More coats: Flip forward a few pages in Genesis to the story of Joseph.  In this passage, Joseph’s father Jacob gave him a beautiful coat, making his brothers very jealous. John MacArthur in his Study Bible tells us that Joseph was a type of Christ, pointing us to Jesus. Both had their coats taken from them and were falsely accused. Both Joseph and Jesus were shepherds of their Father’s sheep. Both were dearly loved by their Fathers, but hated by their brothers.    Both were placed with two other criminals, one who was saved and one who was lost.  And both Joseph and Jesus forgave those who wronged them and saved their nations.  What men had intended for evil, God turned to good.  And their coats played a big part of the story.

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 (NKJV)

A Spirit-filled coat:: Next jump ahead to Elijah in 2 Kings 2:13.  Here Elijah’s protegee Elisha waited to see Elijah go to heaven.  Finally, after following Elijah everywhere, Elisha watched as God took Elijah up in a whirlwind.  When he was gone, Elisha found Elijah’s cloak on the ground.  He picked it up and took it with him and God gave Elisha double the Spirit of Elijah!

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
2 Kings 2:13 (NKJV)

 A clean coat: Then in the book of Isaiah, long before Jesus even brought us salvation, Isaiah proclaimed we will have a garment of praise! We are clothed in garments of salvation and covered in robes of righteousness!  Oh, what joy!  Oh, what a promise!!! And again the prophet Zechariah promises that God gives us a clean robe.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)

Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
Zechariah 3:4 (NKJV)

The wrong coat: The prophet Zephaniah cautions us to beware of wearing foreign apparel. We must be wearing the robe Jesus gives us. This warning is echoed again in Matthew when Jesus tells the story of a king having a wedding party…

And it shall be,
In the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
That I will punish the princes and the king’s children,
And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
Zephaniah 1:8 (NKJV)

But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:11-13 (NKJV)

The healing coat: Also in the New Testament, time after time Jesus heals and heals and heals.  The people who follow Him long to just touch His coat for healing. So I pray for all on my prayer list who are need of Jesus healing, to just touch the robe of Jesus and be healed like the people in Matthew 14…

And begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
Matthew 14:36 (NKJV)

A royal coat: And finally, flip to Revelations where Jesus returns to marry His bride the church.  And just like He clothed Adam and Eve, Jesus provides the wedding garments for His bride. He gives us the whitest most beautiful robe of all, washed clean by His precious blood.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Revelation 19:8 (NKJV)

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:14 (NKJV)

Oh, Jesus, I don’t deserve it, but You gave it to me anyway — Your beautiful coat, pure and white and every color of the rainbow all at once!  Oh, Jesus, what a miracle!  You take our filthy rags and make us beautiful!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear friend, put on the righteous robe which Jesus has given you.  Thank Him for His forgiveness and healing.  Stay away from the wrong coats.  Look up these fantastic coat verses in your Bible today. And welcome the day when Jesus comes again to clothe us all in white robes and take us home!

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
(The Solid Rock by Edward Mote,1834)

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the lamb
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean
O, be washed in the blood of the lamb.
( Are you Washed in the Blood? Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also enjoy A Tale of Two Coats and Filthy Rags.

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

 

My Sauna Prayers

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings…
Malachi 4:2 (NKJV)

In January I joined a gym for the first time in my life.  It was not my idea.  I don’t like exercising indoors.  I like looking up at the big blue sky and smiling at Jesus as I run.  Treadmills are not my friends.  They don’t shine on me like God does with His sunshine.  And the numbers creep forward so slowly, except when I’m doing intervals, then the walking minutes seem much faster than the running minutes! I found the elliptical machine to be more kind than the treadmill.

But I am thankful our little town has a gym, what a blessing to so many people who need to get exercise in winter and year-round for various reasons.  There is something inspiring about the gym. Seeing others energetically exercising encourages me to press on, just as when we meet with believers at church every Sunday we are encouraged to press on in our faith. At the fitness center, people are there as part of a diabetes program, walking for their health, lifting weights to ward off osteoporosis, or training for their next Ironman.  I joined the gym for the sauna.

My doctor told me in December that I would need surgery because of benign tumors.  My oldest son did some research and convinced me to give Jesus and natural remedies a try first.  I asked many counselors (Proverbs 15:22): Friends with similar ailments, a naturopathic doctor, essential oil references, and so on, and decided to do it all with much prayer! One of the treatments is to sweat out the toxins that our bodies hold onto in a sauna.

One morning while perspiring on the top bench of this wooden room, I was praying for Jesus to heal me, to sweat out the icky stuff from me, and to shrink the tumors.  I thought how much God’s Word is like a sauna.  When we climb into it and read of His holiness and our sinfulness, we sweat out our sins.  He purifies us in the crucible of His Word!

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

And so I prayed, Dear Jesus, please sweat out these toxins from my body, and heal me.  And please forgive me, too, sweat out the toxins from my heart, all my sins and pride and selfishness and wrong words and…wash me clean with Your precious blood and fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Just as regular exercise is necessary to keep our bodies in shape, regular time in God’s Word is essential to keep our hearts pure.  Dear friend, please schedule time daily with Jesus, sharing a CUPP of TEA and reading His Word, using Bible verses to pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer.  You might have to set your alarm extra early, but even more than the gym, it is worth it!

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)

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

 

The Highest Tree

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

The tallest tree in the world is said to be Hyperion, a 379.7-foot-tall (115.7 m) redwood tree located in California, USA.  If you’d like to experience such tall trees, you might enjoy a visit to Sequoia National Park where you can see 18 of the 30 largest trees in the world. Though there are many cool facts about redwood and sequoia trees, perhaps the most intriguing is their life span.  Giant redwoods may live up to 2000 years, while giant sequoias may live up to 3000 years!  Imagine that! Some of the very trees you may visit were growing when Jesus walked on this earth!

What is it that attracts us to such tall trees?  Do we always like the biggest and best, the oldest and toughest? Perhaps it is another way of Jesus calling us to Him, through His awesome creation (Romans 1:20). Perhaps it’s because these trees point us to heaven and bring us closer to God.  Or, maybe it’s that our Savior Jesus died on such a tree, the cross of Calvary.

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

Why did Jesus do it? Why did He allow Himself to be beaten and bruised, then nailed to a cross between two thieves?  Why did the Son of the Living God not call a Legion of angels to rescue Him and denounce His tormentors?  Because He loves us. He was the only perfect sacrifice that could die for our sins.  And while on that tree, He still had compassion, saying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34)

Because of Jesus’ love and sacrifice on that tree, we have God’s forgiveness and promise of eternal life in heaven. Jesus is the only door through which we can enter heaven.  All we have to do is believe. When the sky was dark and the earth quaked and the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, the centurion proclaimed, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)  Let us do the same.

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

Today’s TEA CUPP: As you prepare to celebrate Good Friday and Easter, why not take a walk in a nearby forest or park.  There one can look up at the trees and find the tallest one that points you to heaven, while remembering the highest tree of all, our Savior Jesus’ cross.  Thank you, Jesus, for all You have done, dying for our sins on that tall tree, and making a way for us to be with You in heaven. I believe in You, Jesus!  I love You, Jesus!

Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.” Ezekiel 17:22-24 (NKJV)

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

https://www.livescience.com/29144-worlds-largest-tree.html

https://www.tripsavvy.com/redwood-forests-in-california-1478739

http://www.visitsequoia.com/redwoods-and-sequoias.aspx

Turn and Live

…“Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:32 (NKJV)

One of the toughest parts of My TEA CUPP Prayers might be the letter “A” for Admitting our sins.  It can be hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong, said the wrong words, done the wrong thing, broken one of God’s commandments, and fallen short of the glory of God.  It can be especially hard to even admit we need forgiveness, but we do.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  We’re all in need of the forgiveness that only Jesus can provide.

Yet there is Good News! Though admitting our sins is tough, we are cleansed, our burden is lifted, and we have joy and peace again.  Jesus bore our sins for us on the cross at Calvary so long ago.  When we believe in Him, He washes away all our sins and makes us His child.  Isn’t that Good News?!  So, today, if you’ve been skipping this part of your TEA time with Jesus, I urge you to turn and live!

Turn from your sins, admit them to Jesus, repent and live a new life, walking with Jesus. This sin stuff is not new, it’s as old as Adam and Eve and the serpent.  God’s people, the Israelites, fell into it often. God’s Old Testament prophets warned the people, as did Ezekiel:

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV)

Are you ready to turn and live?  How can you do it?  James tells us so well in his New Testament book.  James says…

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10 (NKJV)

Did you hear James’ points? 1) Submit to God. 2) Resist the devil. 3) Draw near to God (having TEA with Jesus each day is a great way to do this!). 4) Cleanse and purify your heart (by admitting your sins, weeping, and asking Jesus’ forgiveness). 5) Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.

And did you see Jame’s promises?  1) The devil will flee from you. 2) God will draw near to you. 3) And God will lift you up!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Turn and Live!  Dearest TEA CUPP Friend, whether you are a new believer, old believer, or a seeker, there is always something to admit to Jesus.  Give Jesus that last sin you’ve been hanging onto, let Him wash it away and give you a new clean heart.  Turn and Live!

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)

For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:32 (NKJV)

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

Jesus loves Peter, Jesus loves me

What am I thinking about as I have my TEA today?  I’m so thankful for Peter.  Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples who often messed up.  Yet Jesus always loved and forgave him.  Before Jesus went to the cross, Peter declared he would never desert Him:

Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.  Mark 14:29-31 (NKJV)

If we continue reading Mark 14, we see how Peter denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion.  How many times have I told Jesus I would shine for Him, yet then been too shy to be His witness?

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. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”  Mark 16:6-7 (NKJV)

After Jesus rose from the dead, He specifically said to tell Peter to meet Him in Galilee.  Jesus keeps calling me each day, even though I mess up, too.  He gives me second and third and hundredth chances to show I love Him.

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”  John 21:17 (NKJV)

When Peter saw Jesus on the shore after His resurrection he dove into the water and swam to Him.  Jesus told Peter three times, feed my lambs, saying “I forgive you” for the three times Peter denied Him. Jesus says “I forgive you” each day to me, too.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Jesus, thank you for Peter!  Because of Peter, I know you love me, even when I mess up.  Even when I lose faith and start to sink as Peter did. You love me. Help me always remember. Thank you, my Jesus.

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

The Impossible Call

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.