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.

 

Leave No Doubt

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (NKJV)

It seems that as we get older, we attend more funerals and memorial services for loved ones, friends and acquaintances in our town, some departing too soon.  The pastors leading the services always do a beautiful job of sharing memories of the departed and comfort for those left behind. We are especially comforted if we know the person is in heaven with Jesus.

I remember when my college cross country team died in a plane crash, I knew my coach was in heaven because of his life.  Whenever we came home from meets I was always the last one to be dropped off, giving Coach plenty of time to share his faith.  Coach Ron would talk long and serious about things I did not understand, yet I knew they were important.   When he wasn’t planning our next big workout, he served at his church.  Coach Ron had a dream to start a Christian running camp in northern Wisconsin. Because of his faith and example, I know my coach is with Jesus and will be there when I get there, too.

Every once in awhile, though, there is someone who we aren’t sure where she stood in her faith journey. We wonder if he is with Jesus.  We pray she is in heaven.  We ask God to comfort us and assure us he is with Jesus. But we just aren’t sure.

So, I want to encourage you today to LEAVE NO DOUBT when it is your turn to go.  Make sure that while you are living, people know you love Jesus.  Tell them how you study your Bible and meet with Him each day for prayer. Let them see the fruit of your faith in good works. Share how you are looking forward to the day when He comes to take you home.  Then, when it is your turn to leave this world, your friends and family will have NO DOUBT that you are now in heaven having TEA with the King of kings!!!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Confirm your eternal destination today by praying with Jesus.  Invite Jesus into your heart to forgive you and guide your remaining earthly days.  Then tell a friend about this heavenly TEA party so she can join you there, too!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

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 the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)

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

Pebble Pocks in My Palms

When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12

Why was my nose in the dirt?  Lying face down on the gravel road with pebble marks in my hands and knees, I wondered, “What happened?” Just a split second before I was running and praying for my neighbors.  How had my feet slipped?  My shocked body just wanted to lie in the dust, but my brain told me to get up. So, I pulled my bruised flesh off the rocky ground and hobbled home.

Having a good cry on the sofa was a welcome idea, but then I remembered my busy schedule and this was my only chance to go running.  So, with band-aid help from my dear husband and youngest son, I was soon out the door and running again, this time on the smooth highway, managing to squeeze in five miles before breakfast.

Still, a week after my running fall, I could feel the pebble pocks in my palms and see the bruises on my legs, a reminder of God picking me up. I know it could have been so much worse, as friends have been through broken arms, fingers, legs, ankles, and concussions this year.  But God let me feel it in my hands to remind me of his Son Who also has marks in His hands.  His marks proclaim how He died for the sins of all the world.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Jesus died for you, my friend.  He has nail holes in His hands to remind us of His sacrificial death on the cross.  All who believe in Jesus are saved and will live forever with Him in heaven.  Today, let Jesus pick you up from wherever you have fallen. Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9 (NKJV)

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

Afraid to Tell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

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

30 Years Ago Today My Life Changed Forever

aISUThis Saturday I will run in the Cowpoke Stampede in Melville, Montana in honor of my Savior Jesus and the lives He took 30 years ago, so that I could live.  I share again my testimony in tribute to these dear souls: Coach Ron Renko, Coach Pat Moynihan, Runners Sheryl Maahs, Julie Rose, Sue Baker, Trainer Stephanie Streit, and their Pilot Burt Watkins. I can’t wait to see you all in heaven!

I run in the path of Your commands,
for You have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32 (NIV)

My life changed forever 30 years ago today.

November 25, 1985 was a day of victory, ice and death.

This is my running story.

I was not always a runner.  I was the one with the side ache walking at the tail end of the grade school PE class.  I was the one who could never hope to qualify for the presidential fitness award.  I was so slow!  But something happened in late junior high.  I discovered I had something that was needed to be a long distance runner…perseverance.  And so I left the sprinters to their fast legs and joined the distance runners.  Slowly, slowly the side aches went away and I learned how to run.  In high school, my coach, my team and my workout became the centerpiece of my life.  I was dedicated to a fault, always running my complete workout, never cutting corners, such perfection was my religion.

When I headed to college, I wanted to continue running so I walked-on as a cross country runner at Iowa State University.  Twice a day I met with my coaches and team for workouts, running dozens of miles a week.  I was the slowest one.  When the team did 1000 meter repeats, I would finish my 1000 meters just when they were leaving for their next 1000 meters.  I would run up and down the hills crying at the end of the line, but I kept running.  And the miles paid off by spring of my freshman year when I ran a 38 minute 10K!   I kept on running for my coaches and my team, they were like a family to me, they were my church, until that November day of my sophomore year…

The sidewalks in Ames, Iowa were glazed with ice as my teammates and I ran our afternoon workout. We were on our own this day because our coaches and faster teammates were at the National meet in Wisconsin. We thought of them as we jogged along, mostly in the grass because the walks were so slick.  After running together as a team twice a day for months, we felt a strong connection to our teammates at the National meet, even though we weren’t there.  As we dutifully completed our workout in the fading light of this November afternoon, we hoped to hear news of their victory at Nationals.

Instead, what interrupted the TV shows that evening was news of a tragedy.  I lived at home with my family still, and was watching TV in our basement with my brother, before diving into another evening of homework.  Part way through our favorite show, newscasters broke in with a special news announcement:

“A plane has plummeted from the icy skies and crashed in a yard in Des Moines, Iowa.  It was one of three planes returning with the ISU athletes after a second place finish at the National Cross Country meet.”

I ran screaming up the stairs, unable to believe such awful news.  I called my teammates at the dormitory who had just heard the news also.  We decided to meet at the Student Union chapel for prayer, an amazing act for a public university team.  We met and cried and prayed, not knowing who was on the plane that had crashed, and me not truly understanding the ONE to whom we prayed.

The next day we were called together for a meeting with the athletic department.  There we embraced our teammates who remained, and there we heard the news of who was lost. That single accident took the lives of seven dear people, and changed the lives of all those who knew them:  My two coaches, three teammates, athletic trainer, and pilot were taken from this world.

The grief was heart-wrenching for their families, and for those of us who lived like a family on the cross country team.

Classes were cancelled at the University for a day when a memorial service was held for the athletes.  Our team marched in our gold uniforms and sat together in misery in the ISU Coliseum.  One girl on our team named Dawn gave the memorial for her friend Sheryl.  Before the thousands gathered there, Dawn spoke of how Sheryl was a Christian and is in heaven now, and that if Sheryl had the choice she wouldn’t come back to earth, even if she could.  As I listened with tears spilling from my eyes, I just didn’t understand such faith.  Why wouldn’t Sheryl want to come back?

In the days that followed I tried to continue my running workouts along the streets of Ames, Iowa, but could barely lift my legs.  How could I go on without my coach and teammates?  I questioned, “Why, God? Why?”

Since God allowed my coaches and teammates to be taken away from me, I ran from Him, in search of peace elsewhere, in food, in poor relationships.  Yet those gave no comfort.

By the fall two years after the accident, I had wrecked both my parent’s cars, my bike was stolen, my life was a mess.  One morning on my way to class, I stopped by the chapel of the church where I grew up.  I got down on my knees and poured out my heart to God, asking Him to help me through the mess I had made of my life.  For half an hour I prayed and prayed in that empty church.   When I left the chapel, my heart was lighter, even though I did not know what God was going to do.

Soon after this prayerful episode, my roommate was invited to attend the Baptist Student Union and she brought me along.  It was in the weekly testimonies and singing, that I got to know the Savior of my soul, and my forever friend, Jesus Christ. My quest was over – I learned…

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

This was truly a miracle from God.  Jesus gave me the peace and comfort for which I’d been searching.  He washed away all my sins and mistakes.  He took my broken soul and healed me.

I traded…

My stop watch for the cross of Christ,

My will for God’s will,

My earthly coaches for a heavenly Father who will never leave me nor forsake me,

My workouts for daily devotions in God’s Word,

And so God’s Word has become my life…

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 12:1-2

forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

And, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…the task of testifying the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)

 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Everyone has a story to tell.  Your story is just as interesting and important as my story.  The “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers helps us understand our stories, so we can better share them with others.  In the sharing of our stories, we are a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness.  I encourage you to share your story with a friend today.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me!

Psalm 66:16-20

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

I Did Nothing

tea cup for bookmark - UYou were loving and kind,

I did nothing.

You were merciful and saved me,

I did nothing.

You washed away my sins,

I did nothing.

You renewed me with Your Holy Spirit,

I did nothing.

You justified me by Your grace,

I did nothing.

You made me Your heir,

I did nothing.

You gave me the hope of eternal life,

I did nothing.

I only had to believe in You.

Dear Jesus, I believe!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear Friend, what is your story?  This verse below from Titus reminds me how I did nothing.  Jesus did it all, I only had to believe.  I pray that you also believe in Jesus and share in His forgiveness and eternal promises.

The song “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns says it beautifully: “Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away. Rising He justified freely forever.  One day He’s coming, Oh, Glorious Day!”  Use this song to worship Jesus today.

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

All is Against Me!

tea cup for bookmark - UAnd Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.” Genesis 42:36 (NKJV)

Have you ever felt like Jacob from the Old Testament?  Jacob thought all was against him. There was a famine throughout the whole world.  His favorite son Joseph was no more, his son Simeon was taken prisoner in Egypt, the governor of Egypt wanted his youngest son Benjamin if Jacob’s family wanted to trade for more food…all these things were against him.

And yet, we who know the whole story want to tell Jacob, “It’s all okay!  Don’t worry! God’s got it all planned out! God sent Joseph ahead to Egypt to preserve your whole family.  When Benjamin goes to Egypt, Simeon will be released from jail, your whole family will be invited, and Joseph will take care of everyone.  God is taking care of you!”

Can I remember this when things seem against me?  Don’t worry, God has it all planned out!  When we can’t see the big picture, it sure is difficult. This is especially true when it comes to our children, perhaps that’s why Jacob was so worried. But we can remember the words of Jesus from Matthew 10.  Here Jesus reminds us not to worry for we are of more value than many sparrows…

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  One of my favorite Old Testament stories is that of Joseph.  If you have time, why not read it today (Genesis 37-47).  Then share your heart with Jesus in prayer: O Jesus, please help me trust you with ______ and not worry.

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

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…  Matthew 6:34 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Lost in a Parable

blue blanketAnd when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’  Luke 15:9 (NKJV)

Last week we found ourselves lost in a parable.  I’m sure you’ve been in one, also.  You know, those stories Jesus told that have a special message.  In Luke 15 are the three “LOST” parables: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son.  We were in a new parable called “The Lost Blankie.”

It was just a regular Monday evening.  We drove big brother Kevin to soccer practice at the high school and parked our car. I pulled out the baby jogger, and Joel climbed in with his snacks and blankets.  One blanket is his very special blue blankie with silky edge that goes with him everywhere.

I like to get my exercise walking around town, and Joel always wants to end at the park.  There Joel climbs every ladder and slips down every slide.  On this day when the time came to pick up big brother, we headed back to the high school.  Upon reaching the car, we realized that favorite blue blankie was gone!

Immediately we began our search.  Daddy, who had joined us at the park, led the way in re-tracing our steps.  I prayed, “Dear Jesus, please help us find Joel’s blanket.”  When we arrived at the park, there was no blanket.  We re-traced our steps again back to the high school, still no blanket.  Oh, what a sad drive home!

In the following days we prayed, made posts on Facebook, returned to the park, put up flyers, placed an ad in the paper, checked the Sheriff’s office, called the schools and hospital to check lost and founds, stopped by the thrift stores, told all our friends, and kept praying.  I reminded God that all the LOST parables have a happy ending.  Could we please have a happy ending, too?

Joel was a real trooper all this time, using a substitute blanket while looking at me with sad eyes.  Then, three days after it was lost, a little girl called Daddy’s cell phone to say she found it!  She had seen the flyer at the park. Daddy picked blankie up on his way home from work.

Joel met Daddy and big brother Jacob at the front door.  He took his blanket and danced around the living room for several minutes, spinning and waving blue blankie in his own special dance of praise. Then at supper he held the silky edge and tag in his left hand, while eating with his right hand.  He must have plans to never let it go again.

That evening I got on Facebook to share the good news with friends who had looked and prayed.  As the lady who found her coin said, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost.”

After we were lost in this parable, God reminded me a few things…

1) God hears and answers our prayers!  What an encouragement for me with all the other prayer requests I had that same week.

2) We have to do our part after we pray.  Remember how the woman swept her house to find the coin?  The shepherd left the 99 to find the lost sheep.  The Father kept a constant lookout for his lost son.  Imagine what they would have done if they had Facebook!

3) It’s great to rejoice with friends when the lost is found!  So many people rejoiced with us when Joel’s blanket was found. Thank you, dear friends.  I hope it encourages you, that God does hear our prayers.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Why not pour yourself a cup of tea and sit down to read Luke 15 today?  Get lost in the LOST parables and let God show you how much He loves you!img_6545

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 (NKJV)

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

The Sweet Forever…My Story to Come

The Big BlueI would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NKJV)

The Sweet Forever is in my dreams today. So many times in the “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers, I focus on Understanding my story in the past.  The above verse would take me to a sad time in life, reminding me of when I almost lost heart.  One day when reading this passage I realized, I need to focus on seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  “My Story to Come” is what I must remember.  Oh, hallelujah, what a glorious day that will be!

What will heaven be like?  The Bible tells us…

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)

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV)

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)

They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelations 7:16-17 (NKJV)

Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.  Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

At church recently we sang this beautiful old hymn about the land beyond the river. I want to remember this each moment…how I will see my Savior Jesus’ face when I cross the river someday.  This is “My Story to Come” that I long for me, for our children, for all my family and friends.

 There’s a land beyond the river
That we call the sweet forever
And we only reach that shore by faith’s decree
One by one we’ll gain the portals
There to dwell with the immortals
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

When They Ring Those Golden Bells for You and Me

Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear TEA CUPP friend, do you think of that day when you will pass from this life into the next one?  If you believe in Jesus, you will live eternally with Him in heaven.  That is why I spend time each day with Him having TEA, so I can get to know my forever Lord better.  Won’t you do the same?

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)

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

My Hiding Place

WebYou are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:7 (NKJV)

 The website I use for clip art has hundreds of pictures on most topics.  It is handy to find photos that are just right for my articles.  When I searched for “Hiding Place,” though, it only gave me one photo…a dog burying his bone.

I had to laugh, because Jesus is my hiding place.  I’m not sure if I’m the bone and He is the hole in this picture?  Some days I just want to hide from the world, get away from the hurts and pain.  I pray Psalm 32:7, You are my hiding place, Jesus, You protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Let me hide in You today, Lord!

Or, I might pray one of these verses…

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8 (NKJV)

 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
  Deuteronomy 33:37 (NKJV)

There have been several times in my life when I’ve needed these verses.  I remember the day I was taken away in an ambulance.  It was the first time I lost a baby and we almost lost me, too.  I was so scared until the ambulance people put me in a stretcher.  The stretcher was U-shaped fabric, hugging my body as they carried me out the door.  I continued to feel that hug for the next month.  God’s everlasting arms must be like that.  Though I do not like troubles, the feel of having the Lord so close, being in His hiding place, is one I always treasure.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Are you going through a rough time?  Sometimes the holidays remind us of past sorrows, and can bring sadness rather than joy.  Please look to the Lord, dear friend.  Curl up in His Hiding Place, read His Word, sip a TEA CUPP with Jesus each day.

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.  Psalm 119:14 (NKJV)

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