Seven Things Job’s Friends Did Right

Listen to this, O Job;
Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.  Job 37:14 (NKJV)

Do you know the story of Job, how he lost everything?  He lost his children, his animals and riches, and his health, all because God had a conversation with Satan.  Then some friends came to visit Job to cheer him up but failed miserably with all their talking.  We often focus on how those friends messed up, but today I want to share what they did right, a great lesson for us all.

When you begin reading the book of Job, the friends enter in the second chapter.  This first paragraph of their visit tells all the things they did right:

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:11-13 (NKJV)

Did you notice the seven things Job’s friends did right?:

  1. They came.
  2. They mourned.
  3. They comforted.
  4. They wept.
  5. They tore their robes.
  6. They sat down.
  7. No one spoke for 7 days and nights.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Can we learn from this when we have friends who are grieving or hurting?  Yes, we can! Let’s start with the first thing they did and simply come. Sit down and listen to your friend, then cry together. Our friends will always remember how we were there and they will be comforted.  I know when I had my first miscarriage and lost our long-awaited baby, it was the friends who came and cried with me that comforted me the most.  Even my parents drove all the way across the country, just to sit in lawn chairs with me while I recovered.  Then when a friend of mine lost a baby, I knew what to do.  I came and cried with her.  My friend, just come.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®

A CUPP of JOB

 Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat! Job 23:3 (NKJV)

Today when you sit down with Jesus for TEA, you might consider drinking a CUPP of Job.  Job is the Old Testament book found right before the Psalms.  It tells the story of a man named Job who may have lived about the time of Abraham.  Job was a righteous man who followed God in all his ways.  But Satan had his eye on him (as the enemy often does to those who are serving the Lord), and he took from Job his animals, his children, and his health.  The book of Job tells the story of his friends failing miserably to cheer him up.  Though their words did not help Job at the time, there is wisdom for us now as we use their elocutions in prayer.

T is for Thanksgiving

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job 1:21 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

Who does great things, and unsearchable,
Marvelous things without number.
He gives rain on the earth,
And sends waters on the fields. Job 5:9-10 (NKJV)

But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.  Job 23:13 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? Job 2:10 (NKJV)

Teach me, and I will hold my tongue;
Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.  Job 6:24 (NKJV)

If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;
You will remove iniquity far from your tents.  Job 22:23(NKJV)

C is for Calling

But as for me, I would seek God,
And to God I would commit my cause.
Job 5:8(NKJV)

Receive, please, instruction from His mouth,
And lay up His words in your heart. Job 22:22 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

Yet man is born to trouble,
As the sparks fly upward.
Job 5:7 (NKJV)

In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind? Job 12:10 (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)

My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.  Job 23:11-12 (NKJV)

Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.  Job 28:28 (NKJV)

P is for Promises (claiming God’s)

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.
Job 8:21 (NKJV)

But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.  Job 23:10 (NKJV)

He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,
He shall see His face with joy,
For He restores to man His righteousness.  Job 33:26 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning (pouring out my heart)

 You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.  Job 22:27 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, it is true.  As Job 22:27 says above, God hears you!  Come, take a seat with Jesus and have a CUPP of Job today.  Pick just one verse and use it as a conversation starter as you pour out your heart to the Lord. 

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

TEA with ACTS

And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:26 (NKJV)

How would you like to have TEA with Jesus while praying the Word of God from the first Christians?  The Book of Acts tells the story of the early Christians who lived right during and after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  These disciples actually walked with Jesus, learning from Him before He died.  Others saw Him after He rose from the grave.  Others believed because of the testimony of these witnesses.  Their story is told in the Book of Acts.  Here we find some wonderful verses to use in our prayer time with Jesus.  See how these verses will help you start a conversation with Jesus as you share a CUPP of TEA today:

T is for Thanksgiving

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

…Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. Acts 4:24 (NKJV)

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God Acts 11:18 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy SpiritActs 2:38 (NKJV)

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  Acts 3:19 (NKJV)

…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.  Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.  ACTS 22:16 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31 (NKJV)

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29 (NKJV)

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. Acts 4:10 (NKJV)

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Acts 8:37 (NKJV)

…We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.  Acts. 14:22 (NKJV)

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.  Acts 20:24 (NKJV)

P is for Promises (claiming God’s)

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved. Acts 2:21 (NKJV)

For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:39 (NKJV)

Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.  Acts 10:4 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning (pouring out my heart)

…Lord, what do You want me to do?…  Acts 9:6 (NKJV)

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Acts 12:5 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Grab your Bible and turn to the book of Acts in the New Testament today.  Underline these and your other favorite verses.  Pick a verse to memorize and start a conversation with Jesus today. God bless you, dear TEA CUPP friend!

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

Filled to the Brim

Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. John 2:7 (NKJV)

Have you heard the story of Jesus’ first miracle?  It was almost like a tea party. He was at a wedding at Cana when they ran out of wine.  His mother Mary came to Jesus and said, “They have no wine.”  Now, why did Mary tell Jesus that? Did she know He could do something about it?  Perhaps all those things she pondered in her heart so many years led to this moment.

Mary was pretty sure of herself, simply telling the servants to do whatever Jesus said. That’s good advice for all of us!  Well, Jesus told the servants to fill six stone waterpots to the brim with water.  After they had done that, He told them to scoop it up and take it to the master.  It was the best wine he had ever tasted. What a miracle!

But I noticed a few things about this story.  First, Jesus told the servants to fill the pots to the brim.  Do you think that message is also for us? Should we fill our TEA CUPPs to the brim each day with God’s Word so His miracles can happen?  I think so! Don’t drink just a half cup, fill your heart to the brim!

Another point I noticed was there were only six waterpots.  Often in Bible stories, the number seven is used to show perfection.  Where was the seventh waterpot? Jesus is the seventh water pot! Or, rather, the first to make seven.  Jesus is the Living Water who gives us eternal life.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1-12.  Fill your TEA CUPP to the brim with God’s Word and pour out your heart to Him in prayer.  Be prepared for a miracle (though sometimes miracles take time)!

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NKJV)

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

My Jesus Spot

…Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

Where do you have TEA with Jesus?

I’ve had TEA time with Jesus in a hospital delivery room before the pains got too bad.

I’ve had TEA with Jesus while driving our car down a bumpy mountain road.

I’ve had TEA with Jesus while flying on an airplane, squeezed between two other passengers.

I’ve had TEA with Jesus while sitting by a campfire before others emerge from their tents.

But no place is as special to me as my usual corner of the sofa by the window where Jesus and I meet each day for TEA. Here Jesus and I sit face to face, as I read from His Word, glancing out the window to ponder it many times.  Depending on the time of year, I’m smiling at the sunrise and flowers blooming in my garden, or at the twinkling morning star shining above the barn.  I hold my warm mug of TEA and talk to Jesus, using His Word as conversation starters, pouring out my heart in my prayer journal.

Even my little Joel knows that I’m having My TEA CUPP Prayers.  He comes out each morning with an armload of blankets and stuffed animals, curling up on the sofa where I imagine Jesus is sitting. There my young son cuddles right in Jesus’ lap! And somedays before even Joel wakes up, I need to climb in Jesus’ lap, too.

Jesus is so much bigger than my TEA time friend.  He is God, Creator of the universe, Savior of the world, Joy of all mankind.  Yet He has time to meet with you and me each day in prayer.  What an amazing miracle, undeserved pleasure, and daily blessing we have in the presence of our Lord.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Find that special spot where you and Jesus will have TEA each day.  Arrange it with your Bible, journal, pen, blanket…whatever you might need.  Tell your family, “This is my Jesus spot.  When you see me here, I’ve having TEA with the King of kings.”

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… James 4:8 (NKJV)

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.  Psalm 62:8 (NKJV)

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

Jacob’s Best Broccoli Salad

Every summer I enjoy finding a new favorite salad recipe.  And this summer my son Jacob gets the prize for the best salad of summer!  Here is Jacob’s version of broccoli salad, packed full of healthy ingredients AND it’s so yummy.  Sometimes we even have a bowl for dessert or a late evening snack.  Ready for some delicious nutrition?  Here we go…

Ingredients

3 heads broccoli (or as much as you can get, Jacob says), chopped, including tender stems
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup olive oil
2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a big salad bowl.  It’s ready to eat, or you can refrigerate it and eat it all week.  Enjoy!

Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Daniel 1:12 (NKJV)

p.s.  My son Jacob is about to serve a one-year mission with Campus Crusade for Christ, planting CRU groups at colleges around Europe.  If you would like to learn more about his mission, please contact me.

Scripture is taken 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.

Tea by the Temple

It was an exciting time in the history of God’s people. King David and then his son King Solomon were on the throne.  King David had collected all the materials for building the Temple for the Lord.  King Solomon was the one to oversee the building of this magnificent worship center. We can barely imagine such a structure covered with gold and decorated with cherubim. King David’s prayers before construction and King Solomon’s prayers at the dedication of the Temple are beautiful words we too can pray, and may the glory of the Lord fill our prayer time.

T is for Thanksgiving
Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:13 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting
Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.1 Kings 8:23 (NKJV)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NKJV)

That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. 1 Kings 8:60 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting
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). 1Kings 8:39 (NKJV)

C is for Calling
And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NKJV)

…That You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.
1 Kings 8:36 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12 (NKJV)

P is for Promises (claiming God’s)
Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.1 Kings 8:56 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning (pouring out my heart)
Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today. 1 Kings 8:28 (NKJV)

Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 6:40 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: You are God’s special princess today. Have TEA by the Temple with the King of kings, using these verses from King David and King Solomon as conversations starters.

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

 

One Story, Two Calls

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15 (NKJV)

With the “C” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers being about God’s CALL, I’m always on the look-out for examples of God calling people. From Moses being called by God at the burning bush to Mary being called by God’s angel as the Mother of Jesus, there are many stories of God’s callings.

Today we read a Bible story with TWO callings. If one of the people hadn’t obeyed, the other wouldn’t have fulfilled his call either.  In Acts 9:1-19 is the famous story of Saul’s call on the Road to Damascus. Saul was a persecutor of the early Christians.  He was headed to Damascus to arrest more Christians.  But on the way, a bright light came from heaven. Saul was blinded and fell to the ground as he heard Jesus say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’

Jesus told Saul to go into town and wait at a certain house.  Saul’s friends led their blind companion into Damascus.  At the same time, God told a man named Ananias to go to Saul.  Ananias didn’t want to go because Saul might hurt him, but God assured Ananias of His call with the words, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine.”  So Ananias followed God’s call and went to see Saul. There Ananias healed Saul’s eyes and told him the Good News of Jesus. Saul was baptized and became Paul.  From there Paul went on to share Jesus with uncountable others, writing much of the New Testament of our Bible.

What if Ananias hadn’t listened to God’s call?  Paul would not have heard the Good News!  What if Saul hadn’t obeyed and gone into town?  He’d still be blind on the road and many of us would never hear about Jesus!  One story, two calls.  It is so important that we listen and obey when God calls us.  What is God calling you to do today?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read this amazing story in Acts 9:1-19.  Ask as Paul did, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”  Say as Ananias did, “Here I am, Lord.” You are God’s chosen vessel.  Pray for the courage and strength and resources to carry out God’s call. Then GO!

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

The Creator of the Universe, My Friend

…Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.  James 2:23 (NKJV)

How can it be that the Creator of the universe would want to meet with me each morning for TEA?  Every once in a while I ponder this while gazing out my morning window at His creation, the flowers blooming in our garden and the snow-capped mountains on the horizon.  Yet then I resolve to simply believe, to believe that a mortal human can be friends with the one true God.

But this isn’t just for me, it is true for you, too, my TEA CUPP friend.  Jesus has invited us to a banquet and wants you there (Song of Solomon 2:4)!  He is knocking at the door of your heart and longs for you to open and let Him in (Revelation 3:20).  The Lord doesn’t want anyone left out to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He is patiently waiting while beckoning, “Come.” (Isaiah 55:1)

Let’s look at a Bible character as an example.  Abraham was a friend of God.  When the Lord came by in Genesis 18, Abraham insisted on inviting the Lord and His companions to stay for tea (a real English tea with dinner!).  Following Abraham’s hospitality, the Lord gave him a blessing, the promise of a baby.  But it didn’t stop there.  The Lord stayed to visit with Abraham and tell him His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  Since Abraham’s nephew Lot lived there, Abraham didn’t just accept this information, he asked questions so that Lot could be spared from destruction.

Can we do the same as Abraham?

  • Invite Jesus to TEA
  • Let the Lord give us a blessing
  • Ask God questions

But that was in the Old Testament and Abraham was an old man, you say?  How about a New Testament lady having TEA with Jesus?!  Let’s look at just one more Bible character, the Samaritan Woman at the Well.  This story is recorded in John 4.  Once again we see the Lord showing up at tea time.  Jesus asked the woman for some water to drink and she peppered Him with questions.  Jesus gave her the blessing of His Living Water and proceeded to tell her story, everything she’d ever done.  And the woman went and told all the people in town!

Today’s TEA CUPP: These were everyday people having TEA with Jesus. If they can meet with Jesus, so can we. Read Genesis 18 and John 4 the next few days.  Claim the Lord as your TEA time friend.  Let God give you a blessing and ask Him lots of questions!

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

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

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