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

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