Off to College

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

Today we send our third child, Kevin, off to college at Montana State University.  He follows the footsteps of his big sister and big brother while creating his own unique path.  It doesn’t get any easier with the third child! 

When we first took Kevin’s big sister to college eleven years ago, I visited Coldstone Creamery for a big chocolate indulgence dessert EVERY time we dropped her off just to drown my tears.  That was before I was dairy-free. 

When Kevin’s big brother left for college six years ago, I couldn’t imagine the day would come for Kevin to go.  And now, here it is!  And so I pray for Jesus to hear all the prayers from all the years that I have prayed for him.  I pray all these verses for Kevin.  I pray for Jesus’ angels to guard over Kevin and for him to follow God’s straight and narrow path. 

We love you, Kevin! We’re proud of you!  Go do amazing things for Jesus at MSU!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Someone you know is headed to college.  Pray these verses for him/her.  Write a verse on a card and send it to him/her in the mail, and even to his/her mom!  Save these verses for future graduation and college students.  Forward these verses to all your mom friends with college students.  Let’s pray for our college students and turn our campuses around for Jesus, one TEA CUPP at a time!

Hiding in Jesus

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

Shine for Jesus

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus2 Timothy 2:1 (NKJV)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NKJV)

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.  Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Blessings

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
Psalm 112:1 (NKJV)

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
  Psalm 128:1 (NKJV)

Protection from the enemy

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Ephesians 6:10-11 (NKJV)

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
Psalm 35:5 (NKJV)

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
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 33:26-27 (NKJV)

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! 2 Timothy 4:18 (NKJV)

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

And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
Psalm 37:40 (NKJV)

Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me
. Psalm 50:15 (NKJV)

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 121:7-8 (NKJV)

Thanksgiving

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NKJV)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 4 (NKJV)

Wisdom from God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord,
And teach out of Your law
Psalm 94:12 (NKJV)

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
  Proverbs 3:21-23 (NKJV)

Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Psalm 119:33 (NKJV)

Victory in Jesus

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies
. Psalm 60:12 (NKJV)

Encouraging Promises

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)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.
  Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV)

He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 (NKJV)

I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble
. Proverbs 4:11-12 (NKJV)

…No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
. Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:5 (NKJV)

Petitions for Student

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

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
  Psalm 20:4 (NKJV)

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Thessalonians 1:12 (NKJV)

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of GodPhilippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)

Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Psalm 25:20-21 (NKJV)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Psalm 36:10 (NKJV)

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
  Psalm 38:21-22 (NKJV)

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
  Psalm 31:3 (NKJV)

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
  Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)

O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
Psalm 71:12 (NKJV)

Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes
. Psalm 119:135 (NKJV)

Staying on God’s Path

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV)

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

Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
  Psalm 17:5 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12 (NKJV)

The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
  Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV)

There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)

A man’s steps are of the Lord;
How then can a man understand his own way?
Proverbs 20:24 (NKJV)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
  Proverbs 22:1 (NKJV)

Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
Psalm 85:13 (NKJV)

For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.
Psalm 48:14 (NKJV)

If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
  Psalm 94:18 (NKJV)

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

Go to Church!

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
  Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle. 
Psalm 43:3 (NKJV)

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
  Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10 (NKJV)

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Psalm 92:13 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
  Psalm 28:6 (NKJV)

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

Baptized in Christ Jesus

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 19:5 (NKJV)

August 11, 2019 was a very special day.  For on this day, our 7-1/2 year-old son Joel was baptized in the name of Christ Jesus in the Yellowstone River.  There is nothing more precious in all the world, than to have your child give his heart to Jesus (3 John 4).  And our prayer is that Joel will continue to follow Jesus all the days of His life.  God promises us that Joel has eternal life and no one can snatch him from His hands (John 10:28-29). 

For our family, this was like coming full-circle.  For exactly nine months before Joel was born, on a zero-degree day, January 30, 2011, my husband Kent and I and our two sons, Jacob and Kevin, were baptized, publicly declaring our faith in Jesus.  I was not pregnant at the time, but there was something in the water that day. For exactly nine months later, after 11-1/2 years of prayer and three heart-breaking miscarriages, on October 29, 2011, Joel Kent was born.  And now this precious gift from God, our gift from our baptism, has been baptized in Christ Jesus, too.  All praise be to God!

Joel had been wanting to be baptized for over a year, but we wanted to make sure he understood what it was all about first.  He especially wanted to be baptized in the Yellowstone River, not inside.  When I asked Joel why he wanted to be baptized, he replied, “To let the whole world know that I believe in Christ.” It was extra special to have three of his church friends also baptized that day. Joel chose for his baptism a verse he learned at Vacation Bible School this summer from the Twenty-Third Psalm…

Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for You are close beside me… Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

I hope there are not too many dark valleys ahead for Joel, but I know Jesus will be close beside him always!

Why do we get baptized?  Because Jesus set the example by being baptized by John, because it’s a symbol of Jesus’s death and resurrection, and because, as Joel said, it let’s the whole world know that we love Jesus! 

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear friend, my prayer is for you and all your family to love Jesus and be baptized in His name like Lydia (Acts 16:14-15).

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)

Then Peter said to them, “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 Spirit. Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

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

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House

Remembering Gloria Anne…10 years later

July 25, 2009, is a day etched in my memory for eternity.  On that day, we lost the desire of our heart, the baby for whom I had prayed for 9 years.  In the time following, we lost two more sweet babies (Angelica May and Gabriella Hope) and two dear grand-babies (Our Baby J’s). But God has now blessed us with a smiling son Joel who loves Jesus, and our beautiful granddaughter Kennedy Grace.  We are so thankful for these children and look forward to the day we’ll all meet up again in heaven.  So today, in memory of Gloria Anne, I share a post I wrote one year after Gloria Anne passed from this world into the arms of Jesus.

…Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

Bump. Bump. Bump.  Our old Suburban found every rock and pothole in the road as we made our way to church yesterday.  The jostling vehicle reminded me of the ride I took exactly one year ago.  At least this year I could look out the windows and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  Last year, if I had been conscious enough to look around, I would have seen the sterile insides of an ambulance.

I remember the EMTs bravely combating the bumpy road, taping IV bottles, securing cupboards, keeping their balance as they moved around the ambulance.  Then they gave me something for the pain and I was able to sleep through all the bumps after that.  Finally, a relief from the intense sadness and aches that had engulfed me for the nine days since the doctor told me our baby had no heartbeat.

I had awakened that morning at 4:15 a.m. with profuse bleeding.  I grabbed my Bible and prayer journal and headed to the restroom as the doctor said I would bleed for an hour. There I was in our tiny purple bathroom, having My TEA CUPP time with Jesus, trusting Him for a good outcome.

At almost 7 a.m. Kent knocked on the door to see how I was doing.  I decided to take a shower because I was so tired of sitting.  After the shower I was very dizzy, then sick to my stomach, and then the painful contractions began.  I no longer could sit in the bathroom, but had to lie on the bedroom floor.  I had been bleeding for almost 4 hours at this point and was very light-headed.  Soon I couldn’t feel my contractions as I was slipping from this world. Kent called 911 and invited our older three kids to say good-bye to me.

The ambulance arrived at 10 a.m.  It took them a while to get me loaded and out to the ambulance.  Our 9-year old son Kevin had to watch his Mommy be carted away on a stretcher, he even helped carry the oxygen tank.   My brother George who was visiting took care of Kevin, while Kent rode the ambulance with me.  Our daughter Kallie was cooking for the campers and our son Jacob was mowing lawns.

When the EMTs brought me out of our dark bedroom into the glorious sunlight of our front yard, I thought “This is it. Jesus is coming, this is the bright light!”  The sky was so blue with the mountains and pine trees shaped so clearly against it, an upside-down view of the world I don’t often see.  I was thinking, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV).

That glorious moment soon ended as God said, “I’m not finished with you yet.” I was whisked into the ambulance and poked with an IV, and endured the very long ride to the hospital in Big Timber.  A nurse met us part-way down the road, and she put some pain killer in the IV, which let me rest the remainder of the trip.  In the emergency room, the doctor made certain I had delivered everything and sent me with an IV and medicine to rest in one of the hospital rooms.

I remember how the stretcher felt as they carried me to the ambulance.  It hugged me closely, swaddling me like a blanket around a newborn baby. Perhaps because our prayer friends were already praying, perhaps because the Sweet Grass County Ambulance, doctors, and nurses all took good care of me, or perhaps because our camp ministry team kept the camp running while we were gone…I sure felt like those were God’s arms wrapped tightly around me, a sensation that continued for weeks after our miscarriage.

  The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms
Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

In my partially-conscious state in the ambulance, still wondering if I would make it, I prayed for everyone I could think of…my family, our ministry team, our campers, our prayer friends, the EMTs, and everyone on my salvation list that they would come to know Jesus.  Because if I leave this world to be in heaven with Jesus, I want others to be there, too!  Yes, I had My TEA with Jesus, even in the ambulance, and I didn’t spill a drop on that bumpy road!

Still, a year later, we do not understand God’s plan in all this.  We don’t know why God would give us this hope of 9 years, begin knitting this baby together inside of me, only to stop knitting.   We thought He had given us the desire of our hearts, yet now she is in heaven. In all our grief, we still pray for God’s name to be glorified, so we named our sweet baby, Gloria Anne. Thank you, dear Jesus, for Gloria Anne. We love you, dear Gloria Anne!  Hug your sisters for us.  We’ll be with you as soon as we finish God’s work here.  xoxoxox

Our joy in the morning.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear TEA friend, perhaps you have lost a baby or know someone who has lost a baby.  It hurts.  Keep praying, keep believing, keep trusting Jesus to turn your sadness into dancing,  and your tears to joy.  He will, my friend, He will.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. Psalm 30:11

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

 

Bible Mom: Hannah’s Petition

“…I…have poured out my soul before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:15 (NKJV)

This is the last in our series of Bible Moms…Hannah’s Petition.

Do you know the story of the Prophet Samuel?  He has two books named after him in the Old Testament.  The story of how he came to serve the Lord and be a prophet is really quite remarkable…and it all began with the prayers of his mom Hannah.

Poor Hannah was one of the two wives of a man named Elkanah.  His other wife, Peninnah, had children, but Hannah had no children.  This made Hannah very sad.  Every year they would go to Shiloh to worship the Lord, but Hannah was too sad even to eat.  In fact, her soul was so bitter that she prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.  Hannah even promised the Lord, that if He gave her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.

Finally, the Lord remembered Hannah and blessed her with a son.  She named him Samuel, because she had asked for him from the Lord.  For three years Hannah nursed and cared for her precious baby. Then, because of her vow, she brought Samuel to the priest Eli in Shiloh and gave her boy to him to serve the Lord all his days. 

Hannah told Eli, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:26-27 (NKJV)

Each year, Hannah brought Samuel a new robe to wear.  The priest Eli blessed her because of her gift of her son.  And the Lord visited Hannah and gave her three more sons and two daughters, while Samuel grew to be a great prophet for Israel.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel 1-3 today.  I love how God used the prayers of this Bible Mom to turn His people back to Him.  Never underestimate the power of your prayers.  Use your prayer time today to pour your heart out to the Lord as Hannah did so long ago.  This is what the “P” for Petitions is all about. 

“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:17 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10 (NKJV)

She was the great-grandmother of King David, the grandmother of Jesse, the mother of Obed, the wife of Boaz, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a Moabite, a God-seeker, and the only Bible mom to have a book of the Bible named for her.  Who was this great lady?  Ruth.

I can’t think of anyone more worthy to highlight  the “U” part of our TEA CUPP than this marvelous Bible mom.  “U” is for “Understanding our stories,” and here is Ruth’s amazing story in these four short Old Testament chapters.  When we understand our stories, how God is at work in our lives, how Jesus saved us, we can share this testimony with others.  And that’s what our Bibles let us do with Ruth, giving us a glimpse into the life of a godly mom.

How did Ruth end up in Bethlehem?  It all happened in the days of the Judges when God’s people kept turning away from Him.  God sent a famine on the land, so a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi and his two sons moved to Moab.  The two sons married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth.  Well, Elimelech died and his two sons died, so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.  She told her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab with their families and remarry.  But Ruth wouldn’t hear of it.  She proclaimed:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Back in Bethlehem, Naomi was very sad for she had gone away “full” with a husband and two sons, and had returned “empty.”  But she actually wasn’t empty, for she had a wonderful daughter-in-law, Ruth, who was willing to work hard in the fields and do whatever Naomi said.  A relative named Boaz noticed Ruth’s dedication, blessing her with these words:

The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. Ruth 2:12 (NKJV)

You will have to read for yourself the courtship and traditions that allowed Ruth to become the wife of this gentleman Boaz.  And once they were married, the Lord blessed them with a son…

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the amazing story of Ruth is Ruth 1-4 today. My friend, your story is found in scripture, too!  Whether you have many children like Leah, prayed long for children like Rachel, or are barren like Elizabeth until she was old, you can find a mom like you in scripture.  Your salvation story is here, too, whether you learned early to sit at the feet of Jesus, as did Martha’s sister Mary, or if you had five husbands like the Samaritan woman, you will find a kindred soul, and you will find out how much Jesus loves you!  What lady from the Bible do you relate to today?  Talk to Jesus about her in your prayers.  With whom can you share your story?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

Stripes Across Our Nation

In honor of the National Day of Prayer, I share again this post from 2011. May all turn to Jesus in prayer and repentance for our nation.

…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

The sign on our Montana highway warns,
“Road Closed:  Flooding Ahead!”
The internet news reports,
“Tragic tornadoes rip through Missouri and Oklahoma.”
Our email camping network shares sad tidings,
Wildfires sweep across Texas, claiming one Methodist camp.”

How much more disaster news will there be?

With flooding in Montana and the Midwest,
Tornadoes across the central states,
Wildfires in New Mexico and Texas,
Earthquakes on the West coast, and
Hurricanes on the East coast,

It’s like having stripes across our nation,
Not the red and white of our beloved flag,
But the painful stripes of punishment
Undeserved by slaves in times not long past.

Yet these stripes are…
Stripes for us,
Stripes for our nation,
Stripes for our sin.

Who can understand our suffering?
There is One,
The perfect One who bore the sins
Of all the world,
Jesus Christ.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Jesus understands our suffering.
He endured stripes He did not deserve for us,
He died on a cross at Calvary for us,
He rose again to eternal life for us.

Jesus is here to comfort and help our nation.

Living in Montana, we have experienced multiple forest fires,
And now we have flooding.
My heart goes out to all who are currently suffering.
He brought us through fire and water,
He will bring you through these trials, too.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3 (NKJV)

What is God calling us to do?
He wants us to…
*Turn to Him (Acts 3:19)
*Help and pray for our neighbors (Matthew 22:39)
*Be prepared for His return (Matthew 24)

And after the wind, water, and fire
We will hear His still small, yet mighty, voice. (1 Kings 19:12)

Jesus is coming.
Are you ready?

May these painful stripes
Be a wake-up call to our nation:
*Turn to Jesus,
*Help your neighbor,
*Prepare your heart for Jesus’ return.

Oh, Jesus,
Help our country,
Forgive our sins,
Help me do my part. Amen.

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

My Testimony

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24 (NIV)

 

Dear TEA Friends,

This month I share with you video clips from an interview my pastor did with me last year.  Today I share my testimony of how God saved me through His Son Jesus. To view more of my interview please see my Hello from Jennifer Grace post. If you’d like to read the entire story, please visit My Running Story.  Or, if you’d like to read it in my book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, please click here.  Or, if you’d like me to come speak for your next ladies’ gathering or retreat, please contact me here.

Thank you for visiting My TEA CUPP Prayers and praying for my ministry to invite ladies everywhere to have TEA each day with Jesus, the King of kings.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

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

Video Credits:   Sam Fossum and Pastor Bryan Baker, 2018

My Dad is on the Way

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2 (NKJV)

January and February were mixed up in Montana this year.  After a mild January with little precipitation, we all thought we’d escaped the worst of winter.  Then like a visit from the North Pole, a polar vortex descended upon our state, burying both the brave and the not-so-brave in snow.

On one of the milder days, we drove up the mountain valley for work.  I let my 18-year-old son drive since I do not like driving in snow (yes, I live in the wrong state!).  Coming around the bend in the road, our old minivan with two-wheel drive tires refused to turn and continued straight into the grove of trees.  I was thankful to come to such a safe resting spot, not on the edge of a cliff, or worse, down in a ravine.  Most comforting was knowing my husband was just 15 minutes behind us in another vehicle, as we had so many supplies to bring that day.

Being the caring country place where we live, every passerby stopped to ask if they could help.  Each time, my son hopped out of the car and thanked them with the reply, “My Dad is on the way.”  Those with horse-trailers or two-wheel drive must have been quite relieved not to pull us out.  When my husband arrived in his four-wheel drive pick-up, he quickly hooked up the tow rope and pulled us back onto the road in less than a minute, and we were on our way again.

But my son’s message stuck with me:  “My Dad is on the way.”

We can all say this each day, “My Dad is on the way.”  No matter what trial we are facing, whether we are stuck in a snow drift, family troubles, bad choices, illness, mourning, despair…we have the promise from God the Father that He is on the way.  He is on the way to rescue us.  He is on the way to guide us.  He is on the way to forgive us.  He is on the way to heal us.  He is on the way to comfort us.  He is on the way to bring us hope.  And He is just a prayer away.

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)

God might come in the form of a Good Samaritan who tows us out of the snow drift.  He might come in the form of a friend who prays for us.  He comes in His Word, the Bible, where He guides and comforts us.  He comes as the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Most importantly, He comes as Jesus, who rescues, forgives and saves us.   And finally, He gives us hope that He is coming again!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God…
1 Thessalonians 4:16

Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend, Jesus is on the way!  He is coming back again. He promises us of His return in the Bible.  Revelations tells us exactly what will happen, echoing the prophets from Isaiah to Daniel to Joel.  He is coming on the clouds and every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7) and every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10).  Until that day comes, keep praying, and God the Father will be right on the way to help you. 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

…when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
Mark 8:38 (NKJV)

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

 

My Valentine

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands
Isaiah 49:16 (NKJV)

Our church family members are reading through the entire Bible this year.  Our pastor invited us at the beginning of the year to find a reading plan and commit to reading the whole Bible. There are several Bible reading plans out there.  I use the one included each day in the Our Daily Bread devotion booklet.  A popular online AP is called the Youversion.  You might like to check these out!

What do we find as we read the entire Bible?  We find a VALENTINE!  A love story from God to us.  As we read the Old Testament we see a Holy God who loves His children He created.  We see our sinful nature and how far we fall short of our Heavenly Father.  We read of a promised Savior, coming to rescue God’s people.  In the New Testament the Savior finally comes, Jesus, God’s Only Son!  However, He doesn’t do what the people expect, taking over in power.  Instead, He dies on a cross for the sins of all the world because He loves us all so much.  But Jesus doesn’t stay dead, on the third day He rises to eternal life! And someday Jesus is coming back again to marry His bride the church, https://tadalafilhome.com that’s us!  What a love story!  What a Valentine!  We are His!

Oh, Jesus, I have Your Word “MINE” stamped on me like on a candy heart!  How wonderful!  I am Yours and no one can snatch  me from You.  Forever and ever my name is inscribed on Your hand and You inscribed “MINE” on me.  O Jesus, this is my story. I am Yours! I am Yours!  I am Yours! Amen.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
John 10:28-29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You are loved, dear TEA friend!  Jesus has your name written on His hand and He has stamped MINE on you!  You are like lovers with matching tattoos!  No matter if your Valentine’s Day is full of heartbreak or joy, you can rest in the peace that you belong to God.

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
John 16:27 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  If you enjoyed this devotion, you might also like to read God loves you and My Love TEA and Valentine Cookies.  Happy Valentine’s Day, dear TEA friend!

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