Out of Prison

…he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison… Acts 12:17 (NKJV)

The cell was cold.  The walls were gray. The paint was peeling. The treatment was harsh. The privacy was nonexistent.  The despair was real.  It was a prison.

How many of us find ourselves in such a place?  For some, it is a real prison from our wrong choices, for others, it is a real prison from persecution.  Yet for most of us, it is a prison with imaginary bars that trap us from the outside world, bound by fears, addictions, unforgiveness…  What is the name of your prison?

My friend, today we’re going to lead you out of that prison into the marvelous light of Jesus.  There is an amazing story in the book of Acts about Peter escaping from prison.  It is so amazing that even Peter didn’t believe it was happening to him.

Peter was one of those in a real prison because of persecution.  King Herod had just beheaded his friend James and now he was preparing to do the same for Peter.  Herod put Peter in prison with FOUR squads of soldiers (Acts 12:4).    While Peter was there the church was praying constantly (Acts 10:5).

Now here, dear sisters,  is where you must remember the power of prayer.  Those prayers of the early church were heard by God and He sent His Angel to rescue Peter!

This was no sweet angel singing anthems.  This Angel of the Lord flooded Peter’s jail cell with bright light and struck Peter on the side. Then He pulled Peter up, saying, “Arise quickly!”  And off they went, past the first and second guard posts, past the iron gates, and out into the city.  Finally, the Angel disappeared and Peter found himself at the home of his friend John Mark.

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me Acts 12:11 (NKJV)

At John Mark’s home, the church people had been praying so hard for Peter. But when Peter showed up at the gate they didn’t believe it!  How is that for not believing God can answer our prayers.  Isn’t He amazing?  God does answer all our prayers. Jesus does rescue us from our prisons.  The Holy Spirit does carry us forth in victory.

I know, because I’ve been in various prisons over the years.  One was in college before Jesus saved me.  I was in such grief over losing my cross country team and coaches in a plane crash that I turned to food for comfort. This became an eating disorder called bulimia.  There seemed to be no cure.  One time I went to a gathering to help people with eating disorders and discovered four of my surviving teammates were also there.  We had all dealt with the tragedy the same way.  Some addictions you can choose to avoid, like smoking or drinking, but with an eating disorder, you have to keep eating.  The only One who can rescue you from this prison is Jesus Christ. And He did.  When I gave my life to Him, the eating binges disappeared and I was free!

A newer version of the hymn Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin has the chorus, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free…”  That’s how it is when Jesus leads us out of the prison into His marvelous light.  The enemy wants to keep us behind bars, but Jesus has the victory. Come, my friend, let the Angel of the Lord escort you out of your prison today.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear TEA friend, whatever you are facing today, in whatever prison you find yourself, turn to Jesus. Read the miraculous story of Peter’s prison escape in Acts 12:5-17.  Imagine the Angel of the Lord shining His bright light upon you and saying, “Arise quickly.”  And the Angel leads you out of your prison, past all the guards to the home of praying friends.  And you are free!

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (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)

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 (NKJV)

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

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers…Coming Soon!

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters…
Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

I’m so excited about my new book that I just have to tell you about it today!  Coming this fall, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers!  In this companion to My TEA CUPP Prayers, I share devotions for moms to draw you into a daily TEA time with Jesus, blessing your children and homes for all eternity.  Please join me in praising Jesus for His faithfulness, taking another prayer and making it a miracle.  Here’s a tidbit from the back cover:

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and a cup of tea.  The TEA CUPP is an acronym for parts of prayer, as we pour out our hearts to the Lord.  God’s Word is the basis for Thanksgiving, Exalting, Admitting, Calling, Understanding, claiming God’s Promises, and Petitioning.

Jennifer Grace takes every day examples of being a mom and relates them to God’s truth in His Word.  Jennifer Grace is a wife, mom, grandma, runner, scrapbooker, prayer warrior, but most of all, God’s daughter.  Through the joys and sorrows of life, she finds lessons in faith, weaving it together with God’s Word.

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers calls another generation of moms to the foot of the cross in prayer.  A lady who sits with Jesus each morning for tea will honor the Father, glorify the Son, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, impact her husband, children, neighborhood, community and world.

Come quench your thirsty soul!

To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. 
Jude 25 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you’d like a taste of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers and you missed some of these devotions this spring, check out my Bible Mom series.  These Bible moms will encourage you in your walk with Jesus.

Thanksgiving with Sarah

Exalting with Mary

Admitting with Eve

Calling with Samson’s Mom

Understanding with Ruth

Promises with the Shunammite

Petitioning with Hannah

…For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isaiah 56:7 (NKJV)

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

How to Get Started with your Jesus TEA

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

So you’ve been wanting to get started with a TEA time with Jesus, but aren’t quite sure how to do it?  Today’s devotion is for you! 

First of all, let’s praise the Lord!  You have heard God’s call and accepted His invitation to come!  That is fantastic! 

The best way to make it happen is to organize your TEA time ahead of time so that the enemy doesn’t slip in and distract you.

So, TODAY, pick your Jesus spot.  This is the place in your house where you will have TEA with Jesus each day.  Set it up with your Bible, a journal or notebook, and some pens.  I also have a devotional book, prayer shawl, calendar, and an old hymnal.  But you will find out what you need and add it as you pray over the years. Be sure to tell your family, “This is my Jesus spot! When you see me sitting here, I’m having TEA with Jesus.  So please wait until I’m finished to talk to me.”

Also, TODAY, set your alarm for an hour early for tomorrow morning.  Leave it set an hour early every day!

TOMORROW, when your alarm goes off, jump out of bed, greet the day and say, Good morning, Jesus, let’s have TEA!”  Don’t check your phone or computer or TV or let anything distract you. Heat your tea kettle, pour yourself a steaming cup, and sit down in your Jesus spot. 

Open your Bible and let Jesus speak to you first through His Word.  I like to pray a little prayer before reading, such as Psalm 119:18…Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.  If you aren’t sure where to read in your Bible, begin with the book of John, reading a few chapters each day. Then read the Psalms and then Genesis.  Or you might try a Bible reading plan to help you read the whole Bible in a year.  I follow the plan found in Our Daily Bread.

As you are reading your Bible, have your pen handy to underline favorite verses that God shows you.  These verses you can use later as conversation starters for prayer, to write in a card to encourage a friend, or to put on a note card on your bathroom mirror to memorize!

When you finish your Bible reading time, pull out your prayer journal or notebook and write down one of the verses that really spoke to you.  Then pray and/or write your prayers to Jesus about that verse.  Let your prayers flow from your heart to the throne of God!

The beautiful part of the TEA CUPP invitation is that it is more than just an invitation to sit down and have TEA with Jesus, it’s also an acronym for things you can talk about when you pray.  The “T” is for THANKSGIVING where we thank God for His many blessings. The “E” is for EXALTING where we lift up and praise the name of Jesus. The “A” is for ADMITTING where we admit our sins and ask Jesus’ forgiveness.  The “C” is for God’s CALLING where we talk to God about what He is calling us to do today or with our lives. The “U” is for UNDERSTANDING our stories so we can share our testimonies with others. The first “P” is for PROMISES where we claim a promise to carry us through the day. And the last “P” is for PETITIONS where we pour our hearts out to Jesus for everyone on our prayer lists. 

Over the years the Lord showed me how I could use the different verses I have underlined for different parts of prayer.  So in my Bible, I have put the letters “T-E-A-C-U-P-Pet” next to many of the underlined verses.  When I want to tell God thank you, I just find a “T” verse and get started praying. 

Another neat thing about the TEA CUPP acronym is that there are seven parts, just as there are seven days in a week. So, you could do one part each day of the week, or you could do them all in one day, or you could just pray as God gives you verses each day. 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Follow today’s devotion to set up your Jesus spot and get started in prayer. After your TEA time with Jesus, arrange your Jesus spot again so it is ready for tomorrow.  Welcome, dear friend, to the best TEA party of all!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

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.

 

 

 

 

Back in the Saddle

My faithful TEA CUPP Prayers readers, please forgive me for not making many posts these last few months.  There is someone who has been keeping me from my computer, a special little someone who is now 15 weeks old inside of me.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know we have lost three babies in the past two years.  This is the longest I have carried a baby since our son Kevin was born over 11 years ago (and I prayed 7 years for Kevin!).  This is truly a miracle and God’s answer to prayer!

With my morning sickness slowly declining, I have more stamina to write and hope to be back at my computer more often now.  In the coming months I will share with you the journey of this new little http://www.healthsupportyou.com/nchd-ambien-zolpidem/ one, how God’s stretching me with His CALL, how I’m leaning on His PROMISES, and so much more.

Last week I had the blessing of attending the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference.  Many talented speakers inspired us and shared tips.  Bonnie Calhoun is a blogging expert who recommends posting three to five times per week, only 500 words a post, to keep readers interested. And so, I will tackle Bonnie’s suggestion as I refill My TEA CUPP Prayers website with more inspiration for you.

Please stay tuned…

Then the LORD answered me and said:   “ Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

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