My Fasting TEA CUPP

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

No tea, no cup, no plate, no food, no beverage, no water, nothing to nourish this earthly body, only God’s Word to feed my soul and His Living Water to quench my thirst.  This is an Esther fast, where we give up eating and drinking for a time, to pray and focus on Jesus and God’s Word.

When I first started a daily prayer time with Jesus, I didn’t know what fasting was all about.  My church didn’t talk about it, and there weren’t too many resources.  I wondered what the “rules” were.  As it turns out, there are no rules, only examples.  In our Bibles we have the example of Esther who fasted with her maidens for three days to save her people. Esther’s fast happened one time during an extreme crisis. They had no water and no food for three days and nights.  We also have the example of Daniel who gave up rich foods, eating only fruits and vegetables. Daniel’s fast was a way of life, along with praying three times a day.  And, of course, there are Moses, Elijah and Jesus who fasted for 40 days and nights during a time of great trial. If you are just getting started with fasting, I would recommend a one-day juice fast, where you only drink juice, a juice and banana fast is good for nursing moms.  You can work your way up to a full fast when the time is just right.

Some might think fasting is a thing of the past from Bible times, but it is still practiced by many Christians today as they seek God’s will in prayer.  If you are looking for a modern example of fasting, I encourage you to read The Heavenly Man.  This book gives testimony after testimony to fasting and prayer, from friends praying for the persecuted pastor to him praying and fasting himself.  I highly recommend The Heavenly Man.  Order a copy for yourself and share one with a friend. 

For today I give you My Fasting TEA CUPP, Bible verses that highlight fasting and trials. You may pray these verses while you are fasting, or any time you sit down with Jesus for prayer and TEA. Here are conversation starters for you as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer:

T for Thanksgiving:
(a verse of thanks as we finish our fast and have our first meal)

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  John 6:11 (NKJV) 

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:
(our suffering during fasting is nothing to compared to the glory of Jesus!)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

(The prayer King Jehoshaphat prayed to exalt the Lord)

O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?   2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:
(we repent and admit our sins as we fast)

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

C for Calling:

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)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34 (NKJV)

But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.  Matthew 9:15 (NKJV)

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.  so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love. 2 Corinthians 6:4-6 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:
(I love it when God sends prayer answers right during our fasting!)

So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  Acts 10:30 (NKJV)

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:12 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:
(Promises for when we are thirsty and hungry during fasting, and He will revive us!)

Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.  Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV)

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’   Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Psalm 71:20 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Once you get started on fasting and prayer, you might like to plan a regular day to fast, such as the first day of each month, the first Sunday of each month, or every Wednesday. Or when there is a great trial or event in your life. Write it on your calendar and commit to this time of prayer and fasting with Jesus. Read Isaiah 58 in preparation. Another devotion you may enjoy reading is The Empty Plate.

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

TEA with Psalm 119 (Part 2)

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

It’s time for more Bible verses for your TEA time with Jesus!  Last week I shared verses from the first half of Psalm 119.  Today we have verses from the second half of Psalm 119.  May God’s Word continue to bless and guide you as you pray and put your hope in Him!

T for Thanksgiving:

I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.
Psalm 119:162 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
 Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.  Psalm 119:114 (NKJV)

The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes,
That I may not be ashamed. Psalm 119:80 (NKJV)

I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.  Psalm 119:101 (NKJV)

Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133 (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, to the very end. 
Psalm 119:112 (NKJV)

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous judgments. Psalm 119:164 (NKJV)

 U is for Understanding our story:

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92 (NKJV)

I am Your servant;
Give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
 Psalm 119:125 (NKJV)

Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
Yet Your commandments are my delights.
Psalm 119:143 (NKJV)

The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;
Give me understanding, and I shall live.
 Psalm 119:144 (NKJV)

Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
Give me understanding according to Your word. Psalm 119:169 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
 
Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
 
Psalm 119:88 (NKJV)

I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts. Psalm 119:94 (NKJV)

I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.  Psalm 119:107 (NKJV)

Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God! Psalm 119:115 (NKJV)

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

I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O Lord! Psalm 119:145 (NKJV)

Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O Lord, revive me according to Your justice. Psalm 119:149 (NKJV)

Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119:154 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Psalm 119:147 declares, “I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.” What do you think, my TEA CUPP friend, can you make a date with Jesus every morning before the sun come up?  Sit down with the Lord for TEA, open your Bible, read His Word, and pour out your heart to Him in prayer.

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

TEA with Psalm 119

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.  Psalm 119:18

It’s time for more Bible verses for your TEA time with Jesus! If you allow your Bible to fall open to the approximate center, it is very likely that you will be on Psalm 119, the longest Psalm with 176 verses.  If you ever aren’t sure what to read or which verses to pray, turn to Psalm 119 because it is packed with great verses.  Underline your favorites and use them as conversation starters for your prayer time with Jesus.  There are so many wonderful verses that I will have another batch for you next week.  Savor your sips with the Savior!

T for Thanksgiving:

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.Psalm 119:62 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Psalm 119:72 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
Psalm 119:29 (NKJV)

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way. Psalm 119:37 (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)

I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:16 (NKJV)

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.  Psalm 119:35 (NKJV)

My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes. Psalm 119:48 (NKJV)

 U is for Understanding our story:

With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Psalm 119:10 (NKJV)

Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word. Psalm 119:67 (NKJV)

It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes. Psalm 119:71 (NKJV)

Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Psalm 119:73 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
 
Psalm 119:2 (NKJV)

I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart. Psalm 119:32 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
 
Psalm 119:17 (NKJV)

My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119:25 (NKJV)

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word. Psalm 119:28 (NKJV)

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

Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments. Psalm 119:66 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Revive me, strengthen me, teach me…such powerful pleas we can bring to Jesus.  Try picking just one verse and let it be your cry to Jesus this week.  Ask the Lord to show you which verse you should pray next.

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

A Tale of Two Coats

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. Genesis 37:3

It was the best of coats, it was the worst of brothers, it was the age of integrity, it was the age of deceit, it was the epoch of God’s will, it was the epoch of devious plans, it was the time of Light, it was the time of darkness, it was the spring of promise, it was the winter of famine, it was the Old Testament, it was the New Testament, some were going direct to Heaven, others were going direct the other way—all because of two coats (with apologies to Charles Dickens).

This summer our pastor dug into the story of Joseph found in the book of Genesis.  So much can be gained from this one story, from forgiveness to God’s call on our lives to His provision.  The dreams of Joseph, the baker, the cup-bearer and Pharaoh are quite exciting. But perhaps the most compelling element for me this year was the two coats.

Did you know Joseph had two coats that both got him into trouble? The first coat was the coat of many colors he was given by his father Jacob.  Being one of a dozen brothers, this made the others very jealous.  So, one day when Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers in the field, they took Joseph’s beautiful colored coat and sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders. The brothers dipped the coat in animal blood to make their father Jacob assume Joseph was attacked by a wild beast. The jealous brothers had their revenge on Joseph for his beautiful coat.

So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Genesis 37:31 (NKJV)

Down in Egypt, God blessed Joseph with another coat.  There he worked for a rich man named Potiphar.  Joseph was so good at managing, Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household. But Potiphar’s wife had a crush on Joseph, because he was so handsome. She tried to seduce Joseph, to no avail.  One day while everyone else was out, she grabbed his coat and Joseph fled.  His coat remained in her hands.  With the coat as false proof, Potiphar’s wife claimed Joseph tried to attack her.  Joseph was put in prison, all because of that second coat.

And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside… Genesis 39:13 (NKJV)

Two coats. Two troubles.  Poor Joseph must have wondered where God was in the midst of this.  But Joseph remained faithful in serving the Lord and was eventually promoted from the prison to the palace. There he had the amazing task of saving all his family from famine.  You can read the entire riveting story in Genesis 37-50!

 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

Joseph’s two coats point us to Jesus’ two coats.  Jump from the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, to the first book of the New Testament, Matthew. Here in Matthew 27 we read about the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested. The soldiers replaced Jesus’ robe with a royal robe.  A crown of thorns was put on his head. The soldiers mocked Jesus and spat on Him and said He was king  (how ashamed they must have been when they realized Jesus really is the King of kings!).

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Matthew 27:28 (NKJV)

The soldiers then gave Jesus back his first robe until He went to the cross.  That next day, as Jesus hung on the cross, dying for your sins and my sins and the sins of all the world, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ coat.  So our coats could be clean, Jesus shed His blood for us.

Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:

“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”  Matthew 27:35 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  How is your coat, is it clean?  My friend, ask Jesus to forgive you and wash you clean as only He can do.  And as summer turns to autumn and you begin to wear your coat again, remember these coats from the Bible.  Thank God for the story of faithful Joseph who persevered to save His family.  Thank our Lord Jesus for making our garments clean through His precious blood He shed on the cross. Be blessed by this beautiful hymn: Washed in the blood of the Lamb

Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)

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

 

Hello from Jennifer Grace

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Dear TEA CUPP Friends,

Hello! Today I have a short video clip for you made by my pastors.  I’m so thankful to Jesus for sending me such good helpers to invite ladies to TEA each day with the King of kings.  I’d love to come share more with your ladies’ church group or Bible study.  Please contact me about a visit. Please click here to find out how you can read your very own copy of My TEA CUPP Prayers. Thank you for taking a few minutes to let me share with you.

 

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)

Hungering for God’s Word

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 5:4 (NKJV)

Can you imagine truly hungering for God’s Word so much that you would fast (not eat) for weeks and months to get your very own Bible?  If you are like me, you have a collection of Bibles on your bookshelf from different times in your life…the one I was given in church as a third grader, the ones my children received, my first One Year Bible, and more. There they sit because we have newer study Bibles we have come to love.  So, it is hard to imagine begging God week after week to send a Bible.  But that is how the amazing story of Brother Yun begins in The Heavenly Man.

My dear Bible study leader Terry has recommended this book on several occasions, so finally I made it my goal to read it this summer.  Just a few pages into the book I’m already in awe of what God did in the life of The Heavenly Man.  Brother Yun became a Christian as a teenager when Jesus miraculously healed his dad of cancer.  This all came about while Bibles were banned in China. Christians buried their Bibles in tin cans to save them for when God’s Word would be allowed again.  Brother Yun wanted a Bible so much, he prayed and fasted for months. Finally in the wee hours before dawn, a Bible was delivered to his door, just as he had dreamed.  Brother Yun ate up the Word of God like a starving soul, memorizing entire books of the Bible.  Wow!

How many people have Bibles sitting on the shelf as we do that are never opened? Is there someone in the world that is praying right now for a Bible to be delivered?  Are we as hungry as Brother Yun for God’s Word, gobbling it up every day as our very life and nourishment?

Today’s TEA CUPP: God has given us a gift, the Bible, His Word.  Do not neglect this precious present from the Lord.  Sit down with Jesus every day for TEA and eat His Word, the bread of life.  Underline your favorite verses.  Memorize them.  Use God’s Word as conversation starters as you pour out your heart to Jesus in prayer.  Commit to reading your Bible every day. And if you are one without a Bible, please message me and I will send you one from my shelf!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.  Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

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

Of Batman and Blessings

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

One summer evening our son Jacob came home from the gym and exclaimed, “You’ll never guess who I worked out with today!”

Knowing that he was correct, I would never be able to guess, I responded, “Who?”

“Michael Keaton!” beamed Jacob. For those familiar with movies, Michael Keaton played Batman in the 1989 and 1992 Batman and Batman Returns flicks, among other roles.

Wow, Batman, the rescuer of Gotham City, the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, the Joker’s archenemy, was right here in our little town, working out at the gym. My son’s “brush with greatness” rubbed off on us all that evening.

Later, while I was washing the dinner dishes, I smiled, thinking about my son’s Batman encounter.  But then, my smile grew as I realized that every day I have TEA with Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, the Redeemer of the world, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Satan’s archenemy. And when we are together, it is more than just a brush with greatness.  Jesus is the GREAT I AM,  And He spends all day and night with me.  He hears all my prayers and pours into me His Word and Holy Spirit.

And while my son may wonder if he’ll bump into Batman again at the gym, I know for a fact that Jesus will meet me for TEA everyday. Wow! What an honor and blessing.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Jesus is ready to meet you, too, dear TEA CUPP friend!  God’s Word promises that He is there knocking at your door.  Just open the door and invite Jesus in for TEA every morning.  Read His Word the Bible and chat with Him about whatever is on your heart. You will have more than a brush with greatness!

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)

Some great verses to use as conversation starters with Jesus

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

Another Psalm TEA CUPP

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:8 (NKJV)

 

Every summer I find myself reading the Psalms.  I use a one-year Bible reading plan found in the Our Daily Bread devotional.  The July and August Old Testament readings are in the Psalms. I enjoy how these verses bring such comfort and offer so many meaningful prayers.

When my husband and I were engaged to be married, a missionary gave us this advice:  Read one Psalm a day to count down the days to your wedding.  We followed his suggestion and it really was a blessing!  Now I think how this idea could be used by others for their weddings, to await the arrival of a baby,  to anticipate healing, and so on.  Perhaps you’d like to try reading one Psalm a day, too, as you pray and wait upon the Lord.

Or you might try a Psalm TEA CUPP with these verses from Psalms 41-50. Pray one or all these verses each day this coming week as you pour out your heart to Jesus.

T for Thanksgiving:

Offer to God thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High. Psalm 50:14 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen. Psalm 41:13 (NKJV)

In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Psalm 44:8 (NKJV)

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:1-2 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

I said, “Lord, be merciful to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 
Psalm 41:4 (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

 U is for Understanding our story:

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 42:11 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 (NKJV)

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:11 (NKJV)

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

P is for Petitioning:

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)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear TEA CUPP Friend, you are invited to TEA every day with the King of kings!  I hope you will enjoy your time in the Psalms with Jesus. Underline your favorite verses for your own special TEA time. Soak up His Word today.

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

Jesus, Calm the Storm!

“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:41 (NKJV)

 

We awoke at 11:23 p.m. to gale-force winds slamming my husband’s side of the tent, pressing tent fabric to his nose.  The bungee strings and tent pegs threatened to pull loose as we wondered if we would be blown across the field and highway.

Just two hours before the storm hit, we had said our good-nights to escape the mosquitoes and catch up on our sleep. It had been such a peaceful evening of roasting marshmallows and playing games by the campfire.  Now as the tent quaked around us, we remember those items we had left on the picnic table.  We peeked out of the tent and, sure enough, they were blowing away.  Quickly we unzipped and scrambled to collect our things, stowing them in the car.  Then back to the tent to hold it down and wait out the storm.

As I lay curled up in my sleeping bag, the wind continued to rage.  All I could pray was, “Jesus, please calm the storm. Jesus, please calm the storm. Jesus, please calm the storm.”  Over and over I reminded Him that even the wind and waves obey Him. I prayed for the group of bicyclists camping nearby, their bikes carefully covered with trash bags for the night, and their pup tents, like ours, rattling in the wind.  Then I started praying for those friends who are having storms in their lives, their health, their marriages, their children.  I kept on praying, “Jesus, please calm the storm.”

And after what seemed like hours, but was perhaps less than an hour, the wind died down and gentle rain drops pattered our tent.  I fell asleep, waking five hours later to the light of dawn and birds chirping. Only two tent poles were broken! Thank You, Jesus, for calming the storm!!!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41.  Ask Jesus to calm the storms in your life today. Say, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And let Jesus say to your storm, “Peace. Be still!”  Trust Jesus through every storm.

The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
 Psalm 93:4 (NKJV)

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

My Kevin Story

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

Today we celebrate the high school graduation of our third child, Kevin Jon. We thank Jesus for this son who has brought us so much joy these 18 years.  It will be very hard to not have him doing home school any more!

Often I’m reminded how I was praying for other friends to have babies so long ago and decided to add my name to the prayer list, and God heard my prayers.  Perhaps some of you haven’t heard my Kevin story…so here it is…

Kevin has a big sister Kallie and a big brother Jacob. When Kevin’s older brother Jacob was just a few hours old, I was lying in the hospital bed holding baby Jacob in my arms. Right there and then God put the desire in my heart for more children.  Little did I know this desire would become one of the hardest prayers of perseverance in my life up until then.

When Jacob was half a year old, I started reading a One Year Bible, a goal I’d had for many years which I continue today. That same year I was introduced to prayer journaling and started jotting down my prayers. One of my main prayers was for friends having babies.  At one point I decided to add my name to my baby prayer list, hoping God would bless our family again.

When Jacob was six, I was reading my One Year Bible when a verse from  2 Kings 4:16 popped out at me that I had never noticed before.  “Next year at this time you will hold in your arms a son.”  I claimed this promise and a month later we were expecting!

I cried out to God with my voice—
         To God with my voice;
         And He gave ear to me.  Psalm 77:1 (NKJV)

Nine months after I underlined that promise, Kevin Jon came into the world. I was so happy that God had filled this desire of my heart after seven long years of prayer.  I used to sing Kevin a song, “When Jacob was almost seven, Kevin came from heaven…” I never thought God would make me wait longer than seven years to answer another prayer, but that is another story!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
      But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.   Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV)

We had prayed so much to have Kevin, I just knew from day one that I had to pray for him each day. But what do you pray for a brand new baby?  We know God has special plans for him, but what are they?  And so for many years, I laid my hand on Kevin’s head and prayed the same prayer over Kevin each night:

Dear Jesus, Thank you for Kevin. We love him so much.  Please keep him healthy and give him a good night sleep. Please guard over Kevin always with Your angels, fill him with Your Spirit, and help him always follow You.  In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Over the years I’ve added to that prayer things that are going on his life from his orange cats, to 4H projects, to his future.  And here he is graduating!  The prayers will just keep going as I pray for him to follow the straight and narrow path God has laid out for him.

I still remember the evening when he was seven years old, Kevin tossed me a note.  I opened it to find the best message ever: “Dear Mom and Dad, I want to be a Christgun.” That evening as we tucked Kevin into bed, his Daddy and I listened as Kevin asked Jesus into his heart. Another very special day was three years later when Kevin and his brother Jacob and Daddy and I were all baptized together.

Kevin is worth every moment of prayer. He is always here to help me.  He is the most caring to his baby brother and baby niece.  He traveled to Kenya on a mission trip.  He serves his community through 4H and his church with playing piano and running the sound system. His hobbies vary incredibly from entomology to robots to magic.  Kevin is a gifted speaker and I have always wondered what God’s calling will be on his voice.

Today is the beginning of a new chapter for Kevin and I will be praying for him all the way.  Go, Kevin!  We love you!  We’re so proud of you! We thank Jesus for you! Go light up the world for Jesus!

Love, Mom

xoxoxox

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. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

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)

P.S.  Kevin was due on March 19th, 2000, his grandpa’s birthday, so we named him Kevin Jon after his Grandpa Jon.  This Father’s Day while we celebrate Kevin’s graduation, we also remember Grandpa Jon who is now in the arms of Jesus.

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