Choosing Life

We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind… Isaiah 26:18 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago we had sad news from our daughter.  She and her husband were losing a baby at just 8 1/2 weeks in the womb.  I know miscarriages happen all the time, I know how awful it feels, because it’s happened to us three times.  Yet, the pain is still there when it happens again to another loved one.

Just a week earlier I had shared about our babies at a local church.  I realized as I was preparing for the talk, that I hadn’t cried in a long time.  God had allowed us a time of peace.  Then, boom (that’s how things always hit, isn’t it?), the heart-breaking news from our daughter.  A little grandbaby is joining our babies in heaven.  Our hearts were torn open once again. Our daughter put this beautiful post on her Facebook page:

How we pray for God to comfort them  and bless them with another sweet baby to ease their hurting hearts! I pray this for all moms who have lost babies.  May Jesus send a child for you to love and cherish. Just this month in my Samaritan Ministries prayer guide, where we pray for one person a day (and I only have a small portion of people whose last names begin with “W”), there were 11 babies and two were miscarriages. Many moms and dads are hurting out there.

For some people, though, there is pain through bad choices.  Woman have been lied to in the United States for almost 50 years that they have a choice to make for babies.  It is the serpent from Genesis whispering into Eve’s ear that he has something better for her. This is not new, for we read in the Bible verses that make me cry…

Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces,
And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb;
Their eye will not spare children.  Isaiah 13:18 (NKJV)

Satan brings death.  Jesus gives life.  I exhort you to choose life your baby, no matter what. And if it is too late and the decision is behind you, come to Jesus, my friend, and find the forgiveness and healing for which you are longing.  His arms are wide open for you. Someday we will see all these babies in heaven! If only we could match all these babies with the empty arms and hearts that are longing for a child.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Oh, Jesus, our hearts break when babies die before they have a chance to be born due to miscarriage. It hurts that people are choosing to kill babies before they are born through abortion.  It’s unbearable to hear of little ones being hurt and killed.  We know we live in a fallen world where pain and sickness happen, but it still hurts.  Please wash away our pain. Forgive us.  Pour your oil of joy on our hurts.  Comfort our hearts. Give us beauty for ashes. Help us to honor the lives you have given us.   We look forward to seeing our precious little ones with You in heaven someday. Thank you, dearest Jesus.  

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)

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

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

 

Our Thanksgiving Chain

With Thanksgiving here, it is a good time to re-run this favorite family activity.  It keeps us thankful all the way to Christmas…

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy
endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy
endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy
endures forever. Psalm 136:1-3  (NKJV)

Here is a project you can do with your family to carry you from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  First, count the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas on your calendar. This year it is 29 days.  Next, cut out 29 strips of colored paper, approximately 1 inch by 6 inches.  Grab your Bible, the paper strips, some markers, and a stapler, and gather the family around your kitchen table.

  • Read a Psalm of Thanksgiving such as Psalm 136.
  • Talk about things for which you are thankful.
  • Divide the strips of paper between all family members.
  • Everyone can write things they are thankful for on each strip with the markers.
  • When everyone is finished, mix up the paper strips.  Curl one strip into a circle and staple it.  Run another strip through the first circle and staple it to itself.  Continue stapling strips until you have a long chain of circles.
  • Hold the chain around the table and let family members read the items together as you thank Jesus.
  • Hang the chain on a nail in the kitchen so you can see how many days until Christmas.
  • Each morning at breakfast, let one person tear off the bottom link of the chain. Say a prayer of THANKS again for whatever is listed on that slip of paper.
  • Each day the chain will get shorter until it’s Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to your family!

In Christ’s Love, Jennifer Grace

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

“Thank you, dearest Jesus”

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  John 15:13 (NKJV)

A miracle happened in our town last week.  You had to be there to believe.  It was one of the worst days of winter with deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.  One look out the window made you just want to sit at home by a fire.  But we couldn’t.  A special event was planned for some dear friends.  Their son Jake needs a kidney transplant.  A small group organized a benefit dinner and auction to help raise money for his expenses.

I arrived at 4:45 p.m. to set up my cook book table, another fundraiser for Jake.  A few people were gathered here and there around the American Legion, looking at auction items and visiting.  Servers were busy lining up roasting pans, lovingly prepared that morning. Long blue tables set up by Jake’s 4H club the day before, waited expectantly for guests.   Would all those chairs fill?

By 5:15 p.m., more people came through the door, shaking the snow and cold from boots and jackets.  People began to sit at the tables. At 5:30 p.m. our pastor said grace and folks started going through the food line.  Pulled-pork sandwiches, potatoes, coleslaw and goodies filled their plates.  And the people kept coming through the door.  I imagine some people lost their seats to new arrivals when they were up getting their food.

By 7:00 p.m., the Legion was jam-packed, with hardly any standing room, the food was mostly gone, and the auction began.  Items were donated from people in our town, our county, and across our state! What was planned as a three hour event, lasted for six hours, with folks finally heading home at 11:30 p.m. We later learned that in those 6 hours, 600 people came and $60,000 was raised to help Jake.  That’s $100/person and $10,000 an hour!  Wouldn’t you call that a miracle?

Why did this happen? Because God wanted it to happen!  He blessed this event because all glory was given to Him by Jake’s mom and dad, Wendy and Ode.  This family is so dear, always giving so much to others…baking cookies, taking a meal, driving someone to an appointment, helping with ranch chores, praying for us… you name it!  And so we all wanted to give back to them.

The same day as the auction, Wendy received the incredible news that she is a perfect match to give her son Jake a kidney.  I was so happy for her, I cried.  I realized on my way home, that even though we all wanted to give so much to Jake, we can’t out-give his mom who gets to give him the gift of life twice!

And I know Wendy will want me to tell you, the same is true with Jesus.  Jesus also gives us the gift of life twice…once when we are born and once when we are born-again, confessing that Jesus is Lord.

So many of us want to give back to Jesus, for all He has done for us, for washing away our sins and giving us the hope of eternal life. We want to give offering at church, we want to teach Sunday school, serve cookies, help a neighbor…all things Jesus wants us to do.

But when it comes down to it, we can’t out-give God.  For He gave His only Son.  We just have to accept His free gift and say, “Thank you, dearest Jesus.”

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Please keep praying for Jake, Wendy, Ode and all their family.  Next week doctors will remove one of Jake’s kidneys and he’ll go on dialysis to clean up his system.  Then this spring, his mom will give him a kidney.  Thank you for your continued prayers.

If you’d like to support the family by purchasing a cook book, you can stop by or contact the Big Timber Evangelical Church (PO Box 696, Big Timber, MT  59011).  Cookbooks are only $15, full of small town delicious cooking!

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9 (NKJV)

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

Joel and Moses at 3 Months

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.   Hebrews 11:23 (NKJV)

At three months old, our baby Joel is the joy of our family.  In the evening he lies in his crib, falling asleep while gazing at his mobile.  He wakes in the night for just one snack from his mommy now.  In the morning Joel opens his eyes, smiling to greet a new day.  Joel loves his diaper change table where he lies on his back, receiving full attention from Mommy or Daddy.  He enjoys lying on his back so much, we often lay him on the kitchen table while we are eating.  Another favorite spot is his playpen; there he holds and tastes his toys and blankets.  Joel loves it when a family member peeks into his playpen to say hello.  He will smile and laugh like there is a joke. Sometimes Joel fusses when we strap him in his car seat, but he makes the best of it and takes a nap. Joel brings so much joy to our family.

At three months old baby Moses must also have brought joy to his family.  We read his story in the Bible book of Exodus.  As I read I wonder…Did Moses sleep at night?  Did he enjoy snacks from his mommy?  Did Moses have diapers to change? Did he like to be carried or lie on his back?  What kind of toys did Moses play with?  Did his older sister Miriam or older brother Aaron try to make him laugh and smile?  How did they feel when their mother put Moses in a basket in the Nile River? Miriam must have worried as she watched nearby.  Aaron was only three, so perhaps he didn’t  understand.  Jochebed, Moses’ mommy, was heartbroken to send off Moses.  But what joy was hers when Pharaoh’s daughter asked her to nurse her very own baby.  No longer did she have to hide her beautiful boy.

As I hold my own dear baby and reflect on baby Moses, I see how God’s timing is perfect.  At three months old, babies are often over their newborn colic, so Moses didn’t fuss in the basket.  They aren’t rolling over yet, so Moses wouldn’t tip his basket in the Nile River.  A three-month old baby isn’t babbling too much, so he wouldn’t attract attention, except from the person God intended to adopt him — Pharaoh’s daughter.  Three month old babies have cute round faces, big eyes, and smiles to charm the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter.  And, they aren’t eating solid food yet, so Moses’ own mother was called to nurse her baby.  God’s timing was perfect to protect His servant Moses, who would lead His people to freedom.

God’s timing is also perfect for our baby.  I wanted baby Joel to come nine years ago, six years ago, and three years ago.  But God had a different plan.  He sent him now.  God knew this is the time we needed baby Joel.  I can’t imagine what God has planned for him, just as Jochebed did not know the plans God had for Moses.   God’s timing is always right.  Such lessons the Lord teaches me through our three month old baby.  Thank you, Jesus.

Today’s TEA CUPP:   What is Jesus doing in your life at just the right time?  Reflect on this verse: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Romans 5:6 (NIV)

Moses Is Born

And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses,saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”  Exodus 2:1-10  (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

TEA CUPP with a New Baby

Pray without ceasing1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV)

Little sleep at night, constant feedings and diaper changes during the day, a sweet new baby to rock and hold…how is there time for a TEA CUPP with Jesus?

The past few months I’ve been working on keeping MY TEA CUPP Prayers a part of my daily routine, even with the blessing of a brand new baby.  Perhaps this is why the Lord waited 11 years to send us this sweet boy, because He knew a baby would take my time away from Him.

Here are some tips God has given me  for having my quiet TEA time with Jesus AND our new baby:

*  Read my Bible during baby’s first feeding of the day and let Jesus talk to me.

*  Instead of  “drinking”  the whole TEA CUPP in one day, I pray one part each day… T for Thanks on Sunday, E for Exalt on Monday, A for Admit on Tuesday, C for Call on Wednesday, U for Understand on Thursday, P for Promises on Friday, and P for Petitions on Saturday.

*  I keep My TEA CUPP book mark handy with prayer needs, so I can pray for other prayer requests during later baby feeding times each day.  I don’t try to journal all my prayers right now, since it is hard to write while nursing.

*  I pray hymns to Jesus while singing to my baby.

T – I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart (Gwen R. Shaw)
E – We Exalt Thee (based on Psalm 97:9) (Pete Sanchez)
A – Create in me a Clean Heart, O God
C – Make me a Servant
U –  I Love to Tell the Story (by Katherine Hankey)
P – Standing on the Promises (by R. Kelso Carter)
P – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (by Robert Robinson)

*  During diaper changes and when my baby sees me reading my Bible,  I sing to him The B-I-B-L-E, Jesus Loves Me, and Jesus Loves the Little Children.  It’s never too early to plant God’s Word in the hearts of our children.

*  Following this routine truly keeps me praying without ceasing.   Sometimes I finally finish my prayer list at night, only to begin it again the next morning.  I am sipping TEA with Jesus all day long

Today’s TEA CUPP:  How can you fit a quiet prayer time with Jesus into your day?  Make plans now for having TEA with Jesus, even if you are a busy mom.  You will be blessed!

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

My Sweet Baby Blessing at 45

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  John 20:31 (NKJV)

This story is written…
*To give glory to God,
*To thank all of you who have prayed for us and our new baby, welcoming him into the world (2 Corinthians 1:11),
*And, to encourage you to pray and not give up when God puts a desire in your heart.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Psalm 127:3  (NKJV)

October 29, 2011, Joel Kent reluctantly pushed his way into the world at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Montana, making me one of the happiest moms ever.  It has been almost 12 years since the last time I had such a joy, holding a miracle shaped by the hands of God.

For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13 (NKJV)

For some moms, babies come easily, but for others the road is one of tears and prayers.  I came from a family of five children,  so I expected my family would be similar.  God sent us our first two children with only a few months of prayer.  After our August wedding, my husband Kent and I prayed for a baby.  By Christmas we knew we were expecting.  The following August (1990) our beautiful daughter Kallie Grace was born.  Our doctor discovered Kallie had a heart murmur.  It was a test of my faith when Kallie had heart surgery at eight months old.

Just before Kallie turned two,  I stopped nursing her and we prayed for another baby.  It was only a month and God had a little boy on the way for us.  Our Jacob Lee was born in June of the following year (1993) with a small hole in his neck.  It was a sinus tube that drained like a runny nose.  At the age of two, Jacob had surgery to close the hole, another test of my faith. And I wondered if I was capable of having a healthy baby.

When Jacob was just a few hours old, I was lying in the hospital bed holding him in my arms. 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.

When Jacob was half a year old, I started reading a One Year Bible, a goal I’d had for many years.  I continue these daily Bible readings today. That same year I was introduced to prayer journaling by author Becky Tirabassi.  Along with my Bible reading, I started jotting down my prayers (later this became My TEA CUPP Prayers).

One of my main prayers was for friends having babies.  At the time we barely had enough money for groceries, so I couldn’t send my friends baby gifts.  Instead I sent them a poem and promise of prayer.  When I learned about friends who were trying to conceive, I added them to my prayer list.  Over the years, I lifted dozens of couples and babies to Jesus in prayer.

At one point I decided to add my name to my baby prayer list, hoping God would bless our family again.  But God needed to put the desire in my husband’s heart, too, and I had some chronic health issues to correct.

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)

When Kallie was almost ten and Jacob was almost seven,  Kevin Jon came into the world (2000).  I was so happy that God had filled this desire of my heart after seven long years of prayer.  I never thought God would make me wait longer than seven years to answer another prayer.

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

Kevin is worth every bit of prayer and perseverance.  He has no health problems, except a tendency to dislocate his elbows.  He was a quiet baby until he discovered being louder than his brother got attention.  Soon Kevin was the one dominating the dinner conversations, and I wondered what God’s calling would be on his voice.

As Kevin grew out of his baby clothes and car seats, I asked Kent what he’d like me to do with these items.  Kent shrugged and said, “Give them away.”  I was disappointed that he didn’t want to make use of them again.  The years went by and I kept praying, slowly giving away our baby things.

Every day Kent took Kevin for an hour in the afternoon to “help Daddy.”  They did a project together at the church camp where we lived. As I watched Kent work with Kevin and his big brother Jacob, I couldn’t shake what a good Daddy he is, and thought he should be a Daddy again.

One day a lady was chatting with me in the dining hall at camp.  She mentioned how God doesn’t just have a little basket with one blessing for each person.  He has an overflowing basket of blessings for each of His children.

And so I prayed for God to shower us with those blessings, for our camp and family.  I wrote to three friends and asked them to specifically pray for another baby for us.  One evening Kent and I were on a rare date and Kent asked me an unusual question, “If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?”

“What do you mean?”  I replied, already knowing my answer.

“Well, I’ve always wanted to try fly fishing, so I might like a fly-fishing pole.” Kent explained.

“Oh, well I’ve always wanted more children, so I’d like to have another baby.”

Kent took my answer to heart, and from that day forward he joined me in prayer for another baby (poor Kent still doesn’t have a fly-fishing pole).

When Kevin was nine years old we discovered we were expecting.  I rejoiced that God had answered our prayers after all these years!  But instead, God was allowing me to go through a time of deep sorrow and grief.  We lost this baby in a miscarriage at three months, nearly losing me as I bled too much (July 2009).  We named our baby Gloria Anne in hopes that God’s name would be glorified in our sorrow.  With the help of friends, we started a childcare building at camp in her memory called Gloria Anne’s Place.

Just a month after losing Gloria Anne, I became pregnant again. This time I thought God had answered my prayers for sure.  But our faith was further tested as I endured another grueling miscarriage that took over six weeks to complete (November 2009).  We named this little one Angelica May because she was with the angels and due in May.  She was just two months along.

They say that a mom’s body is ripe to conceive for the first six months after a miscarriage. When six more months went by with no babies, I wondered what God had planned.  Then, before I knew it, I was pregnant again and lost the baby while traveling.  This little one was only eight weeks along.  We named her Gabriella Hope, still hoping God had a baby planned for us (June 2010).

Because of these three miscarriages, more people were praying for us.  In the meantime, I was getting older.  I kept reminding God that time was running out. Did He remember my biological clock?  My doctor told me a person my age has a miscarriage rate of 75 to 80%. That was not very encouraging.  But as we can see with Sarah in the Old Testament and Elizabeth in the New Testament, God doesn’t worry about biological clocks.

In the fall of 2010 I heard a program on celiac disease given by our camp food service company.  As I listened, I noticed many of the symptoms were mine.  Twice during the program they mentioned miscarriages.  A person with celiac can’t absorb enough nutrients for herself, so her body can’t absorb enough for a baby, unless she eats a gluten-free diet.  I was ready to try anything, so I gave up my favorite whole-wheat and all food with gluten.

On January 30, 2011, Kent, our two sons Jacob and Kevin, and I gave our lives officially to Jesus in baptism.  We had all been Christians for a long time, but hadn’t yet publicly proclaimed our faith and followed Jesus’ example of believers’ baptism.  It was a special day.  Little did we know that exactly nine months later, God would finally bless us with a healthy baby boy, our new blessing, Joel Kent.

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.  1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV)

Now I am 45 years old, with seven children ages 21, 18, 11, and 0, and three angel babies in heaven.  I love all my kids. When Kallie was in kindergarten, God called us to homeschool. We’ve been homeschooling our children ever since then, planting God’s Word in their hearts.   Today our independent Kallie is about to graduate college, our athletic musician Jacob will soon graduate high school, and our inquisitive Kevin is in 6th grade.  And now we begin the adventure again with baby Joel.

Joel’s name means “the Lord is God” and “God’s messenger.”  The theme of the book of Joel in the Bible is the Day of the Lord.  We proclaim through our sweet baby miracle that the Lord is God.  Jesus is coming again.  I encourage you to give to Him your life and the desires of your heart.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
      And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
      Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
      For the day of the LORD is coming,
      For it is at hand.  Joel 2:1  (NKJV)

Our church family has blessed us because of this little one.  All those prayers and baby items we gave away have come back to us in the prayers and gifts of dear friends.  We are so thankful for how God has answered our prayers and provided for us.  To God be the glory great things He hath done!  Thank you, Jesus, for all our children. Thank you for this new blessing of baby Joel.  Please help us raise him to love you, Jesus.  Amen.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights… James 1:17 (NKJV)

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

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Promises: For our children

Today’s TEA CUPP: Praying God’s Word.

Here’s a PROMISE from God’s Word to claim during our TEA CUPP time with Jesus today:

 But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him,
   and His righteousness with their children’s children.  Psalm 103:17 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Belly Button Blips

He reveals the deep things of darkness
   and brings utter darkness into the light.  Job 12:22 (NIV)

Only four times in my life has it happened to me, my bellybutton has gone from an “in-nie” to at “out-tie.”  What once looked like a poke hole from God, testing to see if I was done, has turned into to a blip pointing out from my already distended tummy.  What makes this happen?  It’s that baby inside of me!

What is it about babies that makes us think of bellybuttons? Could it be those umbilical cords that look like dried bananas until they fall off?  Or those baby tummies that are fun to tickle and get a grin from the sweet little person?

Being the mom, I get to experience the transformation of my own bellybutton.  What used to go in, now goes out. What once collected dust bunnies, is now poking out with all the dust exposed.

Isn’t that what God’s Word does for us?  He shines His light into the dark crevices of our hearts, exposing the sin hidden there so He can clean it out for us.

He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.  1 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.    Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

There is something about being a mom, with kids who call it like it is, who expose our weaknesses by modeling them for others.  All our bad habits are brought to light for others to see.  Thank the Lord for the gift of His Word, His cleansing and forgiveness.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let God’s Word bring to light your hidden faults today, then use His Word to confess your sins, and be cleansed by the promise of Jesus’ forgiveness.  Remember God’s forgiveness the next time you see a belly button!

God’s Word convicts:  “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’” Proverbs 20:9 (NIV)

We confess:  “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18:13 (NIV)

Jesus forgives:  I write to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name.
1 John 2:12 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Heaven is for Real

I just read the most wonderful page-turner called “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo.  Friends have been telling me for months I need to read this book, and finally I borrowed a copy from my dear neighbor Marie.

This true story describes the journey of an almost four-year old boy who goes to heaven while undergoing a late surgery for appendicitis.  In the months following the surgery the boy, Colton, shares his heavenly experience with his parents.

Things I love about this book:

The description of Jesus in the throne room with God.  When I pray to Jesus, I have a vague picture of Jesus in my mind.  Because Colton went to heaven for three minutes during his appendicitis surgery, I now have an image of the throne room of God.  Colton tells his parents all about the rainbow colors of heaven and how Jesus sits at the right hand of His Dad.  On the left side sits the angel Gabriel.  Colton even meets John the Baptist and God the Holy Spirit who is sort of “blue.”  I now have this picture in my mind as I have my TEA CUPP prayer time with Jesus each morning.

When Pastor Todd (Colton’s dad) is ranting at God in the hospital, asking God “is this how you treat your pastors?!!!”   Todd had just endured a year of testing with three major attacks on his own health.  Now was God going to take his son?  No!  Jesus showed Todd’s son the wonders of heaven and sent Colton back to earth in answer to Todd’s prayer.  Wow!  I love that we can be real with God and share our deepest hurts.  How many times did I ask God, “Is this how you treat your church camp managers?”  when fires and flooding and financial troubles engulfed us.   The Lord loves us so much that He hears and answers our prayers, despite our anger and doubts.

The promise that our unborn babies are waiting for us in heaven.  In one chapter we learn that Colton has two sisters, his older sister Cassie on earth and another sister he met in heaven. This heavenly sister was miscarried at just two months gestation, but Colton’s parents had never told him about her.  They didn’t even know she was a girl!  What hope this gives me with the three babies we have lost. They are all waiting for me in heaven.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You need to read this tear-jerker if you are…

Wondering what heaven will be like,
Need reassurance that Jesus hears your prayers,
Or have ever lost a baby or child.  You will be blessed.
Heaven is definitely for real!

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.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)

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

 

 

God is Able

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV)

The worship service had ended at camp Sunday evening when one of the guests turned to my husband. “I have a message for you,”  he said. He read the verse above from 2 Corinthians, stressing “God is able” and “you.” This fellow is a brand new friend we just met over the weekend.  Three things make this very cool to me:

1)  Our new friend heard God telling him to share God’s Word and he obeyed.

2)  Without even knowing my husband’s current trials and decisions, our new friend had just the right words to share.

3)  GOD IS ABLE!  Wow!

What are you facing today?  I don’t know what troubles or decisions are going on in your life, but I want to share this  promise with you.  GOD IS ABLE.  He will carry us through the deepest valley and across the widest river.  He will comfort us in sorrow and celebrate with us in joy.  He will provide for all our needs according to His riches in glory.  GOD IS ABLE.

Now the question is, “Am I able?”

by Earl S. Marlatt, 1926 , Music by Harry S. Mason, 1924
http://users.stargate.net/~bmames/ht0326_.htm”>
“Are ye able,” said the Master,
“To be crucified with Me?”
“Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered,
“To the death we follow Thee.”

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a place in paradise?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able when the shadows
Close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able? Still the Master
Whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now as then in Galilee.

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Today’s TEA CUPP: So often troubles in life surprise me with a fierceness.  I can boldly sing the song above, yet when my time comes for trials, I collapse into puddle of doubt.  How do you handle life’s difficulties?  Let’s together claim God’s promise, “GOD IS ABLE.”

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

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