Someone is Praying for You!

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV)

Someone is praying for you, my friend!  Someone is praying for you!  I promise you that right now, someone is really and truly praying for you.

I know what you are thinking, “Not me, why would anyone pray for me? You are mistaken.”  But I promise you, it is true, someone is truly praying for you.

Now, I can’t tell you all the people who are praying for you, because that is a surprise.  It could be an aunt, a grandpa, a grandchild, a neighbor, a person at the grocery store, or someone who goes by your house everyday.  You could be totally oblivious to these prayers as Job’s first children were (Job 1:5), but the prayers are still happening. And I can tell you Two who are praying for you:

1) Jesus is praying for you!  Can you believe it?  It is true!  Romans 8:34 promises us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, making intercession for us.

It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34 (NKJV)

Wow, isn’t that something?! Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, is praying for you!  How does that make you feel?  This question was asked at a Bible study I attend and the ladies had some wonderful answers:  “Mind-boggling, blessed, He cares that much for me, nothing is impossible, He knows what I need before I ask, He hears us, we are just specks in eternity, specks in the universe, yet He hears us!”  And how does it make me feel?  I wrote that day, “O Jesus, thank You!  To think I sit having TEA with You every morning and You take my requests to the Father!  Thank You, dearest Jesus!”

2) Who else is praying for you?  The Holy Spirit is praying for you!  Even if we mess up our prayers and get it all wrong, the Holy Spirit is there, translating what our hearts really meant to the Father.  Isn’t that good news?!  You don’t have to pray just the “right” prayer.  The Holy Spirit will take care of making it “just right” for God.  The Spirit is praying for you!

 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

A recent example of this for me was when my Daddy was dying.  I definitely didn’t have it all together as my voice cracked in tears.  I was trying to pray the Lord’s Prayer over the phone with Daddy, as my sister held the phone to his ear.  Somewhere around “debtors” or “temptations” I messed up, not remembering which version I was on…yet I know the Holy Spirit interceded at that very moment and heard our prayers and took my dear Daddy to heaven.  For as soon as we ended the call, my sister texted, “He’s gone.”  And there I sat on the sofa between my two boys, crying tears of sadness and joy, that God let us all be together in my Daddy’s final moments.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both praying for you, taking your requests to the Father.  Rest in this amazing promise today!  Then pray with confidence, knowing God is on your side. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NKJV)

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

My Love TEA

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

It’s Valentine’s DayWhat a perfect day for a CUPP of Love TEA!  I know, sometimes we might not feel very lovable, when we are grumpy and everything is going wrong.  But those times are when we need His love the most, to wash away our sins and restore us with His Holy Spirit. Then we are able to share His love with others.  Please heat the kettle and put a heaping spoonful of Love in your CUPP today!

Here are some  Love Bible verses to get you started in your prayer time with Jesus this Valentine’s Day and the whole month of February…

T for Thanksgiving

I love the Lord, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications. Psalm 116:1 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

 I will love You, O Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1 (NKJV)

Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97 (NKJV)

Therefore I love Your commandments
More than gold, yes, than fine gold! Psalm 119:27 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13 (NKJV)

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 (NKJV)

 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.  Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NKJV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 (NKJV)

Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NKJV)

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 (NKJV)

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

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4 (NKJV)

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

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

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness. Psalm 119:159 (NKJV)

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Corinthians 16:24 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: God loves you, my TEA CUPP friend!  He loves you so much that He died for you and all the world.  Soak yourself in His amazing Word and love today.

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

Valentine Cookies – GF

img_6224  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  John 15:13 (NKJV)

We love Valentine’s Day and we love cookies!  So, we had to make some gluten-free, dairy-free heart cookies again this year.  I first ran this recipe four years ago. My two-year old taste-tester Joel said they were delicious.  Now my six-year old Joel rolls out the dough and cuts the hearts for me!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

Cream coconut oil, Earth Balance butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  In another bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, xanthan gum, and salt  (I used 3 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour).   Add dry ingredients to coconut oil mixture, stirring until it is well combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough on your kitchen counter until it is 1/4 inch thickness. It might seem crumbly, but you can work with it to make it stick together. Use cookie cutters to cut out hearts or your favorite shapes.  Place cookies on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes, then cool on cooling racks.  Top with your favorite icing (I use a mixture of 2 T. coconut oil, powder sugar, almond milk, a dash of vanilla and food coloring, adding sugar and almond milk until it is just the amount and consistency I need).

Now you get to eat your heart cookies and share them with your family and friends!  Spread around some love today :-)!

p.s. This recipe makes great Christmas cookies, too!

img_6225For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. John 16:27 (NKJV)

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

Praying God’s Word Again

Bible…God’s Word

 

The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times. Psalm 12:6 (NKJV)

Again and again I want to share with you how you can use Bible verses, God’s Word, to pray to Him. That’s what My TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, sitting down with Jesus for a CUPP of TEA every day, reading His Word to let Him speak first, underlining your favorite verses, then using those verses as conversation starters as you pour out your heart to the Lord.  All you need is a Bible.  You don’t need my book or this website or anything else, just God’s Word.

So, please sit down with Jesus right now and open your Bible.  Here are some verses to get you excited about reading His Word:

1) The Bible, God’s Word, comes from God and is meant for us to study and learn:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

2) God’s Word is so powerful!  It’s alive!  It’s sharper than any knife or sword, digging into the deep parts of our hearts and souls:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

3) God’s Word is forever and ever and never changes:

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matthew 5:18 (NKJV)

…The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:24-25 (NKJV)

4) God promises to put His Word in your mind and write it on your heart and you will be His!

I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Hebrews 8:10 (NKJV)

5) We should learn and memorize as many verses as we can.  Then we won’t wander off God’s path into bad situations.

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

6) If we keep God’s Word in our hearts, we will know God’s will, and can ask anything in His Name:

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)

7) And when we have verses saved up in our hearts, we can start a conversation with Jesus from anywhere, pouring out our hearts, petitioning for our loved ones.  We can even use a verse like Psalm 28:9 to give us creative ways to pray for family members, instead of just saying, “bless.”

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever. Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Hide God’s Word in your heart today!  Write a verse in your prayer journal to remember each week.  Use these verses to pray.  For example, using Psalm 28:9, I could pray, “Save my loved ones (list by name), bless our children (list by name), shepherd them also (in these specific situations), and bear with me (and all my faults) forever!” Give it a try with your own favorite verses and keep putting God’s Word in your heart!

...Your word is truth. John 17:17 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

 

More Good Books

Calling all readers! Winter isn’t over yet and you still have some long evenings by the fireplace to fill. Often it’s hard to find just the right title to uplift, inspire and encourage you in your walk with the Lord. I always appreciate a book recommended by a friend.  So today I share with you some more good books to pass those dark nights.  Pull up a chair, a good book, a cup of tea or cocoa, and be blessed.

In His Steps

This was likely the fifth time I read In His Steps.  There is something compelling about a story that makes one return to it again and again for inspiration.  Written in the late 1800s as a sermon series, this provoking novel about a church in Kansas, gave birth to the popular expressions, WWJD?, What Would Jesus Do?  A small group from the church heeded the pastor’s call to ask this question before embarking on any endeavor.   You will find yourself wrapped up in the lives of a railroad tycoon, a singer, a newspaper editor and others who are seeking God’s path. The results were amazing and spread all the way to Chicago and the world.  You will want this to be the next book on your “to read” list.

 

Rebel With A Cause

How this book ended up on my bookshelf is a story in itself.  A few years back we decided to remove ourselves from all junk mail and email lists, sending companies unsubscribe notices.  In response to my departure from the Samaritan’s Purse list, Franklin Graham sent me a free copy of his book, Rebel With A Cause.  Such a nice hardback book I couldn’t just toss, so I put it on my bookshelf.  Five years later, when searching for something to read, I pulled it down and read the first page. I was instantly wrapped up in the life of the eldest son of the great evangelist Billy Graham, his salvation story,  and how he came to lead the godly relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse.  You will be inspired to live out God’s call for your life as you read how Jesus helped Franklin Graham.

Just As I Am

Having enjoyed Franklin Graham’s autobiography so much, I searched for more titles at my local library.  I was delighted to find a copy of Just As I Am by Billy Graham.  This book is a bit weightier than the other two titles, literally and figuratively.  The 760 page autobiography is a heavy one to put in your airline carry-on bag, but the tales of Rev. Graham’s crusades from Los Angeles to Australia to Russia (behind the Iron Curtain) to the ends of the earth, will encourage you to follow whatever God’s call is for your life. From his roots as a dairy farmer in North Carolina to his role as pastor to presidents, no one can deny that Rev. Graham lived a life worthy of the calling with which he was called.  And as I write this short review, I believe the dear pastor is ninety-nine years old and still talking with Jesus from North Carolina.

Finally, book-lovers, if these are not enough titles for you, I recommend a social media book group, Goodreads.com, where you can share and find more Christian books to inspire.  My TEA CUPP Prayers is also on there, so if you are a Goodreads member, I appreciate you dropping by to give me a review.  Many thanks and God bless your cozy evenings!

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

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

My Two Daddies in Heaven

One month ago today my Daddy went to be with Jesus.  I’ve been wanting to write them both a letter…

Dear Daddy and Daddy,

You are both in heaven now.

My Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. You’ve always been there from the beginning of time, creating this world, knitting us together, watching over us, saving us through the precious blood of Your Son Jesus, guiding us with your Holy Spirit, and covering us with Your wing.  You gave me the best earthly Daddy and planned that now was a good time to take him to be with You. And, of course, I wrestle with Your plans as Jacob wrestled the Angel so long ago.  Did you really need my earthly Daddy right away?  Yet I’m so very thankful he is with You!

You are both in heaven together, Father God and Daddy Jon.  How’s it going up there?  I imagine the Creator of the Universe and the professor are having some good scientific discussions.  Are there more than seven colors in the rainbow?  Are you doing any experiments with quartz crystals and refracted light?  Can you look at the stars through a telescope or are they right beside you? Is Father God explaining how He made all this cool stuff out of tiny particles, or does it not really matter anymore?  Are you enjoying friends and family, Daddy?  I imagine you have no more pain in your hip or knee, and you are so strong, carrying our babies on your shoulders.

I’m so thankful you are both together now.  Thank you, Father God, for giving me time with my Daddy in his last days here.  Of course, I’d still like one more visit, one more chat around the kitchen table, one more hike in the forest, one more story with Grandpa on the sofa, one more chess game with Jacob.  But those last days were special when I asked Daddy if he loved You and he squeezed my hand.  Oh, Jesus, thank You for letting Him be Yours!

Oh, Daddy, I keep thinking you are taking a nap or have run an errand, that soon you will come down the stairs for your 10 O’clock coffee and work on the crossword puzzle.  I want to send you an email about everyone who came to see you and how Mommy held up beautifully, but maybe you already know this.  Karen was with you every day, researching your condition and talking to nurses.  Reid and Scott flew all the way from opposite coasts to be with you, then flew back to their wives, Carmen and Cheryl, who drove with them to your service.  George came for the longest time and took care of Mommy and the home-front as you knew he would, and surprised us all by singing “Swing Low” at your burial.

All your grandkids came for the service, even Bess made it from Russia and Jacob flew in from Cyprus.  And your great-granddaughter Kennedy Grace brought everyone joy with her smiles and running around the sanctuary. Nathan and Jacob shared wonderful memories at your service and Kevin played a moving Pachelbel’s Canon in D and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  Kevin also collaborated with family members to present a Grandpa slide show.  Kallie, Emily, Joel, Lennie, Kent, Wendy and Jenny Anne and many friends, neighbors and people from your department also braved the weather to cheer up Mommy and remember you. Father God kept us all well and safe through the worst snow and roads and even when it was zero degrees and the snow was falling at the cemetery, He was there with us.

Oh, Jesus, thank You that Daddy was 85 when You took him to heaven, just like Caleb was 85 when he entered the Promised Land. Thank You that Daddy used to play “Them Bones” on the banjo, and now You are breathing new life into his bones.  Thank You for preparing this place for Daddy in heaven and now he is there with You.  And thank You that goodness and mercy followed Daddy all the days of his life, and now he dwells in Your House forever.

I love you both!  I miss you, Daddy!  Father God, please take good care of Daddy until you call the rest of us home and we have that great big family reunion.

Love, Jenny Grace

 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” Ezekiel 37:5 (NKJV)

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (NKJV)

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 21:4 (NKJV)

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:43 (NKJV)

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

 

TEA with Hebrews 13

The goal of My TEA CUPP Prayers is to get you reading your Bible, listening to God, underlining verses that speak to you, and using those verses as conversation starters as you pray and have TEA with Jesus each day.  Eventually, all you will need is your Bible and you can share My TEA CUPP Prayers with a friend to get her started.  Inviting ladies to TEA with the King of kings…that’s our mission.  You are invited, my dear TEA CUPP friend.  Here are some verses from Hebrews 13 to get you started today…

T for Thanksgiving
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)

…the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant…through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have…Hebrews 13:5a (NKJV)

 C for Calling:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2 (NKJV)

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Hebrews 13:16 (NKJV)

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:

…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

Grace be with you all. Amen. Hebrews 13:25 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Soak yourself in Hebrews 13 today.  Read the chapter.  Underline your favorite verses.  Use these verses to pray with Jesus, pouring out your heart to Him. Keep this routine every day as you read your Bible and find more verses that God shows you.  May God bless you, dear friend!

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

Be One of the Faithful

 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God. Ezekiel 14:14 (NKJV)

Sometimes the books of the Old Testament prophets can be long and difficult to read, with much prophecy and destruction, because God’s people kept turning away from Him.  But there are still good verses tucked in there to exhort and encourage us in our walk with God.

The verse above from Ezekiel 14:14 was one of these that caught my eye.  When we read, “Noah, Daniel and Job,”  we feel connected, since most of us have heard their stories: Noah’s Arc, Daniel and the Lions, The Patience of Job.  The following verses remind us of each one.

…Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9 (NKJV)

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. Job 1:1 (NKJV)

A just man who walked with God, a man of prayer, a blameless and upright man…These are all great Bible heroes, strong in their faith.  So, what does Ezekiel 14:14 tell us?  It says that even if those three faithful men were there, they would only save themselves and no one else from God’s impending destruction.

What does this mean for us?  John McCarthur says in his notes on Ezekiel 14:14, “one man’s righteousness is no protection for another.” (MacArthur, 1997) We can’t take comfort that we live in a country founded under God, or that our neighbor attends church, or that our grandmother prayed for us.  We must make the decision for ourselves, confess Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raise Him from the dead, and we will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Even if we hangout with our pastor’s family or Bible study leader, though these are very good things to do, we won’t be delivered.  We must “hang out” with the King of kings, the Savior of our souls, God’s only Son who gave His life for our sins on the Cross, pouring out His blood to wash us clean.  We must be friends with Jesus.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Be friends with Jesus.  Have TEA with Him each day, reading His Word, the Bible, pouring out your heart to Him in prayer.  As you begin this new year, ask God to help you walk with Him each day as did Noah, Daniel, Job, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Ruth, and so many others Bible heroes.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:23-24 (NKJV)

MacArthur, J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. (p. 1168)

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

Many thanks to my Discipleland Sunday school curriculum for the Bible hero pictures I enjoy each week in our classroom!

Remember the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham tells the story of a crusade at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in 1953.  After a night of preaching, his friend John Bolton took a walk with Billy and commented, “Billy, you didn’t speak about the Cross.”

Rev. Graham’s friend went on to say, “How can anyone be converted without having at least one single view of the Cross where the Lord died for us?  You must preach about the Cross, Billy. You must preach about the blood that was shed for us there.  There is no other power than when we talk or preach about the Cross.” (Graham, 1997)

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, I exhort you to remember the Cross!  When you look at your tree, decorated with tinsel and lights, remember the tree that held our Savior Jesus, as He gave His precious life for us.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 (NKJV)

As you give presents to family and friends, remember the Greatest Gift ever given, when God gave His only Son to us:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

As you toss out the wrapping paper and scrub the holiday dishes, remember how Jesus shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary, washing away the sins of all who believe in Him.

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

And as you look upon the lights of Christmas, oohing and awhing at the displays in your town, remember to look to Jesus, the Light of the world, the author and finisher of our faith…

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember today the Baby who came in a manger, God in the flesh,  born to a virgin, to save the whole world.  Remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He grew to be a Man, fully perfect, without blemish, the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.  And so He gave His life for ours on the Cross. When you look at the Cradle, remember the Cross of Christ this Christmas, my friend.

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

Graham, B. (1997). Just As I Am. San Francisco: Harper Collins/Zondervan (p.243)

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

Some uncommon Christmas carols…

Thank You for the Cross with Matt Redman

The Old Rugged Cross

Shepherd’s Pie

I love to have a Christmas theme with our holiday meals.  This Christmas Eve we will have Shepherd’s Pie and Angel Food Cake!  You can’t beat that for sharing the Greatest Story while enjoying a family meal.  We will talk about how the shepherds were just sitting in their field, talking and watching their sheep as they did every night since they could remember.  When, boom, up in the sky appeared an angel, proclaiming to them:

…“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”   Luke 2:10-14 (NKJV)

And what did the shepherds do when they heard this Good News from the angels?  They left their posts and headed straight into town to find the baby Jesus.  Let’s leave what we are doing to find Jesus, too. Pop this shepherd’s pie in the oven or crockpot on Christmas Eve and head out to church.

Ingredients:
3 large white potatoes
1/2 teapsoon basil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk
salt and pepper
A variety of veggies, making 4-6 cups, including:
green or red onion
garlic (optional)
carrots
yellow peppers
kale/spinach leaves
pumpkin or zucchini cubes
tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon taragon
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup Daiya non-dairy cheese shreds
parsley flakes or fresh
paprika

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Put in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and boil gently for 20-25 minutes.  (Prepare your other veggies while the potatoes are cooking.)  Drain water.  Mash the potatoes, then add basil, olive oil, almond milk, salt and pepper.  Beat until fluffy.  Set aside.

Saute the onion in olive oil.  Add remaining veggies and seasonings, add firmer vegetables first (garlic, carrots, peppers), then add (kale/spinach, pumpkin, zucchini) and finally tomatoes right at the end. Cook 5-10 minutes total, or until veggies are starting to soften.  Transfer sauted veggies to a 2 quart casserole dish or crockpot.  Add the bay leaf and 1 cup water.  Spread the mashed potatoes on top.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes (set oven timer if you are going to church), or in the crockpot for 1-2 hours on high.  Just before serving, top with Daiya cheese shreds, parley and paprika sprinkles.

And for dessert, the day before, whip up this easy Angel Food Cake mix!

 

Now you can enjoy Shepherd’s Pie and Angel Food Cake and tell the Christmas story while you eat!  Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!!!

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

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

Thank you to Jesus The Good Shephed Clip Art!