Off to College

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hiding in Jesus

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

Shine for Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings

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

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

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

Protection from the enemy

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

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

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

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
  Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving

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

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

Wisdom from God

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victory in Jesus

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

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

Encouraging Promises

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Petitions for Student

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staying on God’s Path

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Church!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baptized in Christ Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Acts 22:16 (NKJV)

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

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

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

Buckets & Babies

…so that I may finish my race with joy… Acts 20:24

In early 2018, I came across a bucket list I had written in 2010 after losing our babies. It was just a short list, but the things on it I could only do with God’s help. As I read over the list, I was delighted that Jesus had already blessed me with two items…our precious baby Joel and publishing My TEA CUPP Prayers. So, I just had to finish the list.

Last year, with God’s strength, I ran half of the marathon on my bucket list. It went well, so I thought I’d train for the whole marathon this year. And now it is just a month away on September 8th! My whole body hurts, but I’m still training!  One thing that made last year’s run special was dedicating it to moms and babies everywhere.  I’d like to do that again this year.

A 2015 report of abortions in the United States, says there were 638,169 babies killed that year.  That’s 638,169 lives lost and mamas with hurting hearts. If I divide that number by 365 days and again by 24 hours and multiply by the 4 hours I estimate my race to be, that means almost 300 babies will die while I am running the marathon on September 8th.  That is very sad.

So, what can we do?  We can pray!  Pray for moms to keep their babies, reaching out for help from organizations such as the Morning Center in Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.  The Morning Center exists to partner with the local Church to provide prenatal through postpartum care to moms in need, in the name of Jesus.

We can also give.  If you’d like to give a gift per mile to the Morning Center for my marathon, you can give online or mail a check to The Morning Center, 3638 Macon Rd, Memphis, TN 38122.  $1/mile would be $26, $2/mile would be $52, etc.  You can put a note in the memo, “Morning Marathon” or “All 4 Jesus,” that’s what will be on my t-shirt this year.

Thank you so much for helping me help moms and babies, in the name of Jesus! Please pray for Jesus to keep me healthy so I can finish my race with joy.  Thank you!

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

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus... Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

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)

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

Holding His Feet

…cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your daysDeuteronomy 30:20


Does it seem like you are always going through something?  Whether it is an illness, cancer diagnosis, death of loved one, family troubles, money problems, car repairs…there is always a trial that makes us worried, anxious, sad, struggling, depressed…Who can help us?  Who is always there for us?  Who can we hold onto in the storm? 

Jesus!  Yes, Jesus is always the answer!  And today I have two Bible stories for you where women really did hold onto Jesus, they held onto His feet!  Just as a toddler will wrap his arms around Mommy’s legs, these women gripped Jesus’s feet with all their strength and did not let go.

The first example was before Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  Jesus was dining at the home of a Pharisee when a woman entered with an alabaster flask filled with fragrant oil.  This woman was certainly struggling for the Bible calls her a sinner, and she was weeping as she stood behind Jesus. Then she did the boldest thing, she washed Jesus’s feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, and finally anointed His feet with the fragrant oil.  After the Pharisee complained, Jesus told the dear woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48) and “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

… (She) stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:38 (NKJV)

The second story comes after Jesus died on the cross, after He was buried, and after He rose from the grave.  It was that very Sunday when Jesus rose that these two Marys went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body. But when they arrived, there was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled the stone away from the tomb entrance, sitting on the stone.  The guards were so scared they fainted, but the women watched amazed as the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” ( Matthew 28:5).  The angel invited them to see where Jesus had lain. As the two Marys were leaving to tell the disciples, Who did they meet? Jesus!  “So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 28:9)

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Matthew 28:9 (NKJV)

We also can hold Jesus’s feet!  Whether we’ve made some terrible mistakes and come to Him as sinners, like the first woman, or we are lost in grief like the two Marys, we can come to Jesus and cling to His feet.  And He will comfort us with His Word, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read these Bible stories today in Luke 7:36-50 and Matthew 28:1-10.  Then cling to Jesus’s feet, telling Him everything that is on your heart.  Perhaps you’ll also enjoy this song entitled, “The Alabaster Flask.”

Remembering Gloria Anne…10 years later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our joy in the morning.

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

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

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

 

Even Better Brownies

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

Often this time of year, I like to to pause to share a yummy recipe, and this one is a winner! Adapted from my Best Brownies recipe, this one is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, and only sweetened with honey…pretty much sin-free, unless you find yourself eating the whole pan :-).

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons flax seed, soaked in 6 Tablespoons water

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder*
1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8×8-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix the flax seed and water, set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients:  flour, cocoa, guar gum, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the flax water, coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Stir until mixed. Fold in the cacao nibs and walnuts. Using a rubber scraper, spread the brownie batter into your prepared baking pan.  Bake for 33 minutes, cool, cut, and enjoy!

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

*Homemade baking powder from my dear friend Shannon:

1/2 cup arrowroot flour, 1/3 cup cream of tarter, 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda

Out of Prison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand
. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers…Coming Soon!

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

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

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

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

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

Come quench your thirsty soul!

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

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

Thanksgiving with Sarah

Exalting with Mary

Admitting with Eve

Calling with Samson’s Mom

Understanding with Ruth

Promises with the Shunammite

Petitioning with Hannah

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

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

How to Get Started with your Jesus TEA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Mom: Hannah’s Petition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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