Wings of the Morning

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10 (NKJV)

I don’t like flying.  Perhaps it’s because I know firsthand planes don’t always make it home (please see my running story). I’m amazed how people fly every week for work and return safely.  They aren’t afraid, so I shouldn’t be either.  But still, it is a true test of my faith to get on an airplane and believe I will return.

This past weekend I was blessed to visit our sweet granddaughter and flying was the only way to make it happen. A 6 a.m. flight necessitated a 3:45 a.m. departure from our home, so I didn’t have my TEA time with Jesus until I was on board the plane.

There in my Bible reading for the day were these verses from Psalm 139:9-10, “If I take the wings of the morning…” Here I was flying into the sunrise, high above the earth. What more could this verse mean?  How did the author write such a perfect Psalm for me centuries before the invention of the airplane?  God’s Word is amazing!  And so I claimed His promise to hold me with His right hand.

Just a month ago I claimed these same verses for our oldest son flying to Europe as a missionary. Seven years ago I wrote our daughter’s name by these verses as she flew to Guam as an exchange student.  Parents everywhere, you can pray these verses for your children.  Especially pray Psalm 139:7-8 for your prodigals. God is holding them, too!

On my return flight home from our precious granddaughter, there was late afternoon turbulence.  It was all I could do to resist gripping the arm of the stranger next to me as the plane jostled and vibrated the passengers.  Instead, I gripped the armrest and prayed the verses again, “If I take the wings of the (evening)…Your right hand shall hold me!”  And He did!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, Jesus is holding you.  Wherever you are, in His will, out of His will, on the land or in the air or by the sea, He is with you to lead and hold you.  Underline these verses in your Bible and take comfort in His promises today.

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

…Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights! Psalm 148:1 (NKJV)

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

Hymn by Michael Joncas

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

Promises Outside My Window

My Tea Cupp PrayersFor since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

I am spoiled.  I live in South Central Montana where the scenery never ceases to be beautiful, where God’s creation forever proclaims His glory.  And I get to see it all outside my morning window.

As I sit on the sofa for TEA with Jesus each morning, I read my Bible, glancing out the window as I ponder His Word.  There in the early morning light are God’s promises, echoing what I’ve read in His Word.

The last star of the night is still shining above our old barn.  God declares:

  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. Revelation 22:16 (NKJV)

Two deer wander through the late-winter field, looking for some early spring plants to nibble.  I tell God:

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
 Psalm 42:1 (NKJV)

The mountains on the horizon beyond the fields catch the first rays of dawn.  And I lift up my eyes and pray:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

Patches of snow still frame our yard, having drifted under the eaves of the barn.  God promises:

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

Brave lily plants already poke through the bare ground, promising spring is on the way.  And God says:

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease. G
enesis 8:22 (NKJV)

The big blue morning sky stretches from East to West, as far as I can see.  And I rejoice as God proclaims:

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Head outside for a nature walk today, looking for glimpses of God and praying as you walk. Oh, Jesus, You gave us this beautiful world to enjoy and to teach us about You.  Thank You for Your wonderful promises in Your creation and in Your Word.  I love You, Jesus!

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

 Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

God Loves You!

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

Long before there were Emoji with every face and feeling, there were simple yellow smiley faces with four words, “Smile, God loves you!”

Do you remember seeing these on bumper stickers and binders?  They always brought a smile to my face and the thought, “That’s nice.”

But one day when I was reading the book of John, it hit me.  John 16:27 proclaims that the Father Himself (God) loves me, because I believe in Jesus.  All because I love Jesus and believe He came from God, God loves me!  Even if I mess up today and all my friends send me frowny emojis, God loves me.  He will never stop loving me.  He loves me forever into eternal life in heaven, because I love Jesus and believe He came from God.  What a wonderful promise.

The beauty of His promise is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  Jesus died for all our sins before we were even born, or knew Him, or believed in Him. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13).  That is an amazing love I hold dear in my heart forever.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, God’s promises are for you. Believe in His Son Jesus and love Him with all your heart.  Tell Him you love Him today! Smile, God loves you!

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)

 

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

Prince of Peace Tea

Peace TeaPeace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 (NKJV)

Last summer, in our family’s efforts to give up carbonated beverages with high-fructose corn syrup, we found this delicious beverage at our local store, Peace Tea.  Though the artwork on the cans is expressive of the 60’s with peace symbols and “V” fingers, the name gave me an idea.

I quickly fetched two cans from our recycling bin and snapped a photo for my website.  What could be a better flavor for My Tea Cupp Prayers than Peace Tea?  Wasn’t Jesus the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)? What can we learn by drinking Peace Tea?

My lovely Wednesday morning Bible study ladies teach me so much!  Our current study is on the book of Romans, and we just completed Chapter 5.  We learned how we, like the first man Adam, would have inherited God’s wrath because of our sins.  BUT, because of our faith in Jesus, instead we inherit PEACE and eternal life.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

As soon as we ask God for forgiveness, we have peace with Him. Even if we don’t feel at peace, we have peace because of Jesus.  And nothing can snatch us from His hands! Nothing!

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 8:38-39 (NKJV)

So why might we still not feel peaceful, even  though we have peace with God?  It’s this fallen world we live in!  As long as we live in this world of sin, we will have troubles, the Bible promises that:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NKJV)

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  Matthew 10:34 (NKJV)

So, what are we to do?  Keep praying!  Keep having TEA with Jesus each day.  Pour out our hearts to Him and let Him take our troubles, filling our cups to overflowing with the Prince of Peace Tea.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Sip a Prince of Peace Tea CUPP today.  Ask God for forgiveness and the gift of His peace.  Let Jesus take your worries.  May the Holy Spirit fill your cup to overflowing!

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

On My Daddy’s Shoulders

Daddy's ShouldersI can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be. (lyrics by Josh Groban)

This song ran through my head one August day as my family hiked through Glacier National Park.  Little Joel, at only 3 1/2 years old, was a brave and ready hiker, but often wanted a lift from his Daddy or big brothers.  We had no need for bear bells, for when Joel was happy, he spoke a running commentary through the forest, and when he was tired there were wails of complaints.

Our first day, we rode the free shuttle over the Going-to-the-Sun Road and hiked the popular path to Avalanche Lake on the west side of the park.  After cooling our toes and throwing rocks into the lake, we headed back down to the Trail of Cedars.  On the way, along with some other hikers, we encountered a black bear!  As Joel sat safely on big brother Jacob’s shoulders, his mom hid behind them both, and brother Kevin snapped photos of the furry guest.daddy4

The second day took us to Red Rock Lake and Falls in the Many Glacier area on the east side of the park. This was a gentle path near our campsite, but Joel still thought some carrying would be a good idea.  Not too far down the trail, at Fishercap Lake, we witnessed a bull moose swimming in the water.  At the Falls, Joel, who was earlier short on strength, thought he should climb up the steep rocks to be with his brothers.

The third day, the weather turned to wind and rain, but we were already signed up for a ranger-led hike to the Grinnell Glacier, also on the east side.  Our voyage began at 8:30 a.m.on Chief Two Guns, a passenger boat on Swiftcurrent Lake outside the Many Glacier Hotel. The vessel took us to the other shore where we hiked over the ridge to Lake Josephine. There we boarded another boat, the Morning Eagle.  When that ride ended, it was time for the hard work in the pouring rain.  Decked in many layers and a trash bag, Joel began the hike to Grinnell Glacier.DKevin's Shoulders

But with switchbacks, steep drop offs, high winds and cold rain, Joel was soon needing the strong backs of his Daddy and brothers.  By 11 a.m. we reached the pit toilets, just a half mile before the Glacier.  Joel was shivering to the core, and with the wind howling, things looked grim.  Kevin saved the day with some hand-warmers from his backpack, and Jacob rescued Joel with one last shoulder ride to the top.daddy3

There, with the clouds and cold and rain, we gobbled our lunch and admired one of the few shrinking glaciers left in the Park.  The 4-mile ascent through precipitation and shear cliffs was suddenly all worthwhile, as we gazed at the Park’s namesake.  Then the long 4-mile trek back down the mountain began, and guess who was a great hiker – Joel!  Warmed by an occasional sunbeam and his own quick pace, Joel made it all the way back to Lake Josephine where he threw rocks in the water until the 2:45 p.m. boat arrived for the return journey. On the boat, Joel promptly fell asleep.

Daddy'sShoulders2All those shoulder rides reminded me of this awesome song by Josh Groban.  Whereas Joel couldn’t have stood on the mountain, or made it through the storm without his Daddy’s shoulders (and his brothers!), we can’t make it through this life without our heavenly Daddy, caring us along the way.  Jesus carries us on sunny days when there are bears.  He carries us on cloudy days when we just don’t think we can make it.  And the Lord lifts us up when our path takes us through storms and mountains.  I am so thankful for Jesus’ shoulders!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Enjoy this video of Josh Groban’s song and praise Jesus for all the times He has carried you today.

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.  Isaiah 40:29 (NKJV)

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.  Exodus 15:2 (NKJV)

My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

Packed with Promises

tea cupp - PAre there times when making yourself a cup of tea, that you add a heaping spoonful of sugar or an extra dab of honey?  Or, perhaps you have cookies with your tea?  It seems there are moments when we truly need a little extra sweetness to carry us through the day.

God gives us extra sweetness in His Word.  He must know we need a big dose of His promises to carry us through the ups and downs.  Romans 8 is one of those passages that is simply packed with promises!  So, if you need a big serving of God’s sweet promises, I recommend Romans 8 for you today. Let’s take a look:

We are not condemned:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

God’s Spirit is in us:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit helps us pray:

 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)

God works all things for good:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

God is for us:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31 (NKJV)

Jesus is praying 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)

We are more than conquerors:

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Nothing can separate us from Jesus!

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 8:38-39 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: I like to underline favorite verses in my Bible as I read.  If the verse is one of God’s promises, I put a “P” in the margin next to it.  Underline these promises in your Bible today, along with any others you find.  Hide these promises in your heart and claim them as your own.

New King James Version (NKJV)

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

Pouring a Pot of Precious Promises

2x8n  Through these He Has given us His very great and precious promises…  2 Peter 1:4 (NIV)

 Today I sit with Jesus and let Him fill my CUPP.  His teapot is brewing full of precious promises.  I see the steam rising and smell the delicious aroma.  I hold out my CUPP and pray, “Jesus, please pour me some TEA?”  He slowly tips the pot, filling my CUPP to overflowing with His precious promises.

I try to keep up with Him, repeating each promise as it comes…

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John  16:33(NKJV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

But then I ask Jesus to slow down, I might have to savor these promises and come back for more tomorrow.  My little human brain is trying to remember and embrace each one.  Jesus understands, letting these precious promises soak into me.  He will always be there with more for my every need…for comfort, for peace, for trials, for a friend, for heartaches…Jesus has a precious promise for everything.  Thank You, dearest Jesus!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, today as you read God’s Word, underline the precious promises you find.  Ask Jesus for a cupful to carry you through this next week.  It will be a most delicious CUPP of TEA!

Then they believed His PROMISES
and sang His praise.
Psalm 106:12 (NIV)

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

My Best Friend Jesus

my best friend Jesus…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brotherProverbs 18:24  (NKJV)

I always wanted a best friend.  When I was three years old I had a friend down the block named Susie Brown.  We played together, watched Sesame Street, planted pieces of wicker to grow a pretzel bush, and got into her sisters’ things.  It was fun to have such a close friend. But then Susie moved to Texas when I was six.

Over the years God sent other friends to fill Susie’s place…Andi, Michale, Jennie, Jennifer, Mary Anne, Jean, Laura, Sarah, Becky, Jill, Lisa, Nancy, Jodi, Cindy, Susan (all very special to me!!!)…but they had other friends, too.  It seemed no one needed a best friend.

Yet today I encounter folks with best friends.  My scrapbook buddy had a surprise 40th birthday party given by her best friend from high school.  My neighbor was driving to Saturday morning coffee with her life time best friend, a weekly date.  There still are best friends in the world, after all.

With my Christmas card basket full of cards, I know I do have friends.  But none are best friends.  Who will be my best friend?  God tells me it is Jesus.

Jesus is the One who is ALWAYS there for me.  He never lets me down.  He holds me when I’m sad and wipes away my tears.  He carries me on days that I can’t carry myself.  On happy days, He is there to share my joy.  When I mess up, He forgives me right away.  He promises to never leave me nor forsake me.  I’m so thankful that Jesus is my best friend!

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to youJohn 15:15 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  May the words of this old hymn bring us comfort and joy today, as we have TEA with our best friend Jesus…

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.  By Joseph M. Scriven, 1855

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

No More Tears

no more tearsAnd 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.  Revelations 21:4  (NKJV)

Joel loves his bath time.  Every night after dinner he points to the bathroom, announcing, “Baaa.”  He really needs a bath after wearing his soup bowl or finger-painting with pasta sauce.

Joel has many favorite toys he plays with in the tub, but lately he has chosen an empty bottle of Johnson’s baby bath.  He takes the lid on and off, dumping and pouring water again and again.

One evening Joel was studying his empty soap bottle, pointing out the pink tear drop to me.  Inside the teardrop is Johnson’s famous promise, “NO MORE TEARS.”  We are very thankful for their no tear shampoo.

This got me thinking about the One who promises “NO MORE TEARS” for eternity.  No tears, sadness or death.  Can you imagine?  No sin.  No people upset.  No wrong words or hurt relationships.  No abuse or pain or addictions.  None of the trials we have in this world.  No financial struggles. No cancer.  No losing babies.  No broken families.  NO MORE TEARS!

Author Max Lucado describes it like this:
“John says that someday God will wipe away your tears.  The same hands that stretched the heavens will touch your cheeks.  The same hands that formed the mountains will caress your face.  The same hands that curled in agony as the Roman spike cut through will someday cup your face and brush away your tears.  Forever.” (From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado)

When we take a bath in the Living Water, we are baptized into new life with Christ.  We claim NO MORE TEARS for eternity.  What a heavenly promise for all to embrace!  I look forward to that wonderful day!

Thank you, dearest Jesus for Your promise of NO MORE TEARS!

Today’s TEA CUPP:    Draw a tear-drop shape in your prayer journal today and write the promise from Revelations 21:4.  If you are going through a really tough time, perhaps you’d like to post this promise on your bathroom mirror, right near your bottle of shampoo (that’s what I’m going to do today!).

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8  (NKJV)Johnson's Baby Wash

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

 

 

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