Tools, not Rules

Every job has tools.  Baking a cake calls for a bowl, spoon or mixer, and an oven.  Building a fence takes a saw, hammer, nails, level, and maybe even a post driver.  Painting a house requires paint, brushes, a ladder, and perhaps some scaffolding. Prayer is no different. My TEA CUPP Prayers is about giving ladies tools to pray with Jesus each day. 

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

There is no right way to pray to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But My TEA CUPP Prayers will help you get started so you can spend time with Him in your own special way.  Let’s unpack the toolbox and see what we might need…

  1. A Bible to read and let Jesus speak to us first.
  2. A bookmark list of prayer requests.
  3. A hymnal to sing praises to God.
  4. A journal to record our prayers.
  5. A pen to write those prayers.
  6. A teacup or mug of your favorite beverage.
  7. A quiet spot for just you and Jesus.

As you sit in your quiet spot, sipping your morning mug, open your Bible (the Psalms, or Genesis, or John are good places to begin).  Read a chapter or two and let God speak to your heart.  Underline your favorite verses and use those verses as conversation starters as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer.  You can write the verse in your prayer journal and then add to it all you want to share with the Lord. You’ll find some verses are good for telling God, “Thanks.”  I like to mark those with a “T” in my Bible.  Some verses are good for exalting or praising Jesus. I mark those with an “E” in my Bible.”  Some verses are good for admitting our sins. Those I mark with an “A” in my Bible.  And I keep going with the CUPP for Calling, Understanding, Promises, and Petitions. You can pray all the parts each day or just one part a day, depending on the verses you underline. Soon you will have a prayer routine that is just right for you and Jesus.

If you lose your toolbox or forget to bring it with you, remember, you can still pray!  Strip away the quiet spot, and you just pray amidst the chaos.  Remove the hot drink, and you find yourself drinking Living Water.  Lose the pen and journal, and you pour your heart out with your voice.  Forget the hymnal, and you sing new songs to the Lord of your own.  Misplace your prayer list bookmark, and pray for whomever God puts upon your heart.  Hide your Bible and it’s just you and Jesus (but you best find it for next time!). 

A dear lady in my Bible study group earnestly shared one Wednesday morning, “It doesn’t matter what words you use to pray.  God knows your heart and hears your prayers.  You can’t make your prayer any better with more words or fancier words.  Just pray your heart.”  This stuck with me from that day forward.  It doesn’t matter if I do the entire TEA CUPP or just part of it, or write my prayers, or say them aloud, or use clever words, or simple words…God hears all my prayers.  And when I’m at a loss for words, His Word, the Bible, gives me all the words I need to keep on praying.

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

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear friend, it’s time to pack your toolbox so you are ready to pray!  Find everything you need and lay it out for tomorrow morning.  Set your alarm for 5 a.m., get up, fill your morning mug, be amazed at what God will do with your prayer time.

If you enjoyed this devotion, you might also like to read Prayer Journal How-tos and My Jesus Spot and How to Get Started with Your Jesus Tea.

The Lost Hymnals

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)

When I read this scripture passage from 1 Timothy, immediately my heart begins to sing and my mouth hums the great hymn by Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908). The old Welsch melody fills my thoughts as I sing…

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise. (Whalmers)

A wonderful way to exalt Jesus is to sing old hymns to Him each morning.  You can do this!  Ask your pastor if there is a closet full of old hymnals at your church and if you may please have one.  The answer is most likely, “Yes,” as many churches display the songs on screens now.  Take your “new” borrowed hymnal home and use it as part of your morning Bible TEA time.  Thumb through the pages until you find a familiar hymn to praise Jesus.

Some favorite old hymns for exalting Jesus include How Great Thou Art; To God be the Glory; Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty; O Worship the King, All Glorious Above; Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; and All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name and many more!

You may also find a new-to-you hymn with powerful words. Even if you don’t know the tune, you can pray it to Jesus. I found one like this in our old hymnal entitled, Teach Me to Pray, Lord by Albert Simpson Reitz.  The first stanza cries…

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray. (Reitz)

Today’s TEA CUPP: The old hymns praise Jesus with His Word.  Ask to borrow an old hymnal from church for your quiet time. Put it in your Jesus spot.  Hum, sing, and exalt Jesus with glorious old hymns filled with His Word! You will be so blessed!

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 (NKJV)

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
Psalm 18:46 (NKJV)

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!
Revelation 5:12 (NKJV)

To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Jude 1:25 (NKJV)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11(NKJV)

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

On our Knees

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  Psalm 95:6 (NKJV)

Eighteen years ago today, September 11, 2001, the lives of Americans, as well as citizens of the world, were changed forever.  For on this day terrorists chose to take innocent lives, countless courageous citizens gave of themselves, and our nation was brought to its knees for a time. 

What happened?  Why aren’t we still on our knees?  Some articles say church attendance increased for only a few weeks after 9/11, continuing a trend for decades of declining participation.  Yet other articles say at the very heart of the tragedy, Evangelical churches sprouted and have flourished.  Why aren’t we all still on our knees?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over the threat of the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over babies dying?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for unsaved family and friends?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for lost youth?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for our pastors and missionaries who give of themselves every day and need protection from the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees?

I remember the first time I saw someone on their knees in prayer.  It was my Grandma Margaret Applequist.  Grandma was visiting us for a few weeks and was sleeping in the bedroom belonging to my sister and me.  We were sleeping in the basement to give Grandma some peace and privacy.  But I caught a cold, so they put me back upstairs in the extra bed in my own room.  A few hours after going to sleep I awoke.  A small crack of light coming from the hallway shone on my Grandma, kneeling by her bed in prayer.  What an impact that picture made on a sick, young girl’s heart.  I wanted to be like Grandma!

And yet, when I have My TEA CUPP Prayers, I sit curled on the sofa; when we pray at meals, I’m sitting at the table; when I say good-night prayers with my kids, I’m sitting on the edge of their beds, or standing by their bunks…when am I on my knees?  Though I know He hears all those prayers, God really started impressing these kneeling prayers upon my heart, so I asked Him to show me in Scripture where it says I should be on my knees, and guess what, He did!

he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God… Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow... Philippians 2:10 (NKJV)

…And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.  Acts 21:5 (NKJV)

and fell down and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:11 (NKJV)

And so, now, every evening, when my husband and I say our goodnight prayers, instead of lying in bed with one of us dozing off, we are on our knees beside the bed, pouring our hearts out to the Lord.

We hear of faithful Christians like Reverend Billy Graham wearing out the toes of their shoes or the knees of their pants because they knelt so often in prayer.  My friends, we need to do the same!  Wear out your knees for your family! Wear out your toes for your neighbors. Wear out the rug next to your bed for your country.  Let’s get on our knees and pray!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  While researching this devotion I came across another great devotion you might enjoy by Dr. David Jeremiah.  And also this one about Reverend Billy Graham.  Let’s follow their godly examples. “Do it again, Lord, do it again!”

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Ephesians 3:14 (NKJV)

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

What’s in your mug?

I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:13 (NKJV)

What are you sipping in your morning mug? Tea, coffee, espresso, orange juice, water, Gatorade?  We all have a favorite beverage.  I have a teacher friend who used to walk around school with a coffee mug filled with Mountain Dew because it was okay for teachers to drink coffee, but not soda pop, and she was the PE teacher! I love her sense of humor! Now she is a principal; that Mountain Dew must have worked!

My favorite morning beverage has changed over the years as my health has changed.  I used to just hold a mug of hot water in the mornings until I found out the benefits of various teas.  I also enjoyed a hot cocoa every day, but that doesn’t agree with my tummy anymore.  This summer green tea and Hammer sports drinks are my favorites as I train for a marathon, but that could all change by winter!

The important point today is not what’s in your morning mug…coffee, tea, etc…but what you are doing with your first hour of the day.  Fill up your cup and sit down with your Bible and Jesus.  You can have coffee time with Jesus while saying your TEA CUPP Prayers, it’s okay! The TEA CUPP is just an acronym for things you can talk about while you are together.  Using God’s Word we can pray: Thanking, Exalting, Admitting, Calling, Understanding, claiming God’s Promises, and Petitioning.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up. Psalm 5:3 (NKJV)

As you sip your favorite drink, emptying your mug, let Jesus refill your cup with His Word, joy, peace, and love.  Jesus is all we ever need.  He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.  Let Jesus fill your heart and life and cup today and every day!!!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Fill your cup with Jesus!  Plan to start every day in His Word. Set your alarm early, pour your favorite beverage, and sit down with your Bible (before even checking your phone for messages).  Let Jesus speak to you and fill you with His Word.  The chorus of a hymn by Richard Blanchard says:

Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up, Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole. 

Let this be our prayer today. Enjoy this precious version by Hope Montana. 

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: Hold fast (1 Corinthians 15:2), my friend. 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.”

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!

Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 142:7 (NKJV)

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

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: Exalting with Mary

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Luke 1:46-67

We all love Mary.  You know, Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus from your Christmas nativity scene?  Yes, there are many Marys in the Bible, but none is as special as this young lady whom God chose to be the mother of His Son Jesus.  Mary was so obedient when the angel came with the news, that she replied, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

After receiving the angel’s announcement, Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also miraculously pregnant in her old age with the special baby John the Baptist.  When Mary walked in the door, the baby John leapt inside Elizabeth’s womb for joy that his Savior had come.  What better story is there than this for life beginning in the womb! 

And it was there in Elizabeth’s house that Mary shared her praise to God.  Known as Mary’s song, she sang…

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Luke 1:46-55

Mary’s Song inspires me to pray…

O Jesus, Your dear mother Mary had words to praise You when You were just a tiny baby in her womb.

She magnified You and rejoiced in You. 

She knew You were God and Savior.

She Knew You were the One who does great things and sends us all blessings.

She knew You are holy and merciful and we should come to You in fear and respect.

And she knew You are forever, from generation to generation.

Mary proclaimed all this and EXALTED You with her cousin Elizabeth as they were both expecting miraculous babies. 

May all the world magnify You, Jesus, as did Mary! 

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the wonderful story of Mary in Luke 1:26-56. Isn’t it amazing how she praised the Lord so beautifully with this little life inside of her?  Can we do the same? Can we lift up and EXALT the name of Jesus each day as moms?  That’s what the “E” part of the TEA CUPP is all about, EXALTING the Lord.  This week as you read your Bible, be on the lookout for verses to praise Jesus.  Another Bible mom, Hannah, the mother of Samuel prayed this one…

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2

Bible Mom: If Sarah gave Thanks…

And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6

Sarah laughed. She didn’t cry. She didn’t say, “That’s crazy!” She didn’t immediately rejoice in thanks and praise to God. Sarah laughed.

Do you remember the story of Sarah?  We meet her early on in our Bibles, right in the book of Genesis.  Her name really began as Sarai, meaning “my princess,” and Abraham’s name was Abrahm. Sarai was a very beautiful lady, so beautiful that Abraham told kings she was his sister to protect himself.  She actually was his sister, but only a half-sister. 

Sarai had an interesting life as God called Abrahm to move.  She became accustomed to living in tents and honored Abrahm’s wishes when he requested her silence.  Sarai did have one fault: She didn’t trust God to provide her with a child, so she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham.  Hagar conceived and bore a son name Ishmael, but He wasn’t God’s chosen heir.  Sarai then abused Hagar and Ishmael because she wanted a child (Genesis 16).

Finally, God looked with favor on the elderly couple, sending an angel to announce a baby.  Abrahm was given the new name Abraham, and Sarai was given the name Sarah, meaning “princess.”  She would no longer be just Abraham’s princess, but the mother of many!  When the baby announcement came, Sarah was hiding in the tent.  Since she was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17) and thought she’d never have a baby, she laughed at the news (Genesis 18:12).  And so her baby was given the name Isaac which means laughter. 

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11 (NKJV)

Can you imagine Sarah’s THANKS to God after the birth of Isaac?  What would she say?

 THANK You, Lord, for this son you have given me in my old age. 

THANK You for hearing my prayers from so long ago. 

THANK You for forgiving me for my sin in sharing Hagar and then abusing her.

THANK You for taking away my shame and blessing me. 

THANK You for watching over us all our lives as we moved from here to there, protecting me from those kings who might have touched me. 

THANK You for being the One who formed the stars and Your promise that our children will be as many as the stars (Genesis 15:5).

THANK You again and again for this baby.

THANK You, Oh, Lord, my God. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Sarah’s story in Genesis 18:1-15. Ponder what Sarah might have prayed in THANKSGIVING. What blessings do you have for which to THANK God?  This is what the first “T” of the TEA CUPP is all about, giving Him THANKS. 

This week underline THANKSGIVING verses in your BIBLE. Put a “T” next to the verses, choosing one to write in your prayer journal. Use this as a conversation starter for your THANKSGIVING prayers.  Here are some verses to get you started…

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:2

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

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

Thank you to Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org for the great clip art!

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

TEA Event Planner

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)

Hello, dear TEA Friends! Thank you for inviting me to your next ladies’ gathering. To make your event a success, I put together this short event planner to help you. I’m praying for you as you plan for your special day!

3-6 months in advance of your TEA:

  • Pray!
  • Pick a date and book the date with Jennifer Grace (be sure to check for other community events, weddings, etc. happening that day in your town. Pick a date that works for most people).
  • Recruit your committee. Be sure to include the chairperson (keeps everyone moving forward on their tasks, plans schedule, stays in touch with Jennifer Grace), prayer coordinator (encourages congregation to pray for the event), music (plans and coordinates music for event), decorations (plans a happy tea party atmosphere, one idea is to have different ladies each host a table with their fancy china), refreshments (plans menu, perhaps a potluck or simple tea and cookies), publicity (newspaper, facebook, posters, invitations to other churches, etc.), facilities/sound (set-up of gathering area, along with sound system/AV).

2-4 months before your TEA:

  • Pray!
  • Confirm your date with Jennifer Grace.
  • Meet with committee to see how they are progressing on their projects (prayer coordinator, music, decorations, refreshments, publicity, facilities) . Who needs help?

1-2 months before your TEA:

  • Pray!
  • Meet with the committee. Finalize all details (prayer coordinator, music, decorations, refreshments, publicity, facilities) and tasks for each person. Make sure they each have a good team to help them.
  • Check in with Jennifer Grace to let her know how you are doing.

1 week before your TEA:

  • Pray!
  • Meet with your committee. Check all the details (prayer coordinator, music, decorations, refreshments, publicity, facilities). Encourage ladies to bring friends.

Day of the TEA:

  • Pray! Glorify Jesus for this special day!

Sample Schedules from other TEAS:

Evening TEA:

  • 5:00 Worship Music in Sanctuary
  • 5:15 Guest Speaker: Jennifer Grace
  • 6:00 Potluck in Fellowship Hall on fancy tables

Afternoon TEA:

  • 2:00 Tea welcome and etiquette
  • 2:10 Tea games
  • 2:25 Tea party with door prizes and conversation starters
  • 3:20 Guest speaker: Jennifer Grace
  • 3:50 Wrap-up and Prayer

Morning TEA:

  • 10:00 Gathering and welcome
  • 10:15 Tea and cookies
  • 10:30 Guest speaker: Jennifer Grace
  • 11:30 Prayers and good-byes

MOPS Tea Party:

  • 9:00 Brunch and fellowship and announcements
  • 9:30 Guest Speaker: Jennifer Grace
  • 10:15 Craft: Modge Podge Prayer Journals
  • 11:00 Closing Prayer and Good-byes

As we pray for this special TEA event, here are some of my prayers…

  • For Jesus to be glorified!
  • For God to send the exact ladies He wants there.
  • For Jesus to strengthen and guide the event chairperson.
  • For the Lord to give me (Jennifer Grace) the words He wants me to share.
  • For the Holy Spirit to fill your church or gathering area.
  • For lives to be transformed by Jesus and His Word with ladies spending time with Him each day in prayer.
  • For God’s hand of protection over the entire event.

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

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