20 Years Ago Today

Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. Luke 8:39 (NKJV)

Twenty years ago on this very day, God called us to the mountains of south-central Montana.  My husband and I had been married ten years, bringing with us our nine-year-old daughter Kallie, our six-year-old son Jacob, and our brand new one-month-old baby Kevin.  

We drove our U-haul truck up the winding, bumpy Boulder Road to a piece of heaven called Camp on the Boulder.  There, my husband was to be the new camp manager.  It took two hours to get from the nearest town of Big Timber to the camp with that U-haul, so I assumed it really was a two-hour drive (though later, in emergency-room runs, I could fly down it in 38 minutes!).  

We drove into the camp and to the cabin designated for us, moving ahead as directed by board members.  Yet no one saw the power lines and the height of the U-haul.  So the very first thing we did was knock out power to our tiny new home.

Volunteers helped unload the truck full of boxes and furniture from our home in Iowa.  Unfortunately, this little mountain cabin did not have the room of our previous spacious house, so boxes were piled to the ceiling. I sat on our sofa, trying to nurse my baby, freezing because the power was out, noticing mice running under the doors.

All the glamour of living in a log cabin in the mountains completely left me.  I burst into tears and wanted to go home.  I wanted to load that U-haul back up before my husband could return it to town.  I wanted to go back to familiar Iowa.  

The closest telephone was next door in the Ranch House, the original cabin from the Hell’s Canyon Dude Ranch that precluded the camp.  This was another scary, unfamiliar building with its dark interior, dust, and almost a century of memories.  But at least it had heat for my baby and me. 

I called my daddy back in Iowa on that phone. We had just spent the previous month with my parents while between jobs and already I missed them.  I cried to my daddy, “I want to come home.”  And guess what my daddy said…

“No,” was his reply. “I’m sorry, Jenny, I can’t let you do that.”  

And so I cried buckets of tears and resolved that I would be stuck there forever:  Be there with the mice running under the doors, be there with the power going out regularly, be there with all the ups and downs of church camp ministry.  And we served Jesus there for almost 12 years before God called us to town, and I cried again because I didn’t want to leave.  

Today, we are still in Montana, and very often I proudly sing, “My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana…”  so glad to be where “the deer and the antelope play,” thankful for the Big Sky and open places, where, as one pastor pointed out, we’ve been practicing social distancing since 1889.

In 20 years, God has sent so many blessings, that I can’t number them all, but let me try to list a few…

God provided a new home for us. We only had to stay in that old log cabin four summers and then a lovely year-round home was built for us by volunteers at the camp, one that was tight with no mice!

God rescued us from forest fires. I used to know how many times we evacuated because of forest fires, but the number escapes me now.  It was so many that our kids were experts at loading the car with prized pets and possessions.  And each time, God kept us and our camp safe. 

We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:12 (NKJV)

God sent so many wonderful volunteers and camp ministry team members and Nomads over the years with whom we still keep in touch.  What a blessing to know such dear people.

God fulfilled all our prayers for the camp. The ministry that broke our hearts, and often broke our backs, is now owned by the one of the biggest churches in Billings, Montana. God is answering all the prayers we had for it so long ago. It’s a delight to see God using this piece of heaven for His glory.

In 2011, we moved to town where Jesus provided again a beautiful place to live, wonderful people to work for, church family, praying friends, and Awana and youth group leaders for our kids.  And everyday we wake up to the breathtaking view of the Crazy Mountains, the Beartooths and the Absarokas.  Thank you, dearest Jesus.

God watched over our children… with God’s help, we homeschooled, bringing them up to love and know Jesus. Our daughter Kallie earned her bachelors and masters degrees and is now married and the mom of our two dear grandchildren. Our son Jacob also earned his college degree and is now an engineer in California, engaged to be married this summer. Our little baby Kevin we brought to the mountains is now 6′ 4″ (6’6″ during the corona-haircut-crisis) and busy with college classwork and his Campus Crusade for Christ group.

Along the way, after sending three babies to heaven, God heard our prayers and blessed us with our little Joel who is now 8-1/2 years old. Joel is keeping this old homeschool mom busy learning about oceans. Thank you, Lord, for our children!God has allowed me to continue in ministry, writing two books with more on the way (My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers). God has been so good to us these 20 years.  Thank you, dear Father in heaven!   

God is ALWAYS so faithful…providing for all our needs, comforting us in every sorrow, protecting us from evil, healing our bodies, and growing our faith in Him.  Now, with our granddaughter’s cancer, we trust Him to be faithful again.  He provided a camper and we were able to visit her for almost a month and saw her improving day by day.  And so many are praying for little Kennedy…God bless you all!

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friend, you have a story, too!  I encourage you to write it down. Record how God has been faithful through all your ups and downs.  Put it in an album with photos for your kids and grandkids to read. Point your family to Jesus. Keep telling the story of God’s great love!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s post, you might also like to read When God Says No and Fires and God’s Faithfulness and  My Sweet Baby Blessing at 45.  

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad. Psalm 126:3 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10 (NKJV)

She was the great-grandmother of King David, the grandmother of Jesse, the mother of Obed, the wife of Boaz, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a Moabite, a God-seeker, and the only Bible mom to have a book of the Bible named for her.  Who was this great lady?  Ruth.

I can’t think of anyone more worthy to highlight  the “U” part of our TEA CUPP than this marvelous Bible mom.  “U” is for “Understanding our stories,” and here is Ruth’s amazing story in these four short Old Testament chapters.  When we understand our stories, how God is at work in our lives, how Jesus saved us, we can share this testimony with others.  And that’s what our Bibles let us do with Ruth, giving us a glimpse into the life of a godly mom.

How did Ruth end up in Bethlehem?  It all happened in the days of the Judges when God’s people kept turning away from Him.  God sent a famine on the land, so a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi and his two sons moved to Moab.  The two sons married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth.  Well, Elimelech died and his two sons died, so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.  She told her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab with their families and remarry.  But Ruth wouldn’t hear of it.  She proclaimed:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Back in Bethlehem, Naomi was very sad for she had gone away “full” with a husband and two sons, and had returned “empty.”  But she actually wasn’t empty, for she had a wonderful daughter-in-law, Ruth, who was willing to work hard in the fields and do whatever Naomi said.  A relative named Boaz noticed Ruth’s dedication, blessing her with these words:

The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. Ruth 2:12 (NKJV)

You will have to read for yourself the courtship and traditions that allowed Ruth to become the wife of this gentleman Boaz.  And once they were married, the Lord blessed them with a son…

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the amazing story of Ruth is Ruth 1-4 today. My friend, your story is found in scripture, too!  Whether you have many children like Leah, prayed long for children like Rachel, or are barren like Elizabeth until she was old, you can find a mom like you in scripture.  Your salvation story is here, too, whether you learned early to sit at the feet of Jesus, as did Martha’s sister Mary, or if you had five husbands like the Samaritan woman, you will find a kindred soul, and you will find out how much Jesus loves you!  What lady from the Bible do you relate to today?  Talk to Jesus about her in your prayers.  With whom can you share your story?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

My Testimony

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24 (NIV)

 

Dear TEA Friends,

This month I share with you video clips from an interview my pastor did with me last year.  Today I share my testimony of how God saved me through His Son Jesus. To view more of my interview please see my Hello from Jennifer Grace post. If you’d like to read the entire story, please visit My Running Story.  Or, if you’d like to read it in my book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, please click here.  Or, if you’d like me to come speak for your next ladies’ gathering or retreat, please contact me here.

Thank you for visiting My TEA CUPP Prayers and praying for my ministry to invite ladies everywhere to have TEA each day with Jesus, the King of kings.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

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

Video Credits:   Sam Fossum and Pastor Bryan Baker, 2018

My Coat

We all need coats, especially this time of year in the northern United States.  Each day as we don our coats to head outside, we might contemplate the coats in the Bible.  Did you know there are so many Bible coats?

The first coats: It all began when Adam and Eve listened to Satan the snake, ate the forbidden fruit, and realized they were naked. Because they had disobeyed God, Adam and Eve could no longer stay in God’s perfect garden.  But before He kicked them out of Eden, God made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins.  When God killed his dear animal friends, that was the first time blood was shed for sins, pointing to the day when Jesus would shed His blood for our sins on the Cross.  Adam’s and Eve’s animal skin coats were the first coats in the Bible.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 (NKJV)

More coats: Flip forward a few pages in Genesis to the story of Joseph.  In this passage, Joseph’s father Jacob gave him a beautiful coat, making his brothers very jealous. John MacArthur in his Study Bible tells us that Joseph was a type of Christ, pointing us to Jesus. Both had their coats taken from them and were falsely accused. Both Joseph and Jesus were shepherds of their Father’s sheep. Both were dearly loved by their Fathers, but hated by their brothers.    Both were placed with two other criminals, one who was saved and one who was lost.  And both Joseph and Jesus forgave those who wronged them and saved their nations.  What men had intended for evil, God turned to good.  And their coats played a big part of the story.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.
Genesis 37:3 (NKJV)

A Spirit-filled coat:: Next jump ahead to Elijah in 2 Kings 2:13.  Here Elijah’s protegee Elisha waited to see Elijah go to heaven.  Finally, after following Elijah everywhere, Elisha watched as God took Elijah up in a whirlwind.  When he was gone, Elisha found Elijah’s cloak on the ground.  He picked it up and took it with him and God gave Elisha double the Spirit of Elijah!

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
2 Kings 2:13 (NKJV)

 A clean coat: Then in the book of Isaiah, long before Jesus even brought us salvation, Isaiah proclaimed we will have a garment of praise! We are clothed in garments of salvation and covered in robes of righteousness!  Oh, what joy!  Oh, what a promise!!! And again the prophet Zechariah promises that God gives us a clean robe.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 (NKJV)

Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
Zechariah 3:4 (NKJV)

The wrong coat: The prophet Zephaniah cautions us to beware of wearing foreign apparel. We must be wearing the robe Jesus gives us. This warning is echoed again in Matthew when Jesus tells the story of a king having a wedding party…

And it shall be,
In the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
That I will punish the princes and the king’s children,
And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
Zephaniah 1:8 (NKJV)

But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:11-13 (NKJV)

The healing coat: Also in the New Testament, time after time Jesus heals and heals and heals.  The people who follow Him long to just touch His coat for healing. So I pray for all on my prayer list who are need of Jesus healing, to just touch the robe of Jesus and be healed like the people in Matthew 14…

And begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
Matthew 14:36 (NKJV)

A royal coat: And finally, flip to Revelations where Jesus returns to marry His bride the church.  And just like He clothed Adam and Eve, Jesus provides the wedding garments for His bride. He gives us the whitest most beautiful robe of all, washed clean by His precious blood.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Revelation 19:8 (NKJV)

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:14 (NKJV)

Oh, Jesus, I don’t deserve it, but You gave it to me anyway — Your beautiful coat, pure and white and every color of the rainbow all at once!  Oh, Jesus, what a miracle!  You take our filthy rags and make us beautiful!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear friend, put on the righteous robe which Jesus has given you.  Thank Him for His forgiveness and healing.  Stay away from the wrong coats.  Look up these fantastic coat verses in your Bible today. And welcome the day when Jesus comes again to clothe us all in white robes and take us home!

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
(The Solid Rock by Edward Mote,1834)

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the lamb
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean
O, be washed in the blood of the lamb.
( Are you Washed in the Blood? Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also enjoy A Tale of Two Coats and Filthy Rags.

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

 

My Valentine

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands
Isaiah 49:16 (NKJV)

Our church family members are reading through the entire Bible this year.  Our pastor invited us at the beginning of the year to find a reading plan and commit to reading the whole Bible. There are several Bible reading plans out there.  I use the one included each day in the Our Daily Bread devotion booklet.  A popular online AP is called the Youversion.  You might like to check these out!

What do we find as we read the entire Bible?  We find a VALENTINE!  A love story from God to us.  As we read the Old Testament we see a Holy God who loves His children He created.  We see our sinful nature and how far we fall short of our Heavenly Father.  We read of a promised Savior, coming to rescue God’s people.  In the New Testament the Savior finally comes, Jesus, God’s Only Son!  However, He doesn’t do what the people expect, taking over in power.  Instead, He dies on a cross for the sins of all the world because He loves us all so much.  But Jesus doesn’t stay dead, on the third day He rises to eternal life! And someday Jesus is coming back again to marry His bride the church, https://tadalafilhome.com that’s us!  What a love story!  What a Valentine!  We are His!

Oh, Jesus, I have Your Word “MINE” stamped on me like on a candy heart!  How wonderful!  I am Yours and no one can snatch  me from You.  Forever and ever my name is inscribed on Your hand and You inscribed “MINE” on me.  O Jesus, this is my story. I am Yours! I am Yours!  I am Yours! Amen.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
John 10:28-29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You are loved, dear TEA friend!  Jesus has your name written on His hand and He has stamped MINE on you!  You are like lovers with matching tattoos!  No matter if your Valentine’s Day is full of heartbreak or joy, you can rest in the peace that you belong to God.

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

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  If you enjoyed this devotion, you might also like to read God loves you and My Love TEA and Valentine Cookies.  Happy Valentine’s Day, dear TEA friend!

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

More Good Books

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

In His Steps

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

 

Rebel With A Cause

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

Just As I Am

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

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

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

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

Be One of the Faithful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afraid to Tell

afraid to tellSo they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

It happens every spring when I read the Easter story from the book of Mark.  I’m taken back to a time when I said nothing to anyone, because I was afraid.  Perhaps you have a similar story.

We were at a church camp conference in Georgia with the theme, “This is My Story.”  Whenever there was a lull between events, the crowd would launch into a lively rendition of the old hymn.  “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long…”  The song still rings in my heart almost two decades later.

Between singing and game workshops, maintenance manuals, recipe exchanges and all the other information you need to run a church camp, there was a delightful morning Bible study.  I wish I could remember the name of the speaker who led this, an energetic, Asian-American dynamo.  She ran us through the life of Jesus in the book of Mark, because that is Mark’s pace.  She explained to us how most scholars believe the last twelve verses were tacked on later, so Mark 16:8 is really the final verse.  And what does this verse tell us?

So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

Who were these people?  Mark 16:1 tells us they were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  They didn’t know how they https://www.fertileheart.com/buy-diflucan-online/ would move the big stone that blocked the tomb.  So when they arrived, they were so surprised to see the stone already rolled away.  An angel in the tomb told them, “He is risen!”

Isn’t that the best news of all!  Would you run tell all your friends?  Well, according to Mark, these women were afraid and didn’t tell anyone at first.  I wonder how many of us are like that.  Do we know the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, but are too scared to tell others?

The Bible study speaker challenged me to not be afraid to tell my story.  That very day I wrote my story in my journal.  The next Christmas I sent it out with our Christmas cards.  Today I continue to look for ways to tell others about the love of Jesus, how He saved me by dying on the cross, and that He is risen.  Many days, I’m still afraid, but the Holy Spirit nudges me to share more and more. Are you being nudged, too?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Mark 16 today.  Celebrate the Good News that Jesus is Risen!  Then find someone to tell the Good News of how Jesus has helped you.

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”  Mark 16:6 (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)

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

Kisses from Katie

Kisses from KatieAnd the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

We are forever changed.  All whose lives have been touched by Katie Davis in Uganda, and all who read her book here in the USA, will never be the same. We can’t return to our “normal” lives, without realizing how much more God has for us.  I invite you to be changed forever, too, as you read Katie’s incredible story.

This blessing came to me at my Wednesday Bible study where the women are passing around a book entitled Kisses from Katie. The ladies say they can’t put it down. It’s finally my turn to read it, and they are right.  As I keep telling myself, “just one more chapter,”  Katie is adopting “just one more child,” sharing the love of Jesus with the people of Uganda.

Katie, an American teenager from Nashville, Tennessee, president of her senior class and homecoming queen, gives up everything to follow Jesus’ call to care for the orphans.  Over and over, Katie relates how she is just a normal person, who says “Yes” to God’s call.  Completely honest and transparent, Katie shares the joys and trials of her new found ministry.

Learning to be a mother and run a non-profit at the age of 19 has quite the learning curve, as Katie shares her experiences. From rats and cockroaches, to HIV and scabies, to caring for the worst poverty, one might think that God gave Katie super-human powers. But as Katie relates (p. 135)…

“I believe http://www.healthsupportyou.com/accutane-isotretinoin/ that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle.  Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.”

Along with her engaging narrative, Katie shares Bible heroes from David to Jonah to Paul. She writes how God met their needs, and He is caring for her and her adorable children, too. Katie has a thorough grasp of scriptures and the truth, which is also the name of her ministry, Amazima.  Above all, Katie lives out the truth of the Gospel every minute of every day, pouring out God’s love, exhausted or not, (“with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”).

Everyone should read this book — moms, dads, teenagers, homeschoolers, college students, Bible scholars, youth leaders, grandparents, the average Joe.  Your heart will be broken for these dear people in Uganda and around the world, who need the unconditional love of Jesus.  Kisses from Katie will inspire, challenge and encourage us all to do more for God’s kingdom, more than we ever imagined. Yes, we are forever changed.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

For more information on Katie’s ministry, check out her website: http://katiedavis.amazima.org/

Davis, K. (2011). Kisses from Katie. Nashville: Howard Books.

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

 

My Gluten-Free Story

gluten-freeAnd He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34 (NKJV)

Everyone has a story. That’s what the “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, Understanding our stories in the light of God’s Word.  When we know our stories, it helps us share our testimony with others, encouraging them to follow Jesus.

But today I want to share a different kind of story with you, this story is how God brought me healing in a unique way. I share this in hopes that my readers might find healing, too. This is My Gluten-Free Story.

I have always had tummy troubles.  Forever there has been a bit of pain in my stomach area.  When my two oldest kids were little, I was diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain and IBS.  This was after several mortifying doctor visits where I was poked and prodded.   When our third child was born, I had an epidural.  It was the only time I could ever remember not having pain in my abdomen.  Too bad those epidurals wear off!

As my children grew, I continued to have tummy troubles, trying various supplements and healthy shakes to no avail.  We were praying for more children, but never thought about how my condition could be connected to the ability to conceive.

Finally, in the summer of 2009 we were expecting again, only to lose that baby in a painful miscarriage.  That very autumn, we were expecting again, and also lost the baby.  The following June, we lost a third baby soon after conception.  “Why is all this happening?” I pleaded with God.

At the time, we were working at a church camp.  I was in charge of ordering food from Sysco.  In the fall of 2010, Sysco offered a webinar for its customers about gluten-free cooking.  I chose to participate, thinking it would help me order the right foods for our guests.

The Sysco webinar turned out to say very little about their products. Instead, it went into great detail about Celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.  They discussed the symptoms of those with gluten-intolerance, including stomach pains and miscarriages.  They explained how the walls of the intestine are covered with little fingers called villi. These villi absorb the nutrients from food, providing nourishment to the body.  The problem for a gluten-sensitive person is the gluten wraps itself around the villi. This makes the person not absorb nutrients, thus causing miscarriages and other health issues.  The webinar also explained that a traumatic  event, such as a miscarriage, could cause a person who was only slightly sensitive to suddenly become gluten-intolerant.

So, there I sat in our camp office, expecting to make a shopping list for the dining hall. Instead, God gave me information to make some new healthy choices.  And that is what I did.  I went back to our house and announced to my family what I had learned, giving up delicious pizza crusts and cinnamon rolls forever, in favor of better nutrition for my body.

And guess what, it was exactly one year later, in the fall of 2011, that God blessed us with our fourth child.  God healed me and answered my prayers.

I still have tummy problems off and on, giving up dairy a few years ago, too. But I don’t catch as many colds, and I know that by eating gluten-free, I’m doing my part to keep healthy for serving the Lord.  And so I share my favorite gluten-free recipes with you, even some pizza crust that is thick and yummy like the real thing.  I pray that you will enjoy these recipes and be blessed with better health.

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.  Matthew 14:35-36 (NKJV)