Our Thanksgiving Chain

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3 (NKJV)

One of my favorite Thanksgiving devotions from my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, is an activity I’ve shared over the years with you, a Thanksgiving chain.

The first part of the TEA CUPP is “T” is for Thanksgiving. It’s eternally important for moms to model thankfulness to our children, so here is a project to help you do just that.  This thankfulness activity will carry your family from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas.

First, count the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas on your calendar (this year it’s only 27 days). Next, cut out that many strips of colored paper, approximately one-inch by six inches. Grab your Bible, the paper strips, some markers, and a stapler, and gather the family around your kitchen table.

Read a Psalm of Thanksgiving, such as Psalm 136.
● Talk about things for which you are thankful.
● Divide the strips of paper between all family members.
● Everyone can use markers to write blessings on their paper strips. Older family members may assist younger family members.
● When everyone is finished, mix up the paper strips. Curl one strip into a circle and staple it. Run another strip through the first circle and staple it to itself. Continue stapling strips until you have a long chain of circles.
● Hold the chain around the table and let family members read the items together as you thank Jesus.
● Hang the chain on a nail in the kitchen so you can see how many days until Christmas.
● Each morning at breakfast, let one person tear off the bottom link of the chain. Say a prayer of thanks again for whatever is listed on that slip of paper.
● Each day the chain will get shorter until it’s Christmas.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Plan to do this activity with your family at Thanksgiving. Talk with your kids about God’s blessings. Some families keep a thankful jar. Every time they find something for which they are thankful, a blessing, answered prayer, etc., they write it on a slip of paper and put it in the thankful jar. He’s blessed us so much we can’t even name them all.

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

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

Where are the other Nine?

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16

One of my favorite thanks devotions from my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, comes from the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. The lepers were shunned members of society, ones who must have desired more than anything else to be healed and welcomed back into the community. The ten lepers had just been hollering at Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus told them to go to the priests, and as they were going they were cleansed. But only one remembered to come back and praise God and give Jesus thanks. So Jesus answered and said,

“Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” Luke 17:17

Don’t you think Jesus still asks that today? Where are the other nine? WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE? For what have you prayed recently that God heard and answered your prayers? Was it a safe trip home? Was it a check in the mail? Was it healing for a loved one? What blessings has He sent our way before we even asked? Oh, let us run back to Him and throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet and give Him thanks!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember, the first “T” in TEA CUPP is for Thanksgiving. Read the story of the ten lepers again in Luke 17:11-19. Have you forgotten to thank Jesus for anything? Ask Jesus to open your eyes to any overlooked blessings. Tell Jesus THANK YOU today!

What are some things I’m especially thankful for this year?  Jesus, God’s Word, my family, miraculous healing, a new grandbaby on the way, strength to run a marathon, publishing my second book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, and for you, my dear TEA CUPP friend. Thank you for reading my devotions and accepting Jesus’ invitation to have TEA with Him each day.

 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

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

Thank You Psalms

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8 (NKJV)

When spring finally comes to Montana after a very long winter, our hearts overflow in thanksgiving to Jesus. The bright blue skies promise an end to snow storms. Drifts melt into puddles, making way for green fields.  The daffodils and tulips raise colors in praise to their Creator.  And my heart sings for joy that winter is over!

This is the perfect time to read a Psalm of thanks, remembering all the blessings Jesus has sent us.  Psalms 107 or 136 are great places to begin.  I love the rhythm of these Psalms, how they repeat and we may add our own lines of thanks…

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever— Psalm 136:1-7 (NKJV)

When I go running on a beautiful spring morning, my heart is bursting with thanks for the mountains, the blue skies, the green fields, the bright sunshine…I like to sing a song in my head as my feet pound out the rhythm…

Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my King.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my Lord.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What song of thanksgiving has God put in your heart? Begin today by reading Psalm 107, 136 or another Psalm.  Select a favorite verse to write in your prayer journal and pray to Jesus.  Let this verse be your conversation starter as you thank the Lord for the many blessings He has given you.  Perhaps you’d like to write your own “Thank You Psalm” to God.

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

Say, “Amen!”

Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor Me,
    and to the blameless I will show My salvation.
Psalm 50:23 (NIV)

When our granddaughter Kennedy Grace was almost two, we had the delight of back to back visits with this sweet little girl.  At meal times, Kennedy waited for everyone to sit down.  Then she smiled and called out, “Say, Amen!”  That was our cue to say grace together, “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food, Amen!”  Kennedy loved the “Amen” part!

I had just been pondering a devotion based on Psalm 50:23 and thought Kennedy’s “Amen” were a perfect example.  One of the simplest yet profound prayers we can teach our children and grandchildren is to say “thank you” to God.  This humble act of thanksgiving opens the door of conversation between child and the Heavenly Father, leading the way to knowing Jesus as Savior.

When I read Psalm 50:23, I see two things our thanks brings:

  • Honor to God
  • Jesus shows us His salvation

Isn’t that wonderful?  When we teach our children to say thank you to God, we are honoring the Lord while leading our kids to an eternity with Jesus.

One of my favorite little kid prayer books has the prayer, “Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you, God, for everything! Amen!”  There are so many other children’s graces and prayers you can say..  I’m including a few of them below.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let’s start this very day, teaching our kids to say thank you to Jesus, setting an example of thankfulness at every meal, too.  Write your thanks in your journal.  Use the thanksgiving verses and graces as conversation starters as you pour out your thanks to God.

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.
Revelation 7:12

God is great, God is good
And we thank Him for our food.
We’re gonna thank Him in the morning, noon, and night.
We’re gonna thank our God cause He’s outa sight.
Amen. Ch-Ch-Chh, Ch-Ch-Chh, Ch-Ch-Chh.
Amen. Ch-Ch-Chh, Ch-Ch-Chh, Ch-Ch-Chh.
Amen. Chhhhh.

(sung to the tune of Rock Around the Clock)

Thank you, God, for giving us food.
Thank you, God, for giving us food.
For the friends that we meet.
For the food that we eat.
Thank you God for giving us food!
Swshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

(Sung to the tune of the Superman theme song)

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

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

 

God is so Good!

Thank you to my friends Donna and Wendy and the Forest Service for these great photos!

He gives rain on the earth,
And sends waters on the fields. Job 5:10
(NKJV)

In Montana we had a miracle these past few weeks.  For two months we had smoke and fires.  Then God sent rain and snow to put them out!  The next week He sent more rain and snow, just to make sure there weren’t any more hot spots.  God is so good!

Usually we have the bluest sky in all the world here in Montana.  It really is the Big Sky State, with a sky that for me stretches from the Beartooth Mountains to the Absarokas to the Crazies and beyond.  But on July 17, my parents came to visit and suddenly it was hazy. I remember, because we always want it to be beautiful for our family and visitors.  But the Crazy Mountains just weren’t as clear any more.

The smoke persisted for two months as over a million acres of Montana forests and ranch lands burned.  Firefighters worked nonstop to contain the flames.  High temperatures and drought conditions kept the blazes going. It seemed that every time there were storm clouds, we would get the lightning, not the rain, as if someone was praying Psalm 144:

Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Flash forth lightning and scatter them… Psalm https://klonopintabs.com 144:5 (NKJV)

The second week of September it was 90 degrees and a new fire broke out from a lightning strike at the north end of the Crazy Mountains.  From our house we could see the plume of smoke going up to the sky.  Friends’ husbands were going out to fight the flames.  People were posting on Facebook, “Pray for snow!”

And guess what, God sent rain and snow!!!  He really does answer prayers!  When the storm lifted we had blue skies again and snow covering our long-hidden Crazy Mountains.  The doxology was my prayer as I took in this beautiful sight, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above the heavenly host, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”

Alleluia!  Jesus answers prayers!  I bet our friends in the south affected by the hurricanes have awesome stories of  God’s goodness, too!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let’s praise Jesus for how He has provided for us, carried us through the storm, protected us and answered our prayers!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 
Isaiah 43:2-3 (NKJV)

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

Every Perfect Gift

christmaspresent1 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

With the coming of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping, how good it is to remember that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights!  Let us thank Him for these marvelous gifts, and put aside all else.

Today I give you “Tea Time with James” to ring in the Thanksgiving and Advent season.  James is another book with incredible verses.  You may like to read James yourself and underline more verses for your prayer time. Take some time to sip TEA with Jesus, thanking Him for His gifts, and sharing your joys, sorrows, sins, and celebrations.  Use these verses as conversation starters for your prayers. Be blessed, My TEA CUPP friend…

T is for Thanksgiving

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights... James 1:17 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

…the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10 (NKJV)

C is for Call 

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you... James 4:8 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  May your prayers be effective and fervent and avail much for God’s kingdom today!  Happy Thanksgiving and Advent season!

 

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

 

Blessings over the Fence

SheepAt midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.  Psalm 119:62 NKJV

Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night?  Perhaps you went right to sleep when your head hit the pillow, but you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night?

That happens to me often, especially when our baby cries.  At first I am too sleepy to get out of bed, but once up, I’m wide awake and thinking about so many things.  How can I get back to sleep?

Long ago it was suggested that people imagine sheep, counting them leaping over a fence.  Such an activity would seem to put a person back to sleep, but our minds tend to wander, just as sheep stray away.

Perhaps God has us awake in the middle of the night for another reason:  To Pray!  Somewhere in the world is a friend who needs our prayers.  When I lie awake at night, I pray for the names on my prayer list that God brings to mind.  It’s okay that I may never know how these prayers have blessed others.

But this verse above from Psalm 119 gives me another idea for midnight prayers.  How about using these dark hours as an opportunity to give thanks to Jesus for His many blessings?  Instead of counting sheep by number, I can name each sheep as a blessing:  Family, food, home, work, friends, etc.  As the sheep jump the fence in my imagination, I lift up prayers of thanks to God for each blessing.  Before I’ve hit the 10th blessing, I am often fast asleep.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  The next time you are wide awake at night, I hope you’ll try this, too.  Count your blessings instead of counting sheep.

Clip Art Illustration of a Numbered Sheep Jumping Over a FenceMy eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.  Psalm 119:148 NKJV

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

Our Sweet Blessing is One

   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.   James 1:17 (NKJV)

Every day we thank the Lord for our sweet blessing, Joel Kent.  And today he celebrates his first birthday!  Oh, the joy this precious gift brings to our family!

Thank you, Jesus, for hearing our prayers for a baby and sending us little Joel. We love him so much!  Happy Birthday, Joel Kent!

If you missed it last year, here are some quick links to the story of our miracle baby…

http://www.myteacuppprayers.org/2011/11/my-sweet-baby-blessing-at-45/

http://www.myteacuppprayers.org/2011/11/worth-every-drop-of-blood/

http://www.myteacuppprayers.org/2012/06/why-joel/

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

 

Thanks: To the One Who Is and Who Was

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Praying God’s Word.

Here’s another verse to help us share our THANKS with the Lord today:

 “We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty,
   the One who is and who was,
because You have taken Your great power
   and have begun to reign.”  Revelation 11:17 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Thanks: For the Kingdom!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Praying God’s Word.

Here’s a verse to help us share our THANKS with the Lord today:  

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful…  Hebrews 12:28  (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica