And You are Christ’s

And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.  1 Corinthians 3:23 (NKJV)

I smiled at the sky since I was a little girl and talked to God.  Walking home the short block from my elementary school to my house, I looked up at the big blue sky and smiled.  If I was inside my house and wanted to smile at God, I would hurry to a window just to see a piece of blue sky. Sadly, I drifted away as the cares of junior high hurt my soul.  But I returned to my church in college to teach Sunday school and serve as a deacon, though I still didn’t know Jesus. When the tragedy of losing my college cross country team in a plane crash came, I ran away from God completely for two whole years, doing things my own way.  Yet someone must have been praying for me, as I was introduced to God’s Son Jesus through dear friends.  From then on, I smiled up at the blue sky again with a big “hello Jesus,” wondering upon which cloud He will return (Revelation 1:7).

Some of you might be in this spot, too, faithfully serving God at church, teaching Sunday school, helping with the coffee hour, singing in the choir, taking care of your husband and children… and God loves you and sees all the good you are doing.  And TODAY, He wants YOU to truly know the One you’ve been serving all this time, the One He sent to earth to show what He is like (John 14:9).  TODAY He wants you to welcome Jesus as Your Lord and Savior, admitting your sins and asking Him into your heart.  All those Sunday school lessons you taught from Adam and Eve and the serpent who brought this world into sin, to the baby Jesus who came at Christmas will all “click” for you as you know Jesus, God’s Son.  The words of all those hymns you sing will suddenly be so full of meaning. All those cookies you serve at Fellowship will now give you joy as you realize you are feeding Jesus’ sheep. And If you are a mom, caring for children, you will learn how precious children are to Jesus and He is smiling at all you do. Whatever you do now, you will do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31), knowing that you are Christ’s.

Dear one, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). His fervent desire is to be with you (Luke 22:15). I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19). Remember our Savior the next time you look up at the big blue sky.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Acts 16:13-15 for the story of a woman who came to know Jesus while serving Him. Oh, TEA friend, won’t you please give your heart to Jesus today, too? Pray the salvation prayer. If you aren’t already on a Bible reading plan, how about beginning with a chapter of John each day? You will get to know Jesus, your Savior, to whom you now belong.  Welcome to God’s family, dear sister!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12 (NKJV)

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, I want to be in Your family.  I want to be Your child and be washed clean from all the bad things I’ve done in my life, all the times I didn’t listen to You, all the times I went my own way.  Please scrub away all my selfishness and pride and everything else I’ve done that is not of You.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and be with me each day. Help me walk on Your straight and narrow path.  I believe You are my Savior who died for my sins.  I believe You rose again and are preparing a place for me in heaven.  I believe You are the only Way, the only Lord, the only God.  Please help me live as Your daughter from this moment forward.  Pick me up when I stumble. Thank you for loving me and dying for me and letting me be in Your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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

 

The Torn Curtain

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer, a designated day of prayer in the United States of America. Seventy is such a significant number. Seventy Israelites went down to Egypt in Genesis to be with Joseph. When Jacob died, Joseph and his brothers mourned for seventy days. Seventy elders went with Moses to the Mountain of God. The Israelites were exiled to Babylon for seventy years. Jesus calls us to forgive people seventy times seven times. Could it be that God will do some extraordinary miracles this 70th year of the National Day of Prayer? We pray that He will!!!

Already we are seeing glorious answers to prayer. A few faithful prayer warriors meet together weekly at my church. One prayer request has been for unborn babies because abortion hurts our hearts and the heart of God. It is no wonder that the enemy goes after babies, for we are all made in God’s image. The enemy wants to blot out that image, but we say ENOUGH! We will not sacrifice our children to idols! Each week we pray for the babies, and guess what! This past week the governor of our state signed five new pro-life bills into law! We praise God for His glorious answers to prayer!

Last year for the National Day of Prayer, our church hosted a special speaker (Tony George via zoom) who compared prayer to the tabernacle. He explained each part of the tabernacle and how that represents a part of prayer. I loved his example and want to share it with you in relation to My TEA CUPP Prayers….

For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. Hebrews 9:2-3 (NKJV)

The tabernacle (and later the temple) was set up according to the plan Moses received from God on the mountain. First was the gate where we enter with THANKSGIVING. Then came the alter of sacrifice where we pour out our praise and offerings, EXALTING our God. Then came the lever for washing, a place for ADMITTING our sins and being washed clean. And that was just the courtyard. Then entering the tent on the right side was the table of showbread, where Jesus, the Bread of Life, feeds us with His Word and shows us our CALLING. On the left side was the golden lampstand, representing Jesus, the Light of the world, who helps us in UNDERSTANDING our stories by lighting our way. Then came the altar of incense which I use to claim God’s PROMISES that all my prayers rise up to Him in heaven. Lastly, behind the curtain, was the Most Holy Place with the Ark of the Covenant. It is here that we can now meet with God the Father, PETITIONING Him for all that is on our hearts.

And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy. Exodus 26:33 (NKJV)

Before Jesus gave His life on the cross, only the designated high priest could enter the Holy of holies to minister before God once a year. It is said that when he went into the Holy of holies to perform his duties, they would tie a rope to his ankle in case he died while behind the curtain. Then they could drag the priest back out without entering the Holy of holies. In Matthew chapter 1 we read about the priest Zacharias who was taking his turn at burning incense before the Lord. While Zacharias was in the temple, a multitude of people were outside praying. And it was then that the angel appeared to Zacharias and announced the birth of John the Baptist. John, who would point people to the Savior Jesus. The same Jesus, who would tear the curtain from top to bottom.

Let’s read a bit of Mark 15:37-41 about the day Jesus died… “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.”

Dear Ladies, I want you to notice three things. First, Jesus breathed His last and died. He willingly gave His life, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins. All the sins of all the world were upon Him as He shed His blood and gave His life for us, because He loves us. Secondly, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain was so huge and so thick that no person could reach up and tear it from the top, perhaps from the bottom, but not from the top. This was done by the hand of God at the death of His only begotten Son, opening the door to the Holy of holies for all who believe. Finally, notice all the women that were there. Jesus loved ladies as a Father and brother and still loves us today. We should continue to gather around His cross, seek Him at the tomb, and enter into the throne room to speak with His Father. Jesus, is our High Priest who holds open the curtain for us!

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1 (NKJV)

Imagine the panic in the temple after Jesus’ death when suddenly the Holy of holies was exposed! How did they fix it without breaking the Jewish traditions? There was no need to repair it for God was inviting all to enter the Holy of holies and He still invites us today. Ladies, Jesus’ sacrificial death has torn the veil for us so we can enter the very presence of God!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:19-20 (NKJV)

Nancy Campbell, founder above Above Rubies, tells in a recent podcast how too many of us are just hanging around in the temple courtyard. Nancy says, we’ve come into the courtyard and been washed clean by the blood of Jesus, but we’re just standing there. We need to go into the inner court and pour our hearts out to God.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Mark 15 for the whole story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the torn curtain. Read Hebrews 9 for more about the Tabernacle. Move from the courtyard into the Holy of Holies, dear sister! Jesus invites you! He tore the curtain for you. Come, make your requests to the Father. And pray especially today for the United States of America, expecting great miracles in this 70th year of the National Day of Prayer!

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  Ephesians 2:14 (NKJV)

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)

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NKJV)

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

Oh, America, Why Do You Sleep?

Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”  Luke 22:46 (NKJV)

While you are asleep, America, someone is killing your children and grandchildren.  

While you are asleep, America, someone is letting evil across your borders.

While you are asleep, America, someone is eroding the Biblical values upon which this nation was built.  Oh, America, Why do you sleep?  

Dear Ladies, this week I exhort you to pray for this nation more than ever.  Abortion and baby-killing are being funded by our government.  Our borders have been opened for the horrors of human-trafficking and drug cartels.  And the Biblical laws that were the basis for our country are being eroded with every swipe of Washington’s pen.  

God’s Word to the prophet Jeremiah proclaims, The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it” (Jeremiah 18:7-10). Oh, America, how can you sleep?

Did you know that before Jesus went to the cross, He exhorted His disciples in the same way? Our dear Savior was pouring His heart out to His Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsamene.  He took His close friends Peter, James, and John, asking them to stay and watch with Him.  Jesus was only a stone’s throw away from them as He petitioned the Father to remove this cup of crucifixion.  Three times He prayed and then found the disciples sleeping.  Our precious Lord was alone in His prayers.  

Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”  Matthew 26:45-46 (NKJV)

Oh, America, Rise and pray!

Jesus still comes to us today, saying, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and (America) is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” The Lord is calling us today, “Rise and pray!”  He looks down from heaven upon His children to see if any seek after Him.  Are we reading our Bibles? Are we praying? Are we lifting up this country and leaders? Are we praying for the babies and children and peace and safety for all?  Are we praying for God to raise up Christian leaders who will reclaim this nation with laws based on God’s Word?  Oh, dear ones, there is so much for which we must pray, we could pray all night like Jesus.

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12 (NKJV)

Oh, America, God will hear your cries!

Ladies, our prayers for America are not in vain.  Over and over in His Word, God promises that He hears our cries and will be gracious to us…

You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.  Job 22:7 (NKJV)

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear. Psalm 10:17 (NKJV)

…He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.  Isaiah 30:19 (NKJV)

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.  1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Oh ladies across America, why do you sleep? Rise and pray!  God will hear your cries!  Read and pray Daniel 9:1-19. Join in the National Day of Prayer on May 6th and pray for our country and leaders more than ever. Then continue to pray every day for your family and neighbors. May God sweep this land with a revival, turning hearts to Him, and pouring out His Holy Spirit before His return.

O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name… Nehemiah 1:11 (NKJV)

Arise, O Lord,
Do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged in Your sight.
Put them in fear, O Lord,
That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Psalm 9:19-20 (NKJV)

Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight
The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.  Psalm 27:9-10 (NKJV)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.  Psalm 33:12 (NKJV)

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

 

The Double Search

…To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God… Mark 4:11 (NKJV)

I grew up in a family that loved mystery stories, from reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, to playing the game of Clue, to sitting around the living room as my daddy read Sherlock Holmes. There is something about a mystery that enthralls us…the problem, the bad guys, and the search for clues.  More exciting perhaps than the conclusion is the actual search.  My friends, every time we open our Bibles, we are detectives on the path of a mystery.  Each day as we open God’s Word and pray, He shows us another clue.  And the neat thing is, it’s really a double search, for God searches our hearts as we search His Word.

Every morning, I rise early, pour myself a cup of tea, and sit down in the corner of my sofa with my Bible and Jesus. I pray Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” And I let Jesus speak first as I sip my tea and search His Word.  And, do you know what He shows me in His law?  He often shows me where I fall short, how I have erred, where there is sin in my life.  These sins are the “bad guys” in our life stories.

One of the first verses I learned to pray for admitting my sins was Psalm 139:23-24…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24. (NKJV)

I would pray that verse every day, asking forgiveness for anything amiss that He showed me in my heart.  Since those early prayers, I’ve prayed many other verses, too, but “Search me, O God, and know my heart” remains a favorite. After He shows me my sins and I confess them, I pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10), and I claim Jesus’ promise in Luke 7:48, “Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.  Psalm 19:12 (NKJV)

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.  Psalm 26:2 (NKJV)

I continue to read and search God’s Word for more wonderful verses about our Lord, about what He’s calling me to do, and about the promises He has for us.  Of course, there is a treasure at the end of every search.

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

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Ones, I encourage YOU to join in this Double Search with Jesus each day! “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). For, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Psalm 14:2).

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
Psalm 139:1-2 (NKJV)

Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.  Psalm 44:21 (NKJV)

…for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NKJV)

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

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

Good Morning, Jesus Journals

But to You I have cried out, O Lord,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.  Psalm 88:13 (NKJV)

Dear TEA Friend,

Hello!  I’m so excited to announce my Good Morning, Jesus Prayer Journals are here! Praise Jesus! Whether you would like one for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, I just know you will be blessed by spending time with Jesus each morning. 

This journal is designed to be a companion to my books, My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.  In these devotional books, I invite you to sit down each morning with your Bible, a cup of tea, and Jesus.  As you drink from His Word and sip from your favorite morning mug, you will draw near to your Savior and be filled with God’s blessings.  You underline your favorite verses and use those verses as conversation starters as you pour your heart out to God in prayer. 

Besides being an invitation to have TEA with Jesus, the TEA CUPP is also an acronym for things you can talk about during your prayer time.  T is for Thanksgiving, E is for Exalting, A is for Admitting, C is for Calling, U is for Understanding, P is for Promises, and the last P is for Petitions.  You may choose which parts you want to pray about each day.  Just circle the letter and write your verse and start praying.  I’ve included some sample pages so you get the idea.  Though I like to pray all seven parts each day, I know that isn’t realistic for busy moms, when traveling, or when you just don’t have a verse or anything you want to pray about in that area.  There is no right way to pray, this is just one way Jesus showed me so I could stay in His Word and keep lifting my voice and pen and heart to Him each day.

I pray you will be in God’s Word each day, reading your Bible and blessed by this journal as a way to get you started.  When you finish this journal, you can just pick up a school notebook from the dollar store and keep praying!  Thank you for accepting God’s invitation to come, praying for your family and nation!  May the Holy Spirit fill your heart and these prayer pages and intercede to the Father on your behalf with sighs too deep for words. Together, by God’s grace and mercy, we will change this world with Jesus, one TEA CUPP at a time.

God’s blessings,

Jennifer Grace

P.S.  For information on how to receive your Good Morning, Jesus Prayer Journal, please contact me here.

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)

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

The Persistent Widow Petitions

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)

She asked and she kept on asking. She sought and she kept on seeking.  She knocked and she kept on knocking.  Our final letter of the TEA CUPP, “P” for Petitions, is illustrated most aptly by this Bible lady, the Persistent Widow of Luke 18.

To learn about this part of prayer, we visit Jesus teaching His disciples through another parable. This time He was teaching them to pray and not to give up.  His story was about a dear widow who was desperate for help. Perhaps you can sympathize with this lady, either being a widow or in need, you know the panicky feeling.

Here was a lady in a hopeless situation. She had lost her husband and needed assistance.  This lady did not let her circumstances define her. She took her case to the only one she knew, a judge who was dreadfully evil. She boldly went to the judge and pleaded over and over for help against her adversary.  When at first he wouldn’t help her, the widow continued to knock at his door and ask. Finally, to get her to leave him in peace, the judge granted this woman’s request. That judge did not respond because he was kind and caring, but because he wanted her to stop bothering him.  If an evil judge can help a poor lady, how much more will our heavenly Father who loves and cherishes us. 

Jesus tells us, “How much more will your Father in heaven” help us when we call upon Him (Matthew 7:11). For He is not a wicked judge, but a loving Father. James tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Let’s ask God for all that is on our hearts and persevere and not give up, following the example of the persistent widow.

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV)

What am I petitioning the Lord Jesus, our righteous Judge, for right now?  For so many things…an end to abortion, healing for dear ones, healing for our nation and world, an end to covid and vaccines and masks and fear, salvation for loved ones and our nation…  What has God shown me in His Word?  One day in Exodus 28 I read about the priestly garments the gifted artisans made for Aaron and his sons.  On their shoulders and breast plates they carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, bearing their names before the Lord; and so I bear up the names of my family and loved ones to Jesus continually.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 today.  Dear One, be like this brave lady! Cry out day and night to God with your PETITIONS.  We know He wants to hear our prayers because Jesus told this parable, encouraging us to pray.  Pour your heart out to Him in prayer, and may Jesus find you faithful when He comes. 

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)

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)

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me.  Psalm 7:1 (NKJV)

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.  Psalm 17:1 (NKJV)

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.  Psalm 33:22 (NKJV)

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great CallingThe Red Cord: Rahab’s StoryWashed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady and Promises from Under the Table.

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

 

The Blessed Easter Tree

 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

God planted a tree for you, my friend.  This Blessed Easter Tree, this Old Rugged Cross, is truly the Tree of Life for all humanity.  For no one can enter into the presence of God in heaven, unless she goes through the door of this Blessed Easter Tree.

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain” (George Bennard, 1913).

Who would think that we could find this favorite old hymn and the Easter story in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel? Yet we shouldn’t be surprised, for the entire Bible, God’s Word, points to our Savior Jesus Christ, telling His story from creation to eternity.  In Ezekiel we find not only God breathing life into dead bones, making them new creations like we are when we believe in Jesus. He also paints the picture of a tree planted on a hill to save a nation.  Could this be our “Old Rugged Cross?”

Set aside time today to read Ezekiel 16 and 17, chapters which outline the sins of Israel.  As we think of our world today, you might even think Ezekiel is talking about the USA, while at the end of each chapter, God sagaciously gives us hope!  In Ezekiel 16:63, He promises us, “…when I provide you an atonement for all you have done…” And in Ezekiel 17:23 He says, “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar…” So first comes the promise of atonement in Ezekiel 16:63, followed by how God will do it in Ezekiel 17:23 — by planting a tree on the mountain.  That tree is the cross of Christ, a fruit-bearing tree. The fruit is you and me and all those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, spreading the Good News to others.

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  Luke 23:33 (NKJV)

On Calvary’s mountain a wooden cross was planted in the ground. On that same cross, the Son of God was willingly nailed to pay the price of the world’s sins (that means yours and mine!).  His Name is Jesus, perfect, without sin, our precious Lord. After He died, His followers laid Him in a tomb. Roman soldiers stood guard before the stone, but they had no power over the Son of God. For on the third day, angels came and rolled the stone away and Jesus rose from the grave, appearing first to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), saying, “Mary” (John 20:16). And He still calls our names today.  God’s Church has brought forth many branches and has been bearing fruit ever since that day, bringing glory to our majestic Savior.  

And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’  Acts 13:32-33 (NKJV)

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown” (George Bennard,1913).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Ezekiel 16-17 and other Easter verses. Confess your sins and the sins of our nation.  Claim Jesus’ promises of atonement (Ezekiel 16:63) and salvation (Ezekiel 17:23).  Rejoice in the good news of His resurrection. Hear your risen Savior call your name, “_______.”

rejoice because your names are written in heaven.  Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

Why Jesus Came: ...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:37 (NKJV) – Oh, how we need His truth today!

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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:8-11 (NKJV) – Oh Father, be glorified this Easter!

How Jesus saved us:  Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

An Easter prayer:  That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.  Philippians 3:10 (NKJV) – Amen.

Happy, Blessed Easter from My TEA CUPP Prayers to you!  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you also might like to read My Glory All the Cross and Remember the Cross and The Witness of the Stone.

After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.  Hosea 6:2 (NKJV)

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  Matthew 28:5-6 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 (NKJV)

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!  Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)

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

Sheep to the Slaughter

…We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Psalm 44:22 (NKJV)

The headline in our local paper disturbed me greatly, “Covid-19 Vaccine Open to all Montanans on April 1.”  What seems to be the first bipartisan event in ages, the promotion of Covid-19 vaccines, is breaking my heart.  

You have given us up like sheep intended for food,
And have scattered us among the nations. Psalm 44:11 (NKJV)

Now, please hear me out.  I was never an anti-vaxxer before covid.  I dutifully took all four of our children for their vaccines, even though tears streamed down my face with every shot.  From what I’ve recently learned, I should have listened to my maternal instincts and the shrieks of one six-year-old son getting his kindergarten shots.  When it came time for mission trips, we were thankful for our health nurse Jenn at the County Annex, researching and providing the vaccines necessary for particular countries. But now, after much prayer, I would like to wash my hands of the vaccine industry and ask God’s forgiveness for any we shouldn’t have taken.  

Did you know that some of the vaccines contain aborted babies or were tested on aborted babies? It’s no wonder our youngest son now suffers from chronic digestion issues and our granddaughter has cancer.  Data shows there were very few instances of childhood cancer before the onset of vaccines.  You can view a chart of vaccine abortive ingredients at https://rtl.org/educational-materials/vaccines-abortion/. Another chart shows which Covid-19 shots are dependent on aborted baby cells, whether for ingredients or testing: https://lozierinstitute.org/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/.

...do not kill the innocent and righteous… Exodus 23:7 (NKJV)

Our nation has cast the tablets of God, the commandments written with His own hand, and shattered them on the ground (Exodus 31:18, 32:16,19). When God said, “You shall have no other gods before Me…you shall not murder…you shall now commit adultery” (Exodus 20), He meant it! When we got tired of the virus and the lockdowns, instead of turning to God for healing, we cried out like the Israelites, “Come, make us (vaccines) that will go before us”  (Exodus 32:1). And the church leaders remained silent, giving us the golden calf vaccine.  While the enemy put a lying tongue in the mouths of most doctors and politicians (1 Kings 2:22-23). 

Why do you think God allowed the plague to happen in the first place?  A few reasons may be…

  1. Death of innocent babies:  The Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17) And yet we continue to kill babies, funding abortion more and more, even using these aborted babies for our vaccines!  
  2. Census:  Did you know 2020 was not only the year of the virus but also the year of the census?  Exodus 30:11-16 says we are supposed to pay a ransom when we are counted to the house of God, and yet we are still counting cases, deaths, vaccines, etc.
  3. Each has turned to his own way: We haven’t turned to God and a saving faith in Jesus Christ, instead we are turning to vaccines and many deplorable mandates.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 56:3 (NKJV)

It makes me wonder what our world is coming to when even the Pope approves such tainted medicine. My cross-country coach in college had several sayings, one being, “Don’t follow the herd!”  We would run through town, one behind the other, sometimes on forest trails, sometimes on city sidewalks, often crossing busy streets.  When we reached those traffic intersections, we were not to blindly cross like a herd of cattle as we followed the runners ahead of us, we were to look both ways in case more cars were approaching.  My friends, we need to look both ways and not just follow the herd.  If you are watching mainstream media, you also need to check out the other side.  Visit LifeSiteNews.com and Children’s Health Defense and the American Frontline Doctors

God calls us to be separate from the world (Exodus 33:16).  He calls us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).  Jesus tells us to enter through the narrow gate (Luke 13:24).  If everyone is getting the vaccine, it is the wrong thing to do.  Heartbreakingly, many of the elect have already been deceived (Matthew 24:24) and received their shots, when it is truly unnecessary, with a 99% survival rate for covid. Though many say they are loving their neighbor by getting the vaccine, I say I’m loving babies by not getting it. Many eyes have been blinded to the truth.  It was Jesus all along who could heal this land, if only people would turn to Him in repentance and prayer.

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.  John 12:40 (NKJV)

The vaccine is the Sheep Thief of John 10:10. It comes to steal, kill and destroy, as many have died and many more will die from these experimental vaccines (see vaccinedeaths.com). The vaccine is the Seducing Woman of Proverbs 7, promising health and a return to normal life.  “For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men” (Proverbs 7:26). The vaccine is a liar, like the devil himself, and he will flee as soon as there is trouble for he does not care about the sheep (John 10:13).

Yet there is hope, for Jesus laid down His life for the sheep (John 10:15), a precious gift we remember this coming week with Good Friday services. Jesus loves you, my friends. Because of His atoning death on the cross and resurrection Easter morning, all who truly believe will have life in His Name. I exhort you to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). God promises us, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. John 10:28 (NKJV)

With so many running to get the abortion-tainted, unnecessary, experimental vaccine, I can only pray as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). If you already got the vaccine, I implore you to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), give your heart to Jesus (Mark 1:15), and rest in His promises (Job 19:25-27).  If you haven’t gotten the vaccine (praise the Lord!), pray without ceasing for others, keep your eyes on Jesus and His Word, “stand fast in the Lord, beloved” (Philippians 4:1), and rest in His promises.

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  John 12:25 (NKJV)

So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.  Exodus 23:25-26 (NKJV)

I do not write this lightly, knowing the backlash that may come from even friends and neighbors.  Yet God promises me in His Word: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).  I believe there are many others who agree with me, and perhaps by sharing this, we will save a few more lives.

I claim God’s promises for all who believe and give their lives to Jesus, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, whether Jew or Gentile, whether circumcised or uncircumcised, whether slave or free, whether Grizz or Bobcat fan…

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.  John 3:36 (NKJV)

If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26 (NKJV)

See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be (vaccinated), only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are (vaccinated) keep the law, but they desire to have you (vaccinated) that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither (vaccination) nor (unvaccination) avails anything, but a new creation.  Galatians 6:11-15

With love from Jennifer Grace, a child of God, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, called by the Holy Spirit, To all the saints.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:2).

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Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Psalm 44:22 (NKJV)

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

 

Promises from Under the Table

 

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28 (NKJV)

If you’ve been doubting if you can talk with Jesus and if He will hear your prayers, today’s devotion is for you!  If you’re at the end of your rope and are coming to Jesus in one last desperate plea, you are like the Canaanite woman.  If you’re ready to humble yourself and even crawl under the table for Jesus, you are the one He wants to give His promises.  

Dear Sister, the first “P” in the TEA CUPP is all about claiming God’s PROMISES and Jesus wants to give these promises to YOU!  Now this lady to whom I’m about to introduce you could have been a great one for the “U” section, as she had quite a story.  She’s also a marvelous example of our last section (P for Petitions which we’ll get to next week).  But today we will see how she claimed God’s PROMISES.

The Canaanite woman’s story begins in Matthew 15:21. If you are familiar with Old Testament history, you may remember how Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The people living there were the Canaanites, and in the book of Joshua we read how God’s people were instructed to drive them all out. (The story goes even farther back to Genesis 9:25, where Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan,” because Canaan’s father Ham, Noah’s second son, had seen Noah’s nakedness).  And so, as they entered the Promised Land, each tribe was supposed to help remove this enemy, but they never finished the job.  Thus, many Canaanites remained in the land of Israel with God’s people, bringing us to this story with Jesus. 

Jesus and His disciples were passing through the region where the Canaanite woman lived. News of Jesus’ miracles must have preceded His arrival, for the woman hurried right up to Jesus and begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  

Can you imagine this lady’s anguish? Her daughter was possessed by demons. Perhaps many of you have experienced the same thing, having a child who is rebellious, or depressed, or with an eating disorder or any other illness.  You have tried everything, but Jesus is the only one who can help your child and you.  

So, she cried out, “O Lord, Son of David!”  How does she know He is Lord? How does she know Jesus is The Son of David?  Because she has heard of His miracles and God has put this in her heart.  For Jesus is the Promised One, the Messiah, who was descended from David.  He has so many names: Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God.  Yet, she chose the name which showed He belonged to David, Israel’s great king.

And you’ll never guess what Jesus said in reply: NOTHING.  He said nothing!  Has God ever been silent with you?  Many Bible people cried out to God about this…

I cry out to You, but You do not answer me… Job 30:20 (NKJV)

Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?… Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV)

Even the disciples were unsympathetic, encouraging Jesus to send the woman away.  That would have been the end of me.  I would have left in tears.  But SUDDENLY, the disciples’ comments woke up Jesus.  Perhaps He had been waiting to see if they had learned anything from His parables to help her.  Or, perhaps He was waiting to see if the woman was sincere in her request. Whatever the reason, the waiting was over!  Jesus then explained to the woman that He had been sent to save the people of Israel.  Did this stop the Canaanite woman? NO! 

Once again, I would have left in tears, but this brave lady truly knew who she was addressing, for at this point in her story she came and worshiped Jesus!  She worshiped the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!  And she begged Him again, “Lord, help me!”  

Jesus, still teaching the disciples and testing her faith, and though I would think wanted to help her at that very moment, delayed again, saying, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs,” meaning He was only to give His bread, His body, to the children of Israel.  

A third time, I would have been crushed and left in tears, but the Canaanite woman, with courage and boldness for which I long, answered Jesus, the Son of God, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Oh, dear one, if this Canaanite woman could speak up to Jesus, don’t you think you can, as well?

And this is where we get the happy ending, for Jesus answered this desperate lady, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28)

My friend, let the Canaanite woman’s story inspire you to talk to Jesus!  Yes, YOU can talk to Jesus.  He came first to the children of Israel, but then for all the children of the world, and that means YOU!  And YOU can claim the promise He gave to the Canaanite woman…”O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”  

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)

Dearest Jesus, I come and worship You.  You are the God known from eternity past to eternity future by all Your awesome works. You created the whole earth and the cattle on a thousand hills are Yours, yet You seek after me, the one lost sheep. You are the God-Who-Sees me.  I will be glad to sit under Your table and be fed the scraps of Your love and wisdom. But no, You invite me to sit AT Your table and dine with You!  Oh, Jesus, I claim Your promises!  Amen 

They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.  Luke 13:29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28.  Claim Jesus’ promises. Whatever you are praying, whatever it may be, claim God’s promise, Let it be to you as you desire! And claim these promises below that He really, truly hears your prayers.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers… 1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear.  Psalm 10:17 (NKJV)

You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you… Job 22:27 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great Calling, The Red Cord: Rahab’s Story, Washed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady.

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)

I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.  Psalm 77:1 (NKJV)

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”  Genesis 16:13 (NKJV)

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)

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

 

 

 

 

Bible Reading Bookmarks

…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  Job 23:12 (NKJV)

We’ve been talking a lot about treasure, how God opened the treasure chest of heaven and poured out His love for us through His Son Jesus; how Jesus is our treasure, giving us the treasure of salvation and eternal life; and how He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit when He returned to heaven. Yet there is a great Treasure Chest that includes all of these, our Bibles! 

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

Our Bibles are a treasure we do not want to keep locked up. We want to open its pages every single day and seek God in His Word.  It’s in our Bibles that Jesus speaks to us during our daily quiet times. But where should we begin reading?  Please let me share some Bible Reading Plans with you today:

The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.  Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)

If you are a brand-new Christian and Bible-reader, you may like to begin by reading the Gospel of John and one Psalm each day.  John’s Gospel will tell you the story of Jesus and His salvation, while the Psalms give you words to pray for every situation.

The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.  Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)

Once you have a taste of God’s Word and are hungry for more, you may benefit from reading a One Year Bible in an easy translation. These give you an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, a Psalm and a Proverb for each day.  The first Bible I read from cover to cover was a One Year New Living Translation Bible.  I read it for several years before wearing it out.  

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

Though the One Year Bibles are perfect for daily reading, they are challenging to use in a Bible study situation where you have to look up verses.  Next you will want to get a regular study Bible, my favorite is the MacArthur Study Bible in the New King James Version.  For several years I used the Our Daily Bread devotion book Bible reading plan with my study Bible.  This plan has you read from the Old Testament and New Testament each day, completing Malachi and Revelation by the end of the year.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

This year, our pastor invited us to try a new Bible reading plan, the M’Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Plan. This plan has you read four chapters a day from four different parts of your Bible.  You can read two sections in the morning and two at night, or two sections with your family and two in private, or just read all four in the morning during your TEA time, as I like to do.  If you follow the complete M’Cheyne plan, you will have read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice by the end of the year.  

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

I have found the M’Cheyne reading plan so interesting this year, being in four stories at once, which often connect to current events and to each other.  There are always Bible verses to pray and words to encourage me each day.  I am such a paper and pencil and bookmark person, that I made four M’Cheyne bookmarks to put in my Bible and use each day. If you would like to have your own set of bookmarks please contact me and I will be happy to send you some!  

…But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:15 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, having a Bible reading plan is a very important part of your daily TEA time with Jesus.  Just like eating a healthy diet from all the food groups, reading from all parts of the Bible (not just your favorites) keeps you well fed.  Ask God to show you which Bible reading plan to use this year.  Keep His Treasure Chest open every day!

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Romans 15:4 (NKJV)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
Lord God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

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