The Red Cord: Rahab’s Story

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!

So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. Joshua 2:1 (NKJV)

She was the concealer of Israel’s spies, the savior of her family, the great-great-grandmother of King David, the great-grandmother of Jesse, the grandmother of Obed, and the mother of Boaz. Who was this great lady?  Rahab the Harlot!

If you read Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, you might think you are reading the same devotion again, for in that book I shared about Ruth, the wife of Boaz and great-grandmother of King David. Going back one more generation we have another amazing woman, Rahab. I wonder if Rahab was still living when Boaz married Ruth? These two Bible ladies certainly had some stories to tell! That’s what the U part of the TEA CUPP is all about, UNDERSTANDING our stories.

Rahab’s story begins in the book of Joshua. God’s people, the Israelites, had completed their forty years of wandering in the desert. God was finally leading them into the Promised Land. Joshua sent two spies to check out the first city, Jericho. When the spies arrived at Jericho, they hid in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. It was a good cover for two traveling men, but the king found out about them anyway.

God, always providing, prepared Rahab’s heart to hide the spies. When the king sent his men to find the spies, Rahab cleverly hid them under some flax she was drying on the roof. She told the king’s men that the spies had gone on and to go look for them. Then Rahab let the spies down through the window, as her home was in the city wall. She instructed them to hide in the mountains for three days until the search was ended.

Before letting the spies depart, Rahab begged for mercy for her family. She had heard of the Israelites’ great victories and how their God had fought for them. Rahab proclaimed “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). She knew they would take Jericho next and asked for her family to be spared. The spies agreed if Rahab would leave a red cord hanging from her window. That red cord was the symbol of her salvation.

After three days in the mountains, the spies returned to Joshua with the good news that the “inhabitants of the country are faint-hearted because of us” (Joshua 2:24). So Joshua and the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River and conquer Jericho (now that’s another great story!). On the seventh day of marching around Jericho, Joshua instructed the two spies to rescue Rahab and her family, adopting them into the Jewish nation.

And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua 6:25 (NKJV)

I wonder if one of the spies was a handsome fellow named Salmon. For in Matthew 1:5 we read, “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab.” Rahab settled down with the Israelites and became part of the lineage of Christ. I imagine she told her children and grandchildren the story again and again of how the red cord saved her family.

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. Matthew 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Dear Sister, we have a red cord of salvation, too! Our Red Cord is the blood of Jesus Christ. For on the cross at Calvary, He shed His blood for us, dying for all our sins. As Rahab believed in the God of the Israelites and trusted the spies and red cord, we too can believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and trust in His Son Jesus and the blood He shed for us. Grab onto Jesus’ “red cord,” telling your salvation story to to your children and grandchildren and neighbors.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Rahab’s incredible story in Joshua 2 and 6. Where do you find yourself in her story? Are you Rahab, deeply in need of forgiveness and longing to be included in God’s family? Are you one of the Israelites, crossing the Jordan River, hoping for a fresh start on the other side? Wherever you are in life, I pray you will make Jesus a big part of your story, and tell about Him to others, saving your family, as did Rahab.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? James 2:25 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers which includes this devotion.

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

Esther’s Great Calling

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Have those words been ringing in your ears, as they have in mine, while watching history unfold this year?  As I hear the news that more babies are marked for abortion, while our elderly are being “vaccinated” with cells derived from or tested on such babies, my heart breaks, for I know that the Author of Life can in no way bless such an atrocious endeavor (Romans 1:18). Our cradles and homes for the elderly will be empty (see links below). Perhaps you’ve prayed the prayer, “May my heart be broken by what breaks the heart of God.” That’s what is happening to me right now…my heart is broken by the imminent deaths of innocents.  There should be great mourning, fasting, weeping and wailing at such tragic news (Esther 4:3).

There was a lady back in Old Testament times with the same crisis.  Her people, the Jews, were marked for extermination.  She was the one God called to save them.  What can we learn from Esther that will help us through this time in history?  Let us walk through Esther’s story today.  The book of Esther began with King Ahasuerus having a big party.  When his wife, Queen Vashti, refused to come when he called her, she was dethroned, as an example to all ladies to honor their husbands, both great and small (Esther 1:20).

After his anger cooled, the king wished to have a queen again.  A questionable beauty pageant was arranged where he chose his next queen.  Esther pleased the king and won the contest, not telling anyone that she was a Jew.  At the same time, the second leader in the nation, Haman, was miffed with a fellow named Mordecai (who happened to be Esther’s uncle), because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him as he passed by.  Haman tricked the king into signing a destructive decree saying, 

“There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain.” (Esther 3:8, NKJV)

When Mordecai heard the decrees, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes.  Esther sent him new clothes to wear, but he refused, sending Esther a message of the impending destruction.  This is when Mordecai cried his famous line, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther and her maids fasted and prayed for three days before Esther went to the king (Esther 4:16).  That’s when the miracle happened…

While Esther and her maids were fasting, the king couldn’t sleep. King Ahasuerus commanded the history books to be read before him. And what happened? Past information was brought to the spotlight, how Mordecai had saved the king’s life.  The next day Haman was forced to honor Mordecai for his service to the king. You must read the entire book of Esther to hear its exciting conclusion of how Esther saved her people, the Jews. 

My friends, this same happy ending is what I want for babies, the elderly, and all Christians today. We are the Jews, for our hearts have been circumcised with the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:29).   It is our children and grandparents whose lives have been considered disposable.  We must be like Esther and cry out for these beloved.  Protect those near and dear to you.  And I pray that the true history of this present time will also be brought to the spotlight.

Dear Sister in Christ, we have been called for such a time as this: 1) To be godly wives for our husbands, 2) To raise up godly children who love the Lord Jesus, 3) To pray for our grandchildren and point them to Jesus, 4) To love our neighbors and shine His light on them, 5) To care for the sick, the widow, the orphan, 6) To pray for our leaders and for God to raise up leaders after His own heart, 7) and to stand in the gap, praying and speaking for those who have no voice… You will find even more callings as you read God’s Word.  

Let us write the history book for 2021 with courageous acts.  Let the truth be revealed. May God send a revival across this land such has never been seen before.  Hearts everywhere will be open to Him. Knees will bow, mouths will confess, souls will repent.  You won’t have to say “know the Lord,” for everyone will will know Him (Hebrews 8:11).  There will be celebrating, giving of gifts, feasting, fasting, and praying before the Lord (Esther 9:19, 22). The Prince of Peace and Truth shall reign (Esther 9:30).  And we will tell the story of God’s miraculous salvation to our children’s chidren’s chidren forever (Esther 9:28).

“What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request… Esther 5:6 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, If I have found favor in Your sight, and if it pleases the King, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, our babies and grandparents, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated… (Esther 7:3-4). We pray for our nation to repent and turn to You.  We pray for hearts everywhere to cry out to You in confession. We claim the forgiveness You bought us on the Cross. We pray for hearts to be opened across our nation and world, and for You to pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. We pray for precious lives…innocent babies….the elderly…and all those in between.  Do Your miracles, Jesus!  May Your Name be magnified! May the Word of the Lord grow mightily and prevail. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire book of Esther and be inspired by this riveting piece of history.  Read Romans 8:31-39 for encouragement as you follow God’s calling in such a time as this. Be in God’s Word, for He always has just what you need.   Ask the Lord how He wants you to serve your family and neighbors and nation.  Dear One, God has brought you to the kingdom for such a time as this!  

Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.’  Acts 22:14 (NKJV)

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35 (NKJV)

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “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 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Roman 8:18 (NKJV)

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

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers! If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read Let’s Talk about Calling and My Mission and One Life to Spend.

p.s.  Don’t get the vaccine.  Jesus is the cure for America. If you would like to research the current shots being offered to the public and other life news, here are a few links…

https://www.lifesitenews.com/tags/tag/coronavirus+vaccine

https://www.brighteon.com/4071ef0b-1c11-44d2-9a5b-6496baf00d0a

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/protecting-our-future/covid-vaccine-safety-concerns/

https://lozierinstitute.org/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/

https://rtl.org/educational-materials/vaccines-abortion/

https://thetruthaboutvaccines.com/deaths-reported-following-covid-vaccine/

https://vaccinedeaths.com/

https://vaccinedeaths.com/2021-02-02-aborted-fetal-tissue-coronavirus-vaccines-spike-proteins.html

https://cogforlife.org/guidance/

https://aclj.org/pro-life/president-biden-starting-plan-to-reverse-trump-administrations-title-x-defunding-of-planned-parenthood

https://aclj.org/pro-life/president-biden-will-force-you-to-pay-for-international-abortions

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

Washed Clean Like Mary Magdalene

 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!

And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons. Luke 8:2 (NKJV)

Seven.  Can you imagine it? Seven demons inside you? That’s how many Mary Magdalene had.  Perhaps you have had a rough life and a taste of Mary Magdalene’s demons.  Or, maybe there is just one demon that keeps coming back to visit, like a bad habit that won’t go away… anger, lust, greed, pride, selfishness, unforgiveness… there are so many.   

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  2 Timothy 3:2-4 (NKJV)

We all struggle with sin, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Whether it’s pride or anger or bitterness or a loose tongue or any of the ones listed in these verses… we all have a “demon” we need Jesus to wash away.  My friends, this is what the “A” part of My TEA CUPP is all about, ADMITTING those sins to Jesus and asking Him to wash us clean.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Colossians 3:5-6 (NKJV)

The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how and when Jesus sent the demons packing from Mary, it just tells us He did.  Jesus loved Mary Magdalene so much before she even knew Him. After her cleansing, she was with the disciples, following Jesus, weeping at the cross and tomb, and welcoming the Risen Lord Jesus from the grave first! (Matt. 27:56, 27:61, Mark 15:40, 15:47, Luke 8:1-2, John 19:25)

If you’ve been watching the popular new Christian show, The Chosen, you have met Mary Magdalene and love her and her story.  In The Chosen, the healing of Mary is one of Jesus’ first miracles. She continued to follow Jesus with the disciples each day.  Our Bibles pick up her story at the cross where Mary looked on from afar with other ladies. 

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.  Mark 15:40 (NKJV)

Mary followed Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus when they laid Jesus in the tomb and rolled the stone to cover the entrance. Then she went home for the Sabbath.  But early Sunday morning, she came again to the tomb, hoping to anoint Jesus’ body with oil, only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty.  Mary cried out to the “gardener,” “Where have you put him?”  And the “gardener” replied, “Mary.”  Then she knew that Jesus was alive and ran to tell the disciples!  Mary Magdalene was the first witness of our Risen Lord!  (Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:1, 16:9, Luke 24:10, John 20:1, 20:11, 20:18)

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.  Mark 16:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Mark 5:1-20 for another person who had 2000 demons! Read Romans 1:28-32 for another list of sins that hurt us. Oh, sister in Christ, I want for you what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene.  JESUS LOVES YOU, TOO! We cannot have too many sins for Jesus to save us. Give Him your “demons” by confessing your sins.  Jesus died for those sins on the cross and rose again for you. Let Him wash you clean and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Then follow Him all your days as did Mary Magdalene. 

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.  John 20:18 (NKJV)

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. Mark 7:21-22 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15 (NKJV)

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.  Acts 22:16 (NKJV)

My dear ones, the time is NOW to confess the sins of our nation, too.  Things are getting worse by the minute with more directives to kill innocent babies.  Other horrors are being done, as well.  Cry out to the God of heaven to have mercy on this land, to open hearts, to forgive our sins, to save the lost, to heal our land, to pour out His Holy Spirit, and to send a revival.  Come Lord Jesus, come! Amen.

…O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Daniel 9:4-5 (NKJV)

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

10 Years Under The Water

When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

We’ve been under The Water for 10 years now. This weekend marks ten years since our believer’s baptism in Christ Jesus.  Ten years under His cover and forgiveness.  Ten years under His mercy and grace. Ten years under His unfailing love.

What a joy that was to be baptized with my family, just like Lydia in Acts 16:15.  Our son Jacob took his faith to college, serving in Campus Crusade for Christ as a missionary.  Our son Kevin is now studying at Bible College. My husband Kent and I are raising up our gift from God who came exactly nine months after our baptism.  We still pray for how we can be bright lights for Jesus in this world that needs Him so much.

Today we are even closer to Jesus’s return than we were a decade ago (Romans 13:11). Oh, how I pray that all you dear ladies may be under His Water and care, too. I share again the devotion I wrote ten years ago (many of you have read this in my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers).

God CALLS us to do many things.  Reading my Bible each morning, I slowly hear what He’s telling me to do.  Every year I read the story of Jesus’ baptism, I’d wonder, “Why did Jesus need to be baptized?  He was perfect and without sin?” Then God showed me that Jesus did this to be a model for us and to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).

And so we followed Jesus’ example… on a very cold January Sunday in Montana, I was blessed to be baptized with my family.  This was a CALL a long time coming.  We had all been baptized as infants and grew up in church.  But this day we proclaimed, “We believe in YOU Jesus, we belong to YOU, please wash away our old selves and make us new creations.”

I claimed John 12:24 as my baptism verse…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. We were the wheat being buried in the ground in baptism.  I prayed that I could be like that grain of wheat and produce much fruit for Jesus.

On this day God’s baptismal CALL for me was fulfilled. I was dunked in my TEA CUPP.  All my thanking, exalting, admitting, calling, understanding, promising, petitioning…all my prayers were there that day.  He washed me in His Word, as I gave my life again to JESUS, because He first gave His life for me.  Oh Jesus, help us bear fruit for you!

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16 (NKJV)

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14 (NKJV)

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

...for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11 (NKJV)

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

God Bless the USA

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled devotion to bring you this important update from the heart of My TEA CUPP Prayers blogger, Jennifer Grace…

...I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  Nehemiah 1:4 (NKJV)

Hello, dear TEA friends,  Instead of my usual devotion today, I decided to write what is on my heart because I’m guessing it’s on many of yours, as well.  If it’s not what you want to hear, that’s okay, you can switch to another website. What’s on my heart today? Our country, The United States of America.

Like many of you, I’ve lifted up so many prayers this past year for our country and its leaders.  When I read Bible verses about plagues in Exodus, I asked God to heal our land from the coronavirus.  When I read verses about fasting in Esther, I fasted and prayed for our nation.  When I read verses about Rachel weeping for her children,  I confessed the sins of our nation and pleaded with God for His mercy and forgiveness.  

When the election came in November, I continued my prayers for our nation as I cast my vote.  And for whom did I vote?  I voted for the one who will work to save those precious babies.  I voted for the one who cares for the people of this country and wants to the protect them in every way. I voted for the one who will keep our nation open so I can travel and invite ladies everywhere to tea with Jesus. I voted for the one who still believes the founding fathers’ edict for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in all honesty and integrity.

When the new year came, we still did not know who won the election, and our pastor invited us to begin the M’Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Plan.  Ready for a fresh challenge, I signed up.  Now, instead of reading just two Bible readings a day, we are reading four different places in Scripture.  One of these selections is Nehemiah, where I find myself right before the Presidential inauguration.  

What does Nehemiah offer us?  I have found many parallels to our 45th President.  Nehemiah 2:8 says, “the good hand of my God upon me.”  I believe the good hand of God has been upon our President since day one, how else could he have endured so much persecution and mudslinging? Nehemiah 2:18 says of the wall around Jerusalem, “‘Let us rise up and build.’  Then they set their hands to this good work.”  As one of his hundreds of accomplishments, our President has been building a wall which is now over 400 miles long to protect our citizens.  While Nehemiah 3:5 tells of some who “did not put their shoulder to the work of their Lord.” I’m afraid that could apply to many others who hold public office.  

Nehemiah 5:14 tells how neither he nor his brothers “ate the governor’s provisions.”  Our President never took a salary the entire time he’s served at the White House.  And up until last week, he “continued the work on this wall…”  (Nehemiah 5:16, NKJV).

I pray that as our President prepares for the morrow, He is praying Nehemiah 5:19 and 6:3,9…“Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people…I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down…O God, strengthen my hands.”  

Oh, dear President, God is doing a great work and He is coming down soon to help you. And one day He will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Stand strong and to God be the glory!

…Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome… Nehemiah 4:14 (NKJV)

And when the 11th or 13th hour miracle happens on the morrow, when President Donald “Nehemiah” Trump is anointed President once again, may all Americans perceive that this work was done by our God (Nehemiah 6:16, NKJV) and turn to Him with all their hearts!

…Our God will fight for us.  Nehemiah 4:20 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night… (Nehemiah 1:5-6, NKJV)

God bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her, Through the night with the light from above, From the mountains to the prairies, To the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home (Irving Berlin, 1918)

America, America!  God shed His grace on thee, And crown they good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea! (Katharine Bates, 1893)

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

 

Exalting like the Alabaster Lady

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!

You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.  Psalm 118:28

She wasn’t even invited, but she boldly went to the dinner.  It wasn’t just any dinner for it was hosted by a Pharisee, one of the prestigious religious leaders.  She washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, though the host gave Him no water for His feet.  This woman kissed His feet all during dinner, though the host had given Him no kiss of greeting. She poured her costly alabaster flask of fragrant oil upon His feet, though the host did not anoint His head with oil (Luke 7:44-46).  She knew He was worthy of all her adoration, while the host had unknowingly invited the Son of God!

What an unusual dinner it must have been!  When Luke described this meal, he did not give the lady a name, so we will just call her the Alabaster Lady. The other guest, of course, was Jesus.  John MacArthur, in his study Bible, says this is not the same event where another lady poured oil on Jesus (Mary, sister to Martha, of Bethany in John 12:3). Today we’ll just meet the Alabaster Lady in Luke.  

She was a sinner (Luke 7:37) and somehow she felt Jesus was the only One who could save her.  Jesus knew exactly what she needed.  After teaching the Pharisee about love, Jesus turned to this dear lady and said the words we all want to hear, “Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:48, 50) 

Wow.  Imagine being the Alabaster Lady.  You come boldly.  You exalt Jesus with your tears. And then, He forgives you.  You can go in peace, yet you want to stay, praising and exalting Him even more!

“But I don’t have an alabaster flask of costly perfume,” you say?  Why, my dear, you do!  Your flask is the Treasure Chest of God’s Word.  Open it and pour out Bible verses of exaltation on Jesus’ feet, praising Him for who He is. The most precious gift you can pour on Jesus is your heart and His Word.  

Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Psalm 8:1 (NKJV)

Oh, how we want to be like this Alabaster lady, pouring our tears of adoration on His feet, for He saved us from our sins by His death on the cross. He rose to new life so He can prepare a place for us in heaven.  All we have to do is believe.  From the wells of our hearts springs forth the praise due His name.  Pour it out on Jesus’ feet today!

Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  Psalm 29:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the whole story of the Alabaster Lady in Luke 8:36-50.  How can you exalt Jesus like this precious forgiven woman did? Here are some verses to get you started…

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:1-2 (NKJV)

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

Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!
We will sing and praise Your power.  Psalm 21:13 (NKJV)

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

MacArthur, J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. (p. 1527-1528)

Thankful Bible Ladies

To kick off the new year, I’m 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!

I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.  Psalm 119:162

You’ve cracked open the Treasure Chest, your Bible.  You’ve peered into its pages.  You’ve marveled at all there is to absorb and learn.  You wonder where to start.  Let’s begin as God calls us to in Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” 

I imagine many ladies of the Bible gave thanks to God during their journey on earth.  We read how Hannah and Mary both praised Him at the birth of their famous babies (Samuel in 1 Samuel 2:1, and Jesus in Luke 1:46).  How might other Bible ladies have given God thanks? 

  • Did the Alabaster Lady thank the Lord for forgiving all her sins? (Luke 7:36-50)
  • Did Mary Magdalene thank the Lord for freeing her from seven demons? (Luke 8:2)
  • Did Esther thank the Lord for saving her people, the Jews? (Esther 4:14)
  • Did Abigail thank the Lord for David’s care and protection? (1 Samuel 25)
  • Did Rahab thank the Lord for sparing her and her family when Joshua’s army conquered Jericho? (Joshua 2 and 6:22-23)
  • Did the Persistent Widow thank the Lord when her petition was finally answered? (Luke 18:1-8)

Did other Bible ladies thank Jesus, too?  Like Lydia, for bringing Paul to her home (Acts 16:13-15)? And Dorcas, after Peter raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36-43)?  You may find your story in one of these ladies’ stories, and you will have reason to give thanks to the Lord, too.  

Over the next several weeks, we will meet many of these ladies and hear their stories and what they can teach us about prayer.  Until then, let’s thank God for our Bibles, this treasury of His Word, that includes these wonderful histories and truths, all we need to know in this life and the life to come.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Thank God for your Bible!  Thank Him for the godly examples of Bible ladies. Choose one lady above to read about in your Bible today.  Thank Jesus for loving ladies so much they were even included in His inner circle when He walked this earth. What else are you thankful for today? Thanks be to God!

...And the twelve were with Him, and certain women… Luke 8:1-2 (NKJV)

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

If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.  Proverbs 2:4-5 (NKJV)

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

The BEST New Year’s Resolution

…Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord,
And seek the Lord of hosts…
Zechariah 8:21 (NKJV)

Ok, ladies, the new year is almost upon us! Many of you have new year’s goals. Some of you are determined not to have any goals. Others aren’t sure. I’m here today to give you the BEST New Year’s Resolution that will cover all the other resolutions and goals. Here it is:

Meet with Jesus each morning for TEA!

When you start your day with Jesus, reading your Bible, He will guide you with His Word, showing you what should be your goal for that day or week. He will unfold His plan for you day by day, provide for all your needs, be your strength and carry you through whatever the new year brings.

If you’re like me, you began 2020 with a list of goals and hopes, only to have them dashed to pieces with Covid19, closures, and quarantines. My world was actually shattered even sooner when our granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer at the end of January. Only my first month’s list was completed. And yet, perhaps that’s all God wanted me to do this past year, as I prayed and wrote and loved and cried and shared…maybe those were the things He really wanted me to do, as I met with Him each morning for TEA.

If you’re wondering how to make this new year resolution work, please read, “How to Get Started with your Jesus TEA.”  Pick a Bible reading plan that works best for you. My favorite is the one found in Our Daily Bread (click “Read Now” by Today’s Devotional to see the Bible reading), but there are many other good ones, like on the YouVersion Bible App. 

Then, on January 1, get up, pour yourself a hot mug, and sit down with your Bible and Jesus. Let Him speak first through His Word, then use a favorite verse as a conversation starter, as you pour your heart out to God in prayer.  You can do this even if you are a young mom, for I began daily Bible reading and prayer when my boys were babies. I let them be my alarm clocks. 

Be blessed, dear prayer friend, you are jewels in Jesus’ crown!

…For they shall be like the jewels of a crown… Zechariah 9:16 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: As my pastor says, “Give the first cup of coffee to God.” Let’s give our first mug of the day to Jesus! Sit down with Jesus for TEA and Bible reading and prayer each morning. This will be your best new year ever!

You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:11 (NKJV)

P.S. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers! If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read my books, My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers. God bless you, dear sister in Christ!

     

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee;
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above;
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

(Francis R. Havergal, 1874)

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

He Comes with Presents!

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

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)

What is the same about Christmas and when Jesus takes us home?  They both involve presents!  Every year, people around the world celebrate Christ’s birth by giving each other gifts.  When Jesus was born, wise men came from the East bearing gold, frankincense and mrryh (Matthew 2:11).  And did you know, that when Jesus comes for us, He will also have presents?

Last summer I was writing a running series but stopped just short of the best part of the race…when we finish!  Some day we will all cross that finish line, whether runners, walkers, or coach potatoes!  And when we who believe in Jesus cross that line, Jesus will have gifts for us!

I love the races where everyone gets a prize.  I first saw this when helping with Special Olympics.  Every runner was given a hug and a medal when he or she crossed the finish line.  Then a local fun run, the Cowpoke Stampede, awarded us all with cow ear tags!  And when I finished my first and only marathon last year, I was delighted to have the volunteers place a “finisher” medal around my neck before I collapsed into the arms of my family.

Immensely far better than those earthly rewards will be the presents Jesus brings when He comes for us, whether now or at His second return.  What kind of gifts will He give us? Some I found in God’s Word include… crowns, a new body with a white robe, white stones with our names, hidden manna, an inheritance, a mansion,  and eternal life!  Wow!  All this in addition to the forgiveness, salvation (saving us from our sins), redemption (dying in our place on the cross), grace, mercy, peace, joy and hope He already has showered upon us here. No gift on earth, no tinsel, no lights can ever compare with what God has prepared for those who love Him!

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Just like every finisher at the marathon gets a medal, all believers get a crown.  And what will we do with our crowns? Cast them at the feet of Jesus in praise and glory to Him, our Savior and King! We will kneel before Him, just like the wise men did beside His little bed so long ago, and present our gifts which He provides for us, for we owe Him our eternal thanks and praise.  Wow!

The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne… Revelation 4:10 (NKJV)

Let’s look at those seven gifts again:

  1. Crowns: Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)
  2. A new body with a white robe: For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV) Then a white robe was given to each of them… Revelation 6:11 (NKJV)
  3. A white stone with your name:And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
  4. Hidden manna: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat…Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
  5. An inheritance: To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.1 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)
  6. A mansion: In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NKJV)
  7. Eternal life: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

Some dear church friends have recently gone to heaven to receive these final rewards.  I see Randy, Orlando, Gale, Wally, Chuck, Kari, Don and others, wearing their white robes, and laying their crowns at the feet of Jesus.  They are sitting around the fellowship halls in their mansions, with white name stones to mark their places, enjoying the hidden manna and chatting like old friends do, waiting for the rest of us to show up. 

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear friend, I want YOU at that fellowship time in heaven.  Please ask Jesus into your heart today and welcome all the gifts He has for you!  Two weeks ago, I wrote that Jesus is coming soon.  One week ago, I shared about waiting and waiting.  In just a few days we will celebrate Christmas, and for many children the waiting will be over.  But for those of us who are longing for Jesus’ second return, we may still be waiting awhile longer. So be faithful, my friend. Jesus is coming with presents!

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NKJV)

…I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.  Genesis 15:1 (NKJV)

…each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8 (NKJV)

We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned…
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great…
Revelation 11:17-18 (NKJV)

P.S. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to check out my other Christmas devotions and my most favorite one, My Heart Inn.

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

Waiting and Waiting

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength… Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Waiting.  Waiting. Waiting can be hard.  Families wait for Daddy (and sometimes Mommy) to come home from work.  Children wait for Christmas and Santa. Grandparents wait for grandchildren to visit. All of us wait for our prayers to be answered.  We wonder what the delay could be. Why aren’t we getting our answers right NOW?!

I remember how as a child I met my Daddy at the bus stop every afternoon.  I would trudge up Fillmore Avenue a quarter of a mile and sit myself on a big rock, watching the traffic along 24th Street.  Many cars, trucks, and buses would go by but not stop. Finally, the bus would come with my Daddy and I would hold his hand all the way home.  One day, I looked at the clock wrong and went an hour early, waiting and waiting until I tearfully trudged home alone.  When my Daddy finally arrived home, he wondered where I was that day, and I told him the sad story of my waiting. I didn’t meet him so often after that.  

I wonder, do we do the same thing with our prayers?  Are we at the bus stop expecting answers too soon? Then, when the answers don’t come in our timing, we don’t meet with Jesus so often anymore?  

In the book of Daniel, we get a glimpse into what is happening while we are waiting on God.  We might think the prayer-mail delivery service is slow this time of year, that FedEx is having a tough time keeping up with the prayer packages delivered to Heaven’s Throne room, often out late at night delivering prayers. 

But we can be assured that our prayers are not delayed! For the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).  And God hears our every prayer (John 9:31).  So what is the delay?  In Daniel 10 we read how angels were dispatched to help Daniel the moment he started praying. But the enemy’s angels prevented help from arriving for three weeks! Up in the heavens, where we can’t even see, angels are fighting battles for us that we don’t even know, all because of our prayers (Ephesians 6:12).  

…“Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me… Daniel 10:12-13 (NKJV)

What are you waiting for today? Today, I wait for healing for my granddaughter, for healing for our nation and an end to Covid19 and cancer, for healing for church friends, for dear ones to give their hearts to Jesus,  and especially for Jesus to come again!

You know who else is waiting? God!  You remember the story of the prodigal son?  Just as the father waited expectantly for the prodigal son to return, God waits expectantly for us.  Jesus can’t come until the last person written in His Book of Life believes in Him.  Perhaps you are the one to tell that person!

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Daniel’s prayers in Daniel 10.  Keep praying and waiting, my friends.  God is sending answers!  And as Christmas approaches, remember the Answer He sent to a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.  

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  1 John 4:14 (NKJV)

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:9 (NKJV)

Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NKJV)

...that there should be delay no longer… Revelation 10:6 (NKJV)

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