Remember the Cross

Today I rerun another favorite Christmas devotion for you from December 2017.  Merry Christmas, dear TEA CUPP ladies!

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)

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham tells the story of a crusade at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in 1953.  After a night of preaching, his friend John Bolton took a walk with Billy and commented, “Billy, you didn’t speak about the Cross.”

Rev. Graham’s friend went on to say, “How can anyone be converted without having at least one single view of the Cross where the Lord died for us?  You must preach about the Cross, Billy. You must preach about the blood that was shed for us there.  There is no other power than when we talk or preach about the Cross.” (Graham, 1997)

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, I exhort you to remember the Cross!  When you look at your tree, decorated with tinsel and lights, remember the tree that held our Savior Jesus, as He gave His precious life for us.

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. Philippians 2:8 (NKJV)

As you give presents to family and friends, remember the Greatest Gift ever given, when God gave His only Son to us:

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. John 3:16 (NKJV)

As you toss out the wrapping paper and scrub the holiday dishes, remember how Jesus shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary, washing away the sins of all who believe in Him.

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)

And as you look upon the lights of Christmas, ooh-ing and awwh-ing at the displays in your town, remember to look to Jesus, the Light of the world, the author and finisher of our faith.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 2 and Luke 23. Remember today the Baby who came in a manger, God in the flesh,  born to a virgin, to save the whole world.  Remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He grew to be a Man, fully perfect, without blemish, the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.  And so He gave His life for ours on the Cross. When you look at the Cradle, remember the Cross of Christ this Christmas, my friend.

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

An uncommon Christmas carol…

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

(John Bowring, 1825)

Graham, B. (1997). Just As I Am. San Francisco: Harper Collins/Zondervan (p.243)

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

Christmas Gifts!

…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Hello, ladies! I know many of you are still looking for that perfect gift for a friend or family member or sister in Christ. If you’re seeking a gift with eternal significance that encourages ladies to read God’s Word, I have 3 My TEA CUPP ideas for you!

 

Good Morning, Jesus, Prayer Journal ($20 suggested gift)

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.  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.  

My TEA CUPP Prayers ($15 suggested gift)

YOU are invited to TEA with Jesus TODAY!!!  “Come to Me,” Jesus calls in Matthew 11:28.  Please accept!  Allow God to draw you into a daily TEA time with Jesus through this 77-day devotional. My TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to women everywhere to sit down daily with Jesus for a cup of tea.  The TEA CUPP acronym provides the parts of prayers, as we use the BIBLE to talk with our Lord.  Here new Christians discover a way to draw nearer to Jesus and old Christians taste a fresh flavor for their prayers. Women will dig deeper into God’s Word, come closer to Jesus by meeting with Him each day, and unleash the power of the Holy Spirit through their prayers.

 

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers ($16 suggested gift)

What will you find when you open the pages of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers?  You will discover a 77-day devotional that takes moms gracefully into a daily TEA time with Jesus.  Every Sunday you will meet a new Bible mom who will introduce you to another part of prayer.  And during the week you will again be encouraged to read your Bible and pray for your family, as I share stories God has given me, including our miracle baby. The book also has a week of Christmas devotions which I hope will bless your Christmas season this year and in years to come.  They might be just the thing to read to your small group or family this Advent season. Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and your favorite morning mug.

You can order one item or bundle them together to make an extra special gift. Each one comes with a My TEA CUPP Prayers bookmark, and to those who request it, you can even receive a M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. Because I hope to get these into the hands of many ladies, I’m offering free shipping for the rest of December.

We aren’t set up for credit cards, so if you could please snail-mail a check to My TEA CUPP Prayers, PO Box 1003, Big Timber, MT 59011, that will work well. You can also text me here. Please include a short note with your mailing address, phone number in case I have questions, and what items you would like sent.

Thank you for considering these My TEA CUPP items for your Christmas gift-giving. Here are some Christmas devotions to bless your day until your books arrive. He Comes with Presents is a good one :-). Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers! Merry Christmas! Jesus is coming soon!!!

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)

But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Where is He?

Blessed Advent to you, dear TEA ladies. Today I share a post from three years ago, which seems so appropriate for the present time.  This devotion will also be included in my new book, More TEA CUPP Prayers, coming Spring 2022, God-willing. Thank you for your prayers!

…“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 (NKJV)

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” the wise men queried. “Where is He?”  The wise men weren’t call wise for nothing!  They asked the very question we should all ask ourselves every day, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?”  (Matthew 2:2). Have we searched for Him with all our hearts? Have we followed His star to the ends of the earth to find Him? Have we worshiped the One who is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise? Or, have we tried to snuff Him out like the evil King Herod?

Where is Jesus in our lives?  Is He lost under the wrapping paper and tinsel?  Stuffed behind the Christmas tree?  Buried under smart phones and social media and busyness?  Hidden behind a flurry of holiday activities, and activities all year long, for that matter? Is Jesus lost beneath some long-held bitterness that we won’t let go?

Perhaps you yourself are crying out to God this very moment because a loved one has died or there is great turmoil in your life.  You are asking, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).  And, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). And, “Jesus, if you had been here, my loved one would not have died.” (John 11:21)

Dear Friend, I assure you, God is here.  The King of the Jews is with you.  Jesus is weeping with you (John 11:25). He wants to hold you in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27) and to dry all your tears (Revelations 7:17) and comfort you.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)

People have been searching for Jesus since before He was born to this day. Remember when Jesus was twelve years old and His parents frantically searched for Him in Jerusalem, relieved to find Jesus after three days at the Temple teaching? (Luke 2:41-50). And after He died, how three days later, Mary Magdalene cried to the Man she supposed to be the gardener“Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (John 20:15)Even now, for those who still seek Him, there is always Someone to point the way, just as the angel answered Mary Magdalene…

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the Christmas story in Matthew 1:18-2:12. Answer this question in your life today, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?” Is He hiding behind past hurts and busyness? Bring Jesus to the front.  Seek Him with all your heart.  Read your Bible each day and talk to Him in prayer.  Let Him be your peace and comfort. Worship Him with all your heart. Be one of the wise ladies!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart! 
Psalm 119:2 (NKJV)

With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Psalm 119:10 (NKJV)

Wise men and ladies still seek Him!

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please check out some of my other Christmas writingsMy Christmas Revelation Tea, and My Heart Inn.

This devotion first ran on my website on December 23, 2018…before Covid, before mandates, before vaccines… may it bless you today, December 10, 2021. 

The Well of Bethlehem

And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!”  1 Chronicles 11:17 (NKJV)

1 Chronicles is an unusual place to begin the Christmas story, yet here we are for that “Little Town of Bethlehem” of which the carolers sing is found in this Scripture.  David and his army had just conquered and reclaimed Jerusalem, but the Philistines still occupied Bethlehem.  David was yearning with a wistful longing for a drink from the well by the gate of Bethlehem.  How did David know such a well was there? He lived there! His family, all the way back to his great-great-grandfather Boaz lived there (Ruth 2:4).  When David was young, he watched his father’s sheep in Bethlehem and it was there that Samuel had anointed David as king (1 Samuel 16:1).  No wonder David was sentimental about the well. Some of his men overheard his desire, risked their lives, broke into the enemy camp, and returned with the water.  Now we think David would have taken a big drink and passed it around to share with his warriors. But what he did instead surprises us… he poured it out on the ground!  

So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 11:18 (NKJV)

This well was located by the same Bethlehem of which the prophet Micah foretold (Micah 5:2) and of which Luke spoke in the famous Christmas story (Luke 2:4-5), the birthplace of our Savior. This year, when you hear and read these passages, do more than nod the head, enjoying the familiar words washing over you in a sentimental way. Put yourself in that time in history and experience this real place called Bethlehem, a real town first mentioned in our Bibles in Genesis 35:19. There, Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel was buried after dying from the birth of Benjamin. Do you think Mary, in her very pregnant state, thought of Rachel while enduring the trip to Bethlehem, perhaps wondering if the same fate was in store for her?  

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 (NKJV) 

Ponder that poor young couple, Joseph and pregnant Mary, on their journey to Bethlehem, awaiting the arrival of Jesus, the Savior of the all who will believe in His name. Think of that long, tedious trek (have you ever ridden a horse or bicycle when very pregnant and the baby’s head already wants to push its way out? Very painful indeed! Even walking can bring on labor).  Mary’s distress and extended belly foretell of our pregnant world, swollen with plagues and sin and despair, painfully riding our donkeys from day to day, waiting, watching, longing, desiring, yearning, hastening, welcoming the triumphant return of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”  John 7:42 (NKJV)

Now, Jesus is that Well of Bethlehem and His water is sweeter than that for which David longed.  His water is purer, cleaner and greater than anything this world can offer. Come ye, O come ye, my dear TEA CUPP ladies, to Bethlehem.  Drink of Jesus’ water and pour it out for others. Like the shepherds, Come to Bethlehem and see, Him whose birth the angels sing. Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the new born King*. 

Oh, holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel. (Phillips Brooks, 1868)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 1-2 this week. We who have tasted the Well of Bethlehem, the Living Water, are called to pour it out for others before the Lord.  Pour out your heart to Him in prayer for the lost. Pour out your testimony and love of Jesus to those you see each day. And, if God is calling you, answer His call to missions, pouring out your life for Jesus, hearing the cries of the thirsty around the world who are calling, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem.” 

…“Give us water, that we may drink.”… Exodus 17:2 (NKJV)

…Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7 (NKJV)

And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  1 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.  Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NKJV)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (NKJV)

 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Luke 2:15 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please check out To You and The Best Water.  God bless your Advent and Christmas season, dear one!

O come ye to Bethlehem**

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

*Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High, verse 3, traditional French carol.  

**Latin hymn O Come, All Ye Faithful, sung by Hillsong, John F. Wade, 1751

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

With prayers for the December 1, 2021 hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, which could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I prayerfully share this Christmas devotion with you again.  Remember, every baby is a miracle from God deserving life.  These two special Christmas babies are examples of such precious ones.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

If anyone doubts that life begins at conception, she must read the Christmas story. For in Luke 1, two incredible ladies learn they are miraculously pregnant. First Elizabeth in her old age conceives the baby John the Baptist.  Half a year later, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary conceives the baby Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Soon after Mary hears of her calling, she goes with haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is already six months pregnant. As Mary enters Elizabeth’s house, the baby John inside of Elizabeth leaps for joy!  He is so excited that His Savior, the baby Jesus inside of Mary, has entered the room.  Both babies are very much alive, yet still inside their mothers, growing and waiting to be born.  Life does not begin at birth, it begins at conception when God starts knitting this precious person.

For You created my inmost being;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

Even the great Bible prophets and teachers knew this.  Jeremiah from the Old Testament proclaimed…

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

And the Apostle Paul from the New Testament related…

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace. Galatians 1:15 (NKJV)

So why is there all this confusion about when life begins? Because the enemy aims to confuse us and to make us doubt and even to kill.  Like the Herods of Jesus’ day, there are still Herods today who want to destroy babies while Rachel still weeps for her children (Matthew 2:16-18). But we have a Savior who makes it clear in His word.  He tells us to choose LIFE (Deut. 30:19).  And for those who have made wrong choices, and for all of us sinners, Jesus offers His forgiveness and promise of eternal life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the Christmas story in Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Luke 1-2.  See how God blessed the whole world through these babies.  None of us knows the amazing plans God has for our little ones.  Choose life! 

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

Please join me in praying for babies in America and around the world to be saved.  Also, pray for special blessings on foster parents and adoptive parents.  Do something special for one of these families this Christmas.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:15-16 (NKJV)

“Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” Luke 9:48 (NKJV)

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

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

 

 

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)

…wait on your God continually. Hosea 12:6 (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 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)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13 (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)

 Wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.  Psalm 130:5-6 (NKJV)

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Luke 12:40 (NKJV)

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  James 5:7-8 (NKJV)

Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.  1 Chronicles 16:33 (NKJV)

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

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

Jesus is Coming Soon!

…“Where is the promise of His coming? 2 Peter 3:4 (NKJV)

“Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!”  the children cry!

“Are you ready for Christmas?” the friendly neighbors inquire.

“Only 16 more shopping days!” the store windows (and Facebook ads) proclaim.

Everywhere we see reminders that Christmas is just around the corner and we must hurry to be ready. But even more important than the arrival of Christmas is the return of this holiday’s namesake, Jesus the Christ is coming back to earth! 

For over 400 years, God’s people waited for the first arrival of their promised Savior, Jesus Christ. When He came as a baby in a manger bed, only a few special people recognized Him for who He was, after waiting so long…Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wisemen, Simeon, and Anna.  Will we recognize Jesus when He comes the second time?  

You probably know the story very well…A Baby was born that first Christmas to a virgin whose name was Mary.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, coming humbly, not to a palace but to a stable.  This same Baby Jesus grew up without sin, helping His earthly dad Joseph as a carpenter.  But when He turned 30, His ministry began…healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, teaching the people about His Father, God.  Then just three years later, this same Jesus gave His life for us on the cross.  He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him, but He did not, because He loved us and wanted to die for our sins.  Then on the third day, He arose from the grave, conquering sin and death forever for all who believe in His Name.  Forty days later He ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead.  When He comes the second time, it won’t be as a baby in a manger seen only by a few, it will be as a Mighty King on a white horse, coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him and every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!  (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-35, Luke 2:7, Matthew 13:55, Luke 3:23, Luke 7:22-23, Matthew 26:53, John 3:16-17, Luke 24:1-7, Luke 24:50-53, Philippians 2:9-11, Revelation 19:11).  

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)

So, this time of year and all year round, instead of children crying, “Christmas is coming,” we should be hearing…

“Jesus is coming!  Jesus is coming!  Hosanna!” the children cry!

“Is your heart ready for Jesus?” the caring neighbors inquire.

“We don’t know the day nor the hour, so be ready!” the church windows proclaim.

…For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98:9 (NKJV)

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Oh, precious one, beloved of God, prepare your heart for His coming, for He is coming soon.  Ask Jesus to be your Savior today. And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  1 John 2:28 (NKJV) He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord Zechariah 2:10 (NKJV)

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:13-14 (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)

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,

One day the skies with His glory will shine;

Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;

Glorious Savor, this Jesus is mine!  

Living, He loved me;

Dying, He saved me;

Buried, He carried my sins far away;

Rising, He justified freely forever:

One day He’s coming — O, glorious day!

(J. Wilber Chapman, 1910). 

Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

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

 

Claiming Christmas Promises

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. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends!  Today I have the gift of promises from God’s Word for you.  These promises all come from the Christmas story in our Bibles.  Consider each promise a present for you to unwrap today and always. No matter what your circumstances, you can claim these as your very own…

For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

…your prayer is heard Luke 1:13 (NKJV)

He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  Luke 1:15-16 (NKJV)

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 (NKJV)

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 (NKJV)

And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:33 (NKJV)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 (NKJV)

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

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Pour a pot of these precious Christmas promises today.  Pick your favorite and write it in your prayer journal, on a note card on your bathroom mirror, or in a Christmas card to a friend.  Claim this promise to carry you into the new year.  Tell Jesus all about it in your quiet time with Him today. Merry Christmas, dear TEA friend!

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

A Christmas TEA CUPP

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (NKJV)

December is upon us with holiday open houses, lighted parades, Santa gift exchanges and even a few Christmas teas. But what our hearts truly long for in this often chaotic, overwhelming, lonely, expensive, yet festive time of year, is the peace and calm of a simple CUPP of TEA with the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ.

So today I give you a Christmas TEA CUPP….Bible verses from the Christmas Story in God’s Word which you can use as conversation starters as you pray to Jesus this month. 

T is for Thanksgiving

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

E is for Exalting

And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:33 (NKJV)

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47 (NKJV)

Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David. Luke 1:68-69 (NKJV)

Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:35 (NKJV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word….Luke 1:38 (NKJV)

To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. Luke 1:74-75 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our stories

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 (NKJV)

For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel. Luke 2:30-32 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

for your prayer is heard...Luke 1:13

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Plan to spend a quiet moment with Jesus every morning, even on Christmas morning before the unwrapping of gifts.  Read the Christmas story in your Bible in Luke 1-2, underline your favorite verses. Borrow theses verses as you begin your prayers with Jesus.  Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends!

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