My Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casting All Your Burdens

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

The week after Thanksgiving I was suddenly overwhelmed with prayer needs.  Dear friends and acquaintances were all going through trials at the same time.  First, a young mom’s baby was born with her intestines outside her stomach; mamma and baby were both life-flighted to a hospital far away. Then the husband of one of my best friends was diagnosed with leukemia, then our local pastor had emergency gallbladder surgery, then a dear church friend had a hysterectomy, then another church member had a heart attack, then a 7.2 earthquake hit Alaska where my college roommate lives, then a community member loved by all was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer…the prayer needs were daunting for me, combined with all my usual prayers. I found myself fretting throughout the morning, worrying about each person and praying for them over and over again. In my unfruitful way, I was trying to carry out Galatians 6:2.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

But then I realized I should bear those burdens to the Lord, carrying them from my friends to Jesus.  Once I gave it to Jesus, I was supposed to let go, not take it back. I was carrying burdens I did not need to carry.  I got out my prayer journal and wrote 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”  And I wrote all the people for whom I’d been worrying.  I prayed for each one and gave them to Jesus.  I said, “Jesus, please carry these for me, it’s too much for me and You know just what to do.”  And Jesus took my load. He gave me His peace that He would take care of everyone. I still lift these dear ones up to Jesus each day, but I’m not fretting now.  Jesus has them covered.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Write 1 Peter 5:7 in your prayer journal today.  Below the verse list people you’ve been worrying about, one name per line. Then go back and write a short prayer for each one by their names.  Thank Jesus for carrying these dear ones for you!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

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

Turn and Live

…“Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:32 (NKJV)

One of the toughest parts of My TEA CUPP Prayers might be the letter “A” for Admitting our sins.  It can be hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong, said the wrong words, done the wrong thing, broken one of God’s commandments, and fallen short of the glory of God.  It can be especially hard to even admit we need forgiveness, but we do.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  We’re all in need of the forgiveness that only Jesus can provide.

Yet there is Good News! Though admitting our sins is tough, we are cleansed, our burden is lifted, and we have joy and peace again.  Jesus bore our sins for us on the cross at Calvary so long ago.  When we believe in Him, He washes away all our sins and makes us His child.  Isn’t that Good News?!  So, today, if you’ve been skipping this part of your TEA time with Jesus, I urge you to turn and live!

Turn from your sins, admit them to Jesus, repent and live a new life, walking with Jesus. This sin stuff is not new, it’s as old as Adam and Eve and the serpent.  God’s people, the Israelites, fell into it often. God’s Old Testament prophets warned the people, as did Ezekiel:

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV)

Are you ready to turn and live?  How can you do it?  James tells us so well in his New Testament book.  James says…

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10 (NKJV)

Did you hear James’ points? 1) Submit to God. 2) Resist the devil. 3) Draw near to God (having TEA with Jesus each day is a great way to do this!). 4) Cleanse and purify your heart (by admitting your sins, weeping, and asking Jesus’ forgiveness). 5) Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.

And did you see Jame’s promises?  1) The devil will flee from you. 2) God will draw near to you. 3) And God will lift you up!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Turn and Live!  Dearest TEA CUPP Friend, whether you are a new believer, old believer, or a seeker, there is always something to admit to Jesus.  Give Jesus that last sin you’ve been hanging onto, let Him wash it away and give you a new clean heart.  Turn and Live!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:32 (NKJV)

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

When Mary had TEA with Jesus

mary and marthaBut one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42 (NKJV)

Do you remember the time Mary had TEA with Jesus? Mary, Martha and Lazarus were all siblings and good friends of Jesus.  One day Jesus came to their house for a visit.  Mary was content to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to all He had to say, soaking up His every Word.  But Martha was busy trying to get their tea, distracted by much serving.  In fact, though Martha had a dear servant’s heart, she was grumpy that Mary wasn’t helping her.  I know how she felt, because that’s happened to me before.

Let’s look at the whole story:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: We can learn from both sisters. Mary was sipping the very Word of the Lord, while Martha was preparing their earthly tea.  We spend time with Jesus so we are ready to serve. Let’s be Mary early every morning, so we can be Martha the rest of the day. Choose the good part that won’t be taken away from you!

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

TEA with the Romans

RomansYou just received an invitation to TEA with the Romans!  

Who: You

When: Tomorrow morning

Where: Your house

What:  TEA with Jesus and the Romans

Come as you are!

But you just aren’t sure, do you really want to have TEA with these ancient dudes in white sheets?  The Romans are the ones the Apostle Paul was writing to when he penned the New Testament Book of Romans.  All the words in this book are God’s Word, read first by the Roman Christians.  What a blessing for us to share in these inspired verses, using them as conversation starters as we have TEA and prayer with Jesus.  Won’t you join in?

T is for Thanksgiving
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8 (NKJV)

I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25 (NKJV)


E is for Exalting
Oh, the depth of the riches both of  the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33 (NKJV)

 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36 (NKJV)

To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. Romans 16:27 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23(NKJV)

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14(NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

C is for Call
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. Romans 12:12 (NKJV)

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, Romans 1:9 (NKJV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

P is for Promises
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)

 For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

…The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:20 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Wrap up in a white sheet if you like!  Sit down with Jesus and the Romans for TEA today!

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

Every Perfect Gift

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

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

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

T is for Thanksgiving

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

E is for Exalting

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

A is for Admitting

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

C is for Call 

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

U is for Understanding

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

P is for Promises

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

P is for Petitions

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

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

 

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

 

Tea Time with Jeremiah

tea cup for bookmark - no pink!-blankMy Tea Cupp Prayers is all about using God’s Word as a conversation starter as you sit down with Jesus for a cup of tea and prayer.  My favorite verses come from the Psalms, but there are great verses throughout the Bible which I also love.  Jeremiah offers some of the most heart-felt verses.

If we think we are going through tough times, we should look at Jeremiah. According to John MacArthur in his study Bible (page 1059), “Jeremiah has been known as the ‘weeping prophet,’  living a life of conflict because of his predictions of judgment by the invading Babylonians.  He was threatened, tried for his life, put in stocks, forced to flee from Jehoiakim, publicly humiliated by a false prophet, and thrown into a pit.”

Here is a fellow who knew pain and suffering, yet had a dedication to God’s calling on his life.  This is a prophet we can trust with words for talking with God.  And so I picked out a few verses for you today.  Perhaps you will discover even more as you read Jeremiah.  Have a blessed TEA TIME with Jeremiah and Jesus!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Try these verses from Jeremiah as conversation starters for your prayer time today.

 T for Thanks: 

Praise the Lord of hosts,
For the Lord is good,
For His mercy endures forever. Jeremiah 33:11 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. Jeremiah 32:17 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.  Jeremiah 31:34 (NKJV)

C for Call:

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls…”  Jeremiah 6:16 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

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

P is for Promises:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

Extra verses for wives to pray for their husbands:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV)

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

Quote from The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997, Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Faithful Fall Fruits

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)

It took all summer.  In September our garden finally started producing vegetables…zucchini, tomatoes, onions, carrots, pumpkins, and one cucumber!  Now we can delight in the fruits of our labor with zucchini cookies and muffins, chili with tomatoes and onions, fresh carrots in our lunches, and soon…pumpkin pie!

But could we enjoy these fruits in May when we were preparing the soil, or in June when we first planted them?  No.  Could we savor this produce in July when the weather finally got warm, or in August when it was really hot?  No, our plants were too slow.  When are we appreciating these fruits?  In the fall when the growing season is over.

It reminds me of the time I prayed over this verse from Galatians 5:22-23.  Each month I asked God to nurture a new fruit in me…love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Each month I waited for results, but couldn’t see any.  I shouldn’t have been discouraged, though.  Like our garden vegetables, the fruit of the Spirit may take all summer.

In the fall of my life the fruits may be ready to pick.  Perhaps along the way friends will see a bud of hope here and there. But by fall I will finally shine with Jesus’ love to others, sharing the joy and peace He gives me.  I will be patient and kind, good and faithful, gentle, and always under control.  Until then, I need to be patient with myself (and pray others will be patient, too), waiting for the fall fruits Jesus will bring in me.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

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

Tea Cupp Measuring Spoons

tea cupp measures Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.  Luke 6:38  (NKJV)

My dear friend Jodi gave me these measuring spoons a few years ago.  Aren’t they neat decorated with tea cups?  I use them often for measuring and baking.

The other day I was looking at these spoons again and recalled a devotion I heard at Awana  a long time ago.

Awana is a children’s Bible program that meets weekly to bring boys and girls to Christ.  It’s name comes from 2 Timothy 2:15 – Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed.  The children play games, memorized Bible verses, and have a council time each week.  (To find an Awana near you, check their website: http://www.awana.org/

Once when our older children were still in Awana, I came early to pick them up and heard the council time devotion.  The pastor had several spoons and shovels and a bag of M&Ms.  I can’t remember exactly how he worded it, but the point was, which size spoon or shovel would you like to be given M&Ms?  THE BIGGEST ONE, of course!

Well, that is the size shovel we should be using to give to others, also.  We shouldn’t give because we expect blessings in return.  But we should give because we are so full of God’s love we want to share it with others. AND we should use the BIGGEST shovel we have!

Bakers know that when you measure flour, you scoop it gently and level it with a knife, never pressing it down.  But when you measure brown sugar, you pack it into the measuring cup, pressing firmly to get as much sugar as possible.  That is how this verse from Luke tells us to measure what we give others — pack it down and give as much as we can!  AND God promises we will be blessed!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What size spoon are you using to share with others? Let’s all try to use a bigger spoon today!

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

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

The Lion’s Den

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Daniel 6:16 (NIV)

Has your husband ever been thrown into the Lion’s Den?  Every few months, my husband has to attend a Lion’s Den called board meetings.  They are even worse than the seven overflowing toilets he battled  in the girls’ dorm last week.  From the very first meeting in camping ministry, board meetings have always been one of the thorns in the flesh of our work.  My husband has found these to be the most discouraging and disparaging parts of his ministry, with board members shouting and making rash decisions, without a clear understanding of the day-to-day operations of the camp.  So for me, sending my husband off to a board meeting, is like sending him into the Lion’s Den.  I never know if he will come back alive.  Does your husband have something like this that he has to face every so often?  If so, I want to encourage you to pray with me.

Today is July 10, 2010 and at this very moment my husband is at a camp board meeting.  As I look back in my prayer notes, I can see the dozens of times we have prayed as he went to the Lion’s Den.  On January 19, 2002, he had one of these same meetings.  On that day in My One Year Bible, I underlined all the verses I could pray for my husband as he endured this trial.  God provided these verses for me that day:

The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered. Genesis 39:2 (NIV)

O Jesus, be with Kent and help him prosper.

Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Matthew 13:12 (NIV)

O Lord, give an abundance for all the needs of this camping ministry.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:23 (NIV)

O God, help Kent produce a crop 100 times what he has sown!

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
hide me in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

Keep Kent as the apple of Your eye.  Hide my husband in the shadow of Your wings (away from the mouths of the lions).

The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but He blesses the home of the righteous.
Proverbs 3:33 (NIV)

O Jesus, bless our home and family.

Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend,  please pray for your husband. Use God’s Word to help you pray.  Underline verses in your Bible and write in a prayer journal, so you can look back and see how God is faithful and hears your prayers.  An angel will close the lion’s mouth and your marriage will be blessed.

My God sent His angel, and He shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Daniel 6:22 (NIV)

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