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

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)

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.

Thanksgiving with Kennedy

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.  Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV)

Many of you know that last winter our then three-year-old granddaughter Kennedy was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma cancer.  She began chemo on February 1 of this year and it has been quite a long journey.  Kennedy is most certainly one who has dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, and on her God’s light has shined.

Last week we had the joy of spending Thanksgiving with Kennedy and her family.  I thought I’d share a few pictures this week as a way of bringing you up-to-date on Kennedy, and thanking all of you who have been praying this whole year! God bless you all!

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1 (NKJV)
Is there no balm in Gilead,
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?  Jeremiah 8:22 (NKJV)

Oh, how many times have we cried out this prayer to God?  Earlier this fall, Kennedy was very sick in the hospital. Yet we know there is a Great Physician named Jesus who is healing Kennedy day by day.  Kennedy recently began her maintenance chemo which includes a week of treatment at the beginning of each month for two years.  She enjoys the time-off between treatments. Jesus is bringing health to the daughter of our people!

As you can see, Kennedy is looking much better as she serves three monkeys their Thanksgiving dinner.

And their message will spread like cancer… 2 Timothy 2:17 (NKJV)

Does it seem like cancer is everywhere today, like it’s a new thing?  I was interested to find this verse in 2 Timothy about the false messages being spread like cancer, so they had it way back in Bible times, too.  We don’t like cancer or false messengers!  We love Jesus and healing through Him!

“For I will restore health to you
And heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord… Jeremiah 30:17 (NKJV)

This is the promise we claim for Kennedy, as we go for walks, as we read stories, as she plays…Jesus will restore health to her! The little girl who once sat in the corner of the sofa, propped up by pillows, unable to walk, is now running, playing, and turning somersaults! Praise Jesus!

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1 (NKJV)

I thank Jesus for being able to visit Kennedy five times this year (even in a year full of coronavirus and closures), and every time we had safe travels and stayed healthy. God is so good.  I’m thankful for each of you who prayed and for her strong family in Wisconsin. I’m especially thankful for our Thanksgiving together where Kennedy opened our meal in prayer.

I will praise the name of God with a song,
And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  I can’t thank you enough for being faithful prayer warriors, dear friends.  Keep praying. Keep praying for your loved ones in your family and community and the USA. God hears your every prayer.

...I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you… 2 Kings 20:5 (NKJV)

Thank you for reading My TEA CUPP Prayers!  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read, Prayer Works!, Well, I’m sure praying!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Intercessor

…by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.  Romans 5:19 (NKJV)

My TEA friends, you must read this book!  My pastor mentioned Rees Howells Intercessor, The Story of a Life Lived for God by Norman Grubb in a sermon over a year ago.  I put it on my birthday list and my daughter gave it to me for my birthday last year (Thank you, Kallie!!!). Then it sat beside my bed in the stack of books I hoped to read.  Finally, this year I started reading it and couldn’t put it down for the work of God in this man’s life.  You want to read this book NOW. You want to join in this amazing work of prayer witnessed in Rees Howells’ life.  

Where many books climax in the middle and you “get the idea,” Intercessor climaxes in the final chapters as Mr. Howells and his praying colleagues intercede for battle upon battle of World War II and the downfall of Nazi Germany.  You will be on the edge of your seat as you read, or on your face in praise and tears to God, Who alone could bring about such great victories.

What makes Intercessor so relevant now is our need for prayer in this fallen world.  This year with COVID19, forest fires, hurricanes, derecho winds, and riots, God is sending us a message.  God is shouting, “Turn to Me!”  And in Intercessor, that’s what Rees Howells did time and again.  

One hundred years ago there was an outbreak much like COVID19.  Following World War I, there was a great influenza epidemic which spread over the world, causing millions of deaths. At the time, Mr. Howells and his wife were serving as missionaries in southern Africa.  The Holy Spirit had led Mr. Howells to challenge death many times before, and God called him to do it again.  After many of the natives died, the chief came to Mr. Howells and asked if any had died on the mission station.  “No. Not one will die on the mission station,” the Holy Spirit told him to reply, “The witch doctors have failed and the ancestral spirits have failed — but our God has not failed.” (Grubb, p. 212).    So the tribe members came to the mission station. Though many were sick and Mr. Howells turned the chapel into a hospital and cared for them for months, God healed them all and no one died! God had the victory!

While reading Intercessor, I’ve witnessed how the Holy Spirit is not a mailman delivering my prayers to the God.  Mr. Howells shows us it’s the other way around. The Holy Spirit says the prayers and we are the vessels to deliver them to the Father.  Knowing our prayers are God’s will, direct from the Holy Spirit, we don’t let the enemy cause us to doubt, for then we are like a wave tossed on the sea (James 1:6). The Holy Spirit tells us for whom to intercede, and in obedience we lift these prayers to the Lord until victory is won.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Find a copy of Rees Howells Intercessor today.  Use his model of prayer in your own life.  Let the Holy Spirit show you how to pray and win every battle on your knees.  We can do this because both the Spirit (Romans 8:26) and Jesus (Romans 8:24) are making intercession for us. Our country needs your prayers, dear friend.  Keep praying for the USA. 

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (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)

P.S. Please keep praying for THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting every Tuesday, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever. 

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

Grubb, Norman (1952). Rees Howells Intercessor, The Story of a Life Lived for God. Fort Washington, PA:  CLC Publications. 

Return to Jesus

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV)

Dear Friends, God has put something heavy upon my heart to share with you.  As Christians, we are called to be His ambassadors, taking the Good News of His salvation to the lost.  I plead with you, I implore you, be reconciled to God through the saving work of His Son Jesus who died for your sins.  

We live in a broken world, the evidence is all around us…aborting babies, riots, evil being called good, good being called evil, plagues, hurricanes, forest fires… the list goes on.  When God first created the world it was good, but then satan the snake tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Eve shared it with Adam and our world hasn’t been the same since. God had to kick Adam and Eve out of His perfect garden and lock the gate because of their sin.

But God made a way to make things right again.  As the prophets foretold, He sent His only Son Jesus, who never sinned, to take on the sin of all the world.  Jesus died a very painful death, bearing all those sins because He loves us.  But that’s not the end of the story.  On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death forever and opening to all who believe in Him the gates of heaven and eternal life.  My friends, this is a free gift that we must accept NOW.  Now is the acceptable time, today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).

Return to Jesus with all your heart and soul and might.  Ask for His forgiveness. Accept His free gift of salvation.  Fill your heart with His Holy Spirit and Word by reading your Bible every day.  Tell others about Jesus, being an ambassador for Him.

There is a movement called The Return which I want you to check out.  Dedicated Christians have been planning this event for months. Though it may be smaller because of the COVID19 restrictions, our prayers can be BIGGER because we serve an awesome God who can do amazingly more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).  The event runs September 18-28, with September 26 being the big day, but our prayers can continue 40 days to the election and even beyond.  Please check out the link above and invite others to join us in prayer for our nation.

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

…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

P.S. Please keep praying for THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting every Tuesday, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever. 

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

Of Course, There’s a Plague!

We have sinned with our fathers,
We have committed iniquity,
We have done wickedly. Psalm 106:6 (NKJV)

Oh, what a year!  People will always remember 2020 as the year of COVID19, the coronavirus, quarantines, masks, closures… although we won’t want to remember it because of all the deaths, fear, loneliness, rules, and missed events.  We all wonder why this had to happen.  Yet, when we search God’s Word we find so many relevant verses. 

Psalm 106 is one that speaks to our current situation, summing up our nation and world’s troubles, “We have sinned…we have committed iniquity…” (Ps. 106:6). Psalm 106 goes on to list all those sins from so long ago.  Can we see all these in our country today?…

  • We did not understand God’s wonders (Ps. 106:7)
  • We did not remember the multitude of God’s mercies (Ps. 106:7)
  • We rebelled (Ps. 106:7)
  • We forgot His works (Ps. 106:13)
  • We did not wait for His counsel (Ps. 106:13)
  • We lusted (Ps. 106:14)
  • We tested God (Ps. 106:14)
  • We envied our leaders (Ps. 106:16)
  • We made idols and worshiped them (Ps. 106:19)
  • We forgot God our Savior (Ps. 106:21)
  • We despised the pleasant land (Ps. 106:24)
  • We did not believe God’s Word (Ps. 106:24)
  • We joined ourselves to the devil (Ps. 106:28)
  • We rebelled against His Spirit (Ps. 106:33)
  • We did not destroy God’s enemies (Ps. 106:34)
  • We followed the way of unbelievers (Ps. 106:35)
  • We served our idols (Ps. 106:36)
  • We sacrificed our children (Ps. 106:37)
  • We shed innocent blood (Ps. 106:38)
  • We defiled ourselves and played the harlot (Ps. 106:39)

Is it no wonder the plague broke out among us?  (Ps. 106:29). What can we do?  We can intervene like Phinehas (Ps. 106:30) and stand in the breach like Moses (Ps. 106:23) so God’s wrath is turned away.  We must pray for our country, for our neighbors, for our families. Pray for God to send a revival across this land.  

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

There is HOPE, my dear friends.  We have the HOPE found in Jesus Christ.  Because of His saving work on the cross, all who believe in Him are rescued from this crazy world (John 3:16).  Jesus died for every sin listed above and for all the others, too.  Let’s pray for our nation to turn to Jesus! And God will hear our cries (Ps. 106:44)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read and pray Psalm 106. Repent, turn to God. Ask His forgiveness through Jesus Christ for yourself and for our country. Turn over a new leaf this fall. Let’s give everyone something NEW to remember about 2020…the year of REVIVAL! Pray for our nation daily. Forgive us, O Lord.  

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

May this be THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting for the next 7 Tuesdays, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever.  Check out this event happening in the coming days… https://thereturn.org/

Save us, O Lord our God,
And gather us from among the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!” Psalm 106:47-48 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  Psalm 106:1 (NKJV)

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

Walking Through the Valley

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

Our pastor gave a great sermon the other Sunday.  He explained how we have to go through the valley of the shadow of death to reach pure obedience.  We have to die to disobedience, die to corrupt hearts, die to sin, die to self, die to the flesh…give it all to Jesus and be raised to new life with Him. 

What doctors are doing to our granddaughter to take away her cancer is much like this sermon. They are hitting her hard with chemo and steroids, making her weak and weary. The drugs knock her out, tearfully bringing her again through the valley of the shadow of death.  But when the treatments end and Jesus has healed her, Kennedy will be raised to new life, running and playing like other little girls again. 

And then there is our country, trying to get well from the COVID19 of 2020.  We can’t do this on our own. We need God’s help and healing and intervention.  But in order to raise our country to new life, He must first take us through the valley of the shadow of death…death of loved ones, death of our sins, death of riots, death of killing babies, death of corrupt politics, death of selfishness and every other sin that surrounds us.  

I feared that the coronavirus would disappear before there was a revival. But now it looks like it is spiking again. Friends, God is giving us another chance.  He is calling to us: Repent! Turn to Jesus! Follow the Lord!   

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let’s all humbly examine our own hearts today.  Read God’s Word and seek His face.  Turn from every sin He shows us and pray to Jesus who gave His life for us on the cross.  Then He will hear, forgive and heal us.  Pray everyday for a revival across this land!

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)

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

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations. Psalm 82:8 (NKJV)

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

P.S. If you are inspired by today’s devotion, you might also enjoy reading Stripes Across our Nation.

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

Disqualified!

Today I continue my series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. I pray these will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON! Hope you are inspired as you exercise your faith!

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV)


I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my first big indoor track meet of my junior year of high school.  It was the first time I had qualified to run the Drake Indoor meet in Des Moines, Iowa.  I was so excited to run the race, though running distance runs on an indoor track can be tedious as you go around and around multiple times.  

It must have been a two mile race, because that was the longest distance for girls at the time.  The track was half the size of the outdoor track, making it 220 yards, or 200 meters.  Instead or running 8 times around the outdoor track, we would be running 16 times around the indoor track to make two miles (doesn’t sound so far if you’ve run the 5K or 10K on a track!).  

To make things easier on the judges, the race officials decided that if anyone was lapped, they would be knocked out of the race, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to monitor how many laps people had left to go.  With only a 200 meter track, that meant many girls could be lapped before the winner finished her two miles.  

The lead runner was so fast, it didn’t take her long to be 200 meters ahead of the pack. I was one of those girls who was lapped and disqualified from the race.  In tears I left the track, so sad to be out of the race I truly wanted to finish.  I was heartbroken, watching the other girls finish the race. The girl who lapped me was a star senior runner from Cedar Falls, Iowa, who only a few years later would become my friend and college teammate, pointing me to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Besides being lapped, there are many other ways an athlete may become disqualified… too many false starts, taking drugs, yelling at the line judges, etc.  But while in athletics we can try again the next year to follow all the rules of competition, in our spiritual lives we never want to be disqualified.  

If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. Psalm 94:18 (NKVJ)

What could disqualify us from receiving our crowns in heaven?  Not believing in Jesus (John 3:18).  Not allowing the Holy Spirit to do its perfect work in us (Mark 3:9, Luke 12:10).  Falling into temptation and lust and pride without repenting, when God has called us to serve Him (1 Peter 1:16).  Oh dear athlete, let us live our Christian lives even more carefully than we do as runners, that we may never be disqualified.

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:10 (NKJV)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (NKJV)

The Runner’s TEA CUPP: Have you been knocked out of the race?  Dear athlete, let Jesus pick you up!  He is coming again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42) Turn to Him for help while there is still time.  Confess your sins, let Him wash you clean and put you back on your feet.  Memorize 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Start running for Him again.

 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. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV)

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.  Job 5:17 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:11-12 (NKJV)

Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:7 (NKJV)

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

A Chronicles TEA

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!..
1 Chronicles 16:36 (NKJV)

When God allowed His people to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, David sang a beautiful song of praise to the Lord. These verses of David’s song and those in the story around it provide words we can use when we pray to Jesus.

As churches re-open following COVID-19 and people once again gather together to worship, we have as much to celebrate as the Israelites did so long ago. Let’s rock the heavens and earth with our worship and joy to the Lord!

T is for Thanksgiving

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:8 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
1 Chronicles 16:29 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order. 1 Chronicles 15:13 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
1 Chronicles 16:11 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, Lord, have become their God. 1 Chronicles 17:22 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

And now, Lord, you are God, and have promised this goodness to Your servant. 1 Chronicles 17:26 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.”
1 Chronicles 16:35 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 as one beautiful prayer to God. Finally, dear sisters, finish your prayer time today with this Psalm of praise from 1 Chronicles 16:31…

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
1 Chronicles 16:31 (NKJV)

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

God bless Paul Baloche for his beautiful music to praise Jesus!