Esther’s Great Calling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”  Acts 18:9-10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

p.s.  Don’t get the vaccine.  For you are the temple of the Living God (2 Cor. 6:16).  Jesus is the cure for America. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” If you would like to research the current shots being offered to the public and other life news, here are a few links…

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

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

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/vaers-covid-vaccine-injury-reports-increase/?itm_term=home

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

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

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

https://vaccinedeaths.com/

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

https://cogforlife.org/guidance/

https://www.40daysforlife.com/

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

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

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

10 Years Under The Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shining in the Darkness

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

As the days grew shorter in the latter part of summer, I had a more difficult time squeezing in my running workouts before breakfast on the long-run days.  One Sunday my workout said to run 24 miles, as I was training for my first marathon.  In order to get in such a long run and still make it to the second church service, I needed to leave at 5 a.m. Setting my alarm for 3 a.m. I got up to have my TEA time with Jesus.  But by 5 a.m. it was still dark out, so I took a flashlight and put bear bells on my ponytail.  The big flashlight was a little cumbersome as I made my way down the highway in the last hour before dawn, but I was thankful for the light, pushing aside the darkness, pointing out any stumbling blocks, and shining into the distance to alert possible travelers. 

And I started to think, “Hmm…this would make a good devotion,” as I often do when I’m running and praying.  My flashlight was lighting the highway just as God’s Word lights the path we should take.  We have to get into His Word and read our Bibles every day so we can have this light.  Jesus is the light who came into the world and now His Spirit lives inside us. 

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

Now as the autumn days grow even shorter, I have the same trouble I had in August, trying to squeeze in just a short run before breakfast.  It is still dark at 7:30 a.m. So once again, I pull out my flashlight and shine it into the darkness.  But soon I will have to give up the outside runs to darkness and snow, visiting the gym where I hope I can shine for Jesus, too. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

Another day I was having my quiet time and God showed me this verse…

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)

The funny thing was that when I was reading this verse, our power was out and I had only a little flashlight to illuminate my Bible.  I think of how one single candle and many mirrors could light up a room.  Help me be that candle or mirror and reflect your light to a world in darkness.  Thank you for shining Your light into my darkness.  Keep shining Jesus!  Keep me shining!

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear TEA friend, use your quiet time this morning to recharge your batteries.  Read your Bible. Let God’s Word kindle that spark in your heart, shining out through your eyes and smile and hands and actions to a world that so desperately needs the light of Jesus.

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

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalm 18:28 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like A Runner’s TEA CUPP and My Light TEA, Or today’s devotion from Our Daily Bread which I just noticed is on the same theme with another powerful story.

 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 (NKJV)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 (NKJV)

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

On our Knees

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  Psalm 95:6 (NKJV)

Eighteen years ago today, September 11, 2001, the lives of Americans, as well as citizens of the world, were changed forever.  For on this day terrorists chose to take innocent lives, countless courageous citizens gave of themselves, and our nation was brought to its knees for a time. 

What happened?  Why aren’t we still on our knees?  Some articles say church attendance increased for only a few weeks after 9/11, continuing a trend for decades of declining participation.  Yet other articles say at the very heart of the tragedy, Evangelical churches sprouted and have flourished.  Why aren’t we all still on our knees?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over the threat of the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees over babies dying?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for unsaved family and friends?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for lost youth?

Why aren’t we still on our knees for our pastors and missionaries who give of themselves every day and need protection from the enemy?

Why aren’t we still on our knees?

I remember the first time I saw someone on their knees in prayer.  It was my Grandma Margaret Applequist.  Grandma was visiting us for a few weeks and was sleeping in the bedroom belonging to my sister and me.  We were sleeping in the basement to give Grandma some peace and privacy.  But I caught a cold, so they put me back upstairs in the extra bed in my own room.  A few hours after going to sleep I awoke.  A small crack of light coming from the hallway shone on my Grandma, kneeling by her bed in prayer.  What an impact that picture made on a sick, young girl’s heart.  I wanted to be like Grandma!

And yet, when I have My TEA CUPP Prayers, I sit curled on the sofa; when we pray at meals, I’m sitting at the table; when I say good-night prayers with my kids, I’m sitting on the edge of their beds, or standing by their bunks…when am I on my knees?  Though I know He hears all those prayers, God really started impressing these kneeling prayers upon my heart, so I asked Him to show me in Scripture where it says I should be on my knees, and guess what, He did!

he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God… Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow... Philippians 2:10 (NKJV)

But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed…. Acts 9:40 (NKJV)

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Acts 20:36 (NKJV)

…And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.  Acts 21:5 (NKJV)

and fell down and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:11 (NKJV)

And so, now, every evening, when my husband and I say our goodnight prayers, instead of lying in bed with one of us dozing off, we are on our knees beside the bed, pouring our hearts out to the Lord.

We hear of faithful Christians like Reverend Billy Graham wearing out the toes of their shoes or the knees of their pants because they knelt so often in prayer.  My friends, we need to do the same!  Wear out your knees for your family! Wear out your toes for your neighbors. Wear out the rug next to your bed for your country.  Let’s get on our knees and pray!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  While researching this devotion I came across another great devotion you might enjoy by Dr. David Jeremiah.  And also this one about Reverend Billy Graham.  Let’s follow their godly examples. “Do it again, Lord, do it again!”

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Ephesians 3:14 (NKJV)

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!  Fanny Crosby, 1875

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

Bible Mom: Samson’s Mom’s Calling

…but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)

God calls us to do so many things as moms. We are called to respect our husbands. We are called to bring up our children in the training and admonition of the Lord. We are called to take care of our homes. But I don’t know if any of us have had a calling quite like Samson’s mom.

First let’s look up these callings for us all:

  • …and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (NKJV)
  • Train up a child in the way he should go,
    And when he is old he will not depart from it.
    Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
  • She watches over the ways of her household,
    And does not eat the bread of idleness.
    Proverbs 31:27 (NKJV)

Next let’s discover the story of Samson’s mom in Judges 13. An Angel of the Lord visited a lady from the tribe of Dan and declared to her:

“…Please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” Judges 13:4-5

Did you catch that bonus list for Samson’s mom?

  • Don’t drink wine or similar drink.
  • Don’t eat anything unclean.
  • Don’t cut his hair.

Numbers 6 gives even more details of what it means to be a Nazirite, set apart to God. He also could eat no grapes or raisins, nor touch a dead body. Samson was to be kept holy for the Lord.

Well, if you read the entire story of Samson through Judges 16, you find out Samson did not keep himself holy, but his mom had done her part in bringing him up as the Angel instructed her.

Can you imagine having such an instruction list? Some moms do have a list given to them by doctors. Kids these days may have allergies to milk, eggs, soy, nuts, etc. Moms teach their kids with allergies to avoid those foods. How all the more do we need to heed God’s Word when He calls us to do something!

That’s what the “C” part of MY TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, talking to God about our CALLING. It may be what He is calling us to do today, such as visit a neighbor or teach our kids a Bible verse. Or it may be what He is calling us to do with our lives, whether that is to be a godly wife and mom or build cities like Sheerah, the daughter of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:24)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the fascinating true story of Samson and his mom in Judges 13-16. Recall the instructions the Angel gave to Samson’s mom. What instructions has God given you as you raise your kids? Write what He’s calling you to do in your prayer journal and ask Jesus to help you. Go get ’em, Bible mom!

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

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

One Life to Spend


I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.
Psalm 40:8 (NKJV)



Dear TEA Friends,
This month I share with you video clips from an interview my pastor did with me last year.  Today I offer an excerpt from my book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, entitled Only One Life to Spend. In Let’s Talk About Calling, I share even more about how God called me to this ministry to invite ladies to TEA with Jesus. To view more of my interview please see my Hello from Jennifer Grace post. If you’d like me to come speak for your next ladies’ gathering or retreat, please contact me here.


Thank you for visiting My TEA CUPP Prayers and praying for my ministry to invite ladies everywhere to have TEA each day with Jesus, the King of kings.

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
1 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV)

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

Video Credits:   Sam Fossum and Pastor Bryan Baker, 2018

More than Resolutions

 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:6 (NKJV)

In perhaps the greatest calling and transformation recorded in the New Testament, we read the story of the horrific torturer of Christians, Saul of Tarsus, being blinded and called by God on the road to Damascus.  Saul turned his life around in an instant, going from persecutor of God’s people to preacher of the Gospel, regaining his sight and changing his name to Paul. The very question Saul asked God, is the one we should all ask ourselves everyday, especially as we embark on a new year.

“Lord, what do you want me to do?”  Let’s all pray this during our TEA time with Jesus today. Rather than making resolutions that don’t last, let’s ask the Lord for His plan and stick to it with His strength (Philippians 4:13). Instead of setting our own goals, let’s ask Jesus what He wants us to do with our new year.   We can ask…

  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my health?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my children?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my husband?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my calling?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my neighbors?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for my church?
  • Lord, what do you want me to do for YOU?

Interestingly, Jesus asks the same question of another blind man in Luke 18:41.  The man was waiting by the side of a road for Jesus to come by.  When Jesus finally walked by, the blind man cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus, though He knew exactly what the blind man wanted and needed, asked the fellow, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  The man replied, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Jesus replied, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 18:39-42)

Oh, Jesus, open my eyes to see exactly what you want me to do this new year!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the story of Saul/Paul’s calling in Acts 9.  Then ask Jesus, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  With the Christmas story fresh in our minds, let’s say as Mary did, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word.” (Luke 1:38)

…Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord…
Zechariah 8:21 (NKJV)

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 6:9 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

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

My Fasting TEA CUPP

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

No tea, no cup, no plate, no food, no beverage, no water, nothing to nourish this earthly body, only God’s Word to feed my soul and His Living Water to quench my thirst.  This is an Esther fast, where we give up eating and drinking for a time, to pray and focus on Jesus and God’s Word.

When I first started a daily prayer time with Jesus, I didn’t know what fasting was all about.  My church didn’t talk about it, and there weren’t too many resources.  I wondered what the “rules” were.  As it turns out, there are no rules, only examples.  In our Bibles we have the example of Esther who fasted with her maidens for three days to save her people. Esther’s fast happened one time during an extreme crisis. They had no water and no food for three days and nights.  We also have the example of Daniel who gave up rich foods, eating only fruits and vegetables. Daniel’s fast was a way of life, along with praying three times a day.  And, of course, there are Moses, Elijah and Jesus who fasted for 40 days and nights during a time of great trial. If you are just getting started with fasting, I would recommend a one-day juice fast, where you only drink juice, a juice and banana fast is good for nursing moms.  You can work your way up to a full fast when the time is just right.

Some might think fasting is a thing of the past from Bible times, but it is still practiced by many Christians today as they seek God’s will in prayer.  If you are looking for a modern example of fasting, I encourage you to read The Heavenly Man.  This book gives testimony after testimony to fasting and prayer, from friends praying for the persecuted pastor to him praying and fasting himself.  I highly recommend The Heavenly Man.  Order a copy for yourself and share one with a friend. 

For today I give you My Fasting TEA CUPP, Bible verses that highlight fasting and trials. You may pray these verses while you are fasting, or any time you sit down with Jesus for prayer and TEA. Here are conversation starters for you as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer:

T for Thanksgiving:
(a verse of thanks as we finish our fast and have our first meal)

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  John 6:11 (NKJV) 

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV)

E for Exalting:
(our suffering during fasting is nothing to compared to the glory of Jesus!)

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

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

(The prayer King Jehoshaphat prayed to exalt the Lord)

O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?   2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:
(we repent and admit our sins as we fast)

 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

C for Calling:

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34 (NKJV)

But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.  Matthew 9:15 (NKJV)

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.  so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love. 2 Corinthians 6:4-6 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:
(I love it when God sends prayer answers right during our fasting!)

So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  Acts 10:30 (NKJV)

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:12 (NKJV)

P is for Promises:
(Promises for when we are thirsty and hungry during fasting, and He will revive us!)

Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.  Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV)

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’   Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Psalm 71:20 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning:

So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:29 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Once you get started on fasting and prayer, you might like to plan a regular day to fast, such as the first day of each month, the first Sunday of each month, or every Wednesday. Or when there is a great trial or event in your life. Write it on your calendar and commit to this time of prayer and fasting with Jesus. Read Isaiah 58 in preparation. Another devotion you may enjoy reading is The Empty Plate.

…did you really fast for Me—for Me?
Zechariah 7:5 (NKJV)

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

There is Always a Baby

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

By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.  Psalm 71:6 (NKJV)

There is always a baby.  Have you ever noticed how many of the great Bible stories have a baby?  Adam and Eve were blessed with Seth after Cain killed Abel.  Abraham and Sarah laughed as they gladly received their promised son, Isaac, in their old age. The birth of Samson, the Israelites’ judge against the Philistines, was first announced by the Angel of the Lord to his mother, “You shall conceive and bear a son.” (Judges 13:30).  Moses, God’s leader to bring His people out of Egypt, was rescued as a baby by the Pharaoh’s own daughter. When Hannah pleaded for a son at the temple, God heard her prayers, presenting Hannah with Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord.  The prophet Elisha, wanting to bless the woman who had shown him such kind hospitality, proclaimed to her, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”  And “the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.” (2 Kings 4:16-17).

Yet, above all these babies came the BABY God sent to redeem all mankind, His very own Son Jesus.  Rather than coming as a mighty King, Jesus came as a humble baby, born to the Virgin Mary in a dirty stable, and placed in a manger, instead of a mansion.  The earthly king Herod was jealous when he heard that another King had been born, so Herod ordered all the baby boys under age two to be killed.  An Angel warned Mary’s betrothed husband Joseph to flee to Egypt and Joseph obeyed, saving Jesus so He could save all mankind.

When we look back at these Bible stories we might be amazed how babies were killed unmercifully even in Bible times.  We might think this is just a current problem with society, but abortion and infanticide have been breaking God’s heart for centuries.  For the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed…

Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”  Jeremiah 31:15 (NKJV)

Each baby and child is a precious gift from the Lord.  We don’t know the plans God has written for each one. But God has already written their stories before they are even born! We can’t snuff out this life before it comes to be because of pain or poverty or preferences, because God has a plan for every human life. That plan might include saving a nation or bringing joy to a barren family.

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)

Some of you may be burdened with the guilt of giving into society’s leading, snuffing out the life of one of these precious babies.  I want you to know, you are loved! Jesus died for your sins, as He died for all our sins.  Believe in the name of Jesus and be free from this burden. Ask Jesus to forgive you. God loves you so much! He and your baby are waiting for you in heaven.  The ironic thing is, to be saved, Jesus tells us to come to Him as a child and be born again, just like a baby!

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: My TEA CUPP friends, I exhort you to put the lives of babies at the top of your list of things God is calling you do.  Pray for babies, volunteer at a Christian women’s center, donate to your local right-to-life organization.  Ask God where He wants you to help.  Most of all, choose life for your own babies. 

 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.  Matthew 18:14 (NKJV)

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy 30:29 (NKJV)

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

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

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! Luke 13:34 (NKJV)

In Spring 2018, the world was surprised to see United States President Trump recognize Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the original capital city.

Yet for Messianic Jews and Christians familiar with God’s Word, this came as no surprise.  For during the Old Testament reign of King David, the king took a census which God punished with a plague across the land.  The plague lasted for three days, killing 70,000  people.  But then God had mercy, commanding the angel of death to halt right at the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah) (2 Samuel 24:14-16).  King David purchased that threshing floor and built an alter to the Lord.  And that was the exact spot, the Holy Ground, God chose for King Solomon’s temple.

Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 Chronicles 3:1 (NKJV)

Fast forward to the time of Jesus. Over and over in the book of Luke we read how Jesus was headed to Jerusalem (In fact, if you read Luke with a pen in hand, you can underline the word Jerusalem multiple times). Jesus knew he had to die there for the sins of the world.  Along the way, Jesus taught the people about His Father’s love, healed the sick, and performed mighty miracles.  But Jesus never lost sight of his goal: Jerusalem.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.  Luke 9:51 (NKJV)

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Luke 13:22 (NKJV)

Jerusalem should be our goal, too.  Yet ours is a New Jerusalem, a Holy City, Zion, come down from heaven.  We long for the day when Jesus will come again to rule on earth.  Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).  Jesus will reign forever and ever in the New Jerusalem.

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16 (NKJV)

Until that day comes, we must fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), following His example with Jerusalem always as our goal. When we learn to drive, we are taught to look far down the road, not right in front of the car. By focusing on a distant point we drive straight, rather than weaving around the road.  When we follow Jesus, we also want to stay on His straight and narrow path, looking far down the road to His New Jerusalem.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Revelation 21:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What is your Jerusalem?  Is it Jesus?  Every day, through every up and down, fix your eyes on the Lord of heaven and earth. With God’s Word in your heart and on your lips in prayer, keep marching to the goal! And while we are marching, let us pray for the current situation in Jerusalem. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there 2 Chronicles 6:6 (NKJV)

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