Jesus, Our Greatest Example

In celebration of Thanksgiving this year, I’m re-running this post from June 2021. This devotion and many others will be in my new book, More TEA CUPP Prayers, coming out in spring 2023. Thank you for praying for me and the publication process! Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to one and all! Thank you, dearest Jesus, for so many blessings!

…Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
    for the Lord is good;
    His love endures forever…
 Jeremiah 33:11 (NIV)

Whether you are new to prayer, or this is a regular routine for you, it is always a blessing to be reminded how our Lord Jesus prayed when He walked this earth. Jesus is our example in all things, including THANKSGIVING to the Lord. Isn’t it a wonder that Jesus the Son gave thanks to the Father, showing us how to give thanks to the Father, when He and the Father are One?

We find so many times in the Gospels when Jesus gave thanks…

  • When the 70 disciples returned from their first mission trip (Luke 10:17-24):

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.Luke 10:21

  • When Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-14):

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

  • When praying to the Father to raise His friend Lazarus (John 11:1-44):

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” John 11:41

  • At the Last Supper with His disciples (Luke 22:7-20):

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said,  “Take this and divide it among yourselves.” Luke 22:17

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19

With these true stories in mind, I follow Jesus’ example, beginning my prayers with THANKSGIVING. Whether I’m welcoming my sons home from a mission trip, feeding my family, praying for healing for loved ones, or just having TEA with Jesus, I begin with thanks. Perhaps my biggest THANKS recently was attending my granddaughter Kennedy’s preschool graduation one year after she was diagnosed with cancer. You can turn to one of the last sections of this book to read how this Grandma’s heart was broken and cried desperate pleas to God the Father for over a year for healing for our granddaughter. She had no hair and couldn’t walk after the first rounds of chemo. I prayed and prayed, “Talitha, Cumi, Little One, arise,” and God raised her from her sofa bed to attend preschool and gymnastics! And Jesus let me witness her graduation while her new baby sister was being born. Oh, what double blessings all in one day! I thank you Lord Jesus, for you have heard my prayers and seen my tears and sent life to this family!

There is always something for which to be thankful, dear sisters. Even when the whole world is falling apart, we can thank Jesus that our names are written in heaven and that we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Hold onto these precious verses of THANKSGIVING this coming year…

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.  Luke 10:20

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.  Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read one of the selections of Jesus giving thanks, noticing the miracles that came after His thanksgiving. Select one THANKSGIVING verse to write in your prayer journal, pouring out your thanks to the Lord. The Father will be so happy to hear from you!

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! 
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1


Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
  Psalm 136:1-3

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

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

Let Freedom Ring!

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

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
Psalm 16:9 (NKJV)

In June 2022, God answered the cries of my heart, taking me back to Wisconsin to be with my grandchildren. As I played with the kids in their backyard, I heard the bells of St. Mary’s Church chiming over the rooftops. Those same bells had been my companions in the early days of our granddaughter’s cancer, as we came to help for weeks at a time.

On a 100 degree June Tuesday, we had the joy of witnessing our granddaughter Kennedy ringing the cancer survivors’ bell at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. After almost two and one half years of chemo, Kennedy is finally finished with all her treatments and pronounced, “cancer free!” We praise the Mighty Name of Jesus for this miracle and glorify His Name!

I want to thank everyone who prayed for our granddaughter these past three years. Your prayers rocked the throne room of heaven and the Lord heard your every cry. Your prayers gave healing to Kennedy, strength to her parents, comfort to her grandparents, and hope to so many. You are a blessing, and I thank Jesus for you!

I want to thank the doctors and nurses and physical therapists who cared for Kennedy all this time. God has put His kindness and compassion into your hearts. You poured it out on our granddaughter when she was so very sick. You encouraged her parents when the nights were dark, assuring them there was a light at the end of the tunnel. You were the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out to heal the sick and lame.

I want to thank Kennedy’s Mom and Dad, Nana, Papa, and Auntie who were on the ground, doing the hard work each day, taking Kennedy to appointments and babysitting the little ones. You were there during the worst of times. The love you poured out on our grandkids is unmeasurable. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.  Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

And, most of all, I thank Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, who heard the cries of Kennedy’s grandmas’ hearts. You were there when the “tea first spilled,” as we cried “Abba, Father, take this cup!” When we didn’t feel able to bear this load, You were able and bore it for us. You promised to send healing when I anointed Kennedy with oil (even anointing her hospital room and house). And when our little girl could no longer walk and we cried out, “Talitha Cumi,” You helped her to walk and leap again! You taught this precious girl to pray and blessed her with not one, but two younger siblings, first a Robin in spring and then a Princess in summer. You carried our granddaughter through every sick day and night, every treatment, every set back… You were there. Thank you, dearest Jesus.

And now, we celebrate this great and awesome victory over cancer. It was on a Tuesday that Kennedy rang the cancer victory bell, and Tuesday’s child is full of grace. The Grace of God healed our Kennedy Grace. This girl who was born on her paternal grandma’s birthday, rang the cancer freedom bell on her maternal grandma’s birthday. How awesome is that! He who died for our sins, healed the sick, made the lame walk, and raised the dead has now set our granddaughter free from cancer! My TEA CUPP overflows!

Today’s TEA CUPP: This 4th of July we have so much to celebrate… freedom for babies who will be given life instead of death, freedom from cancer for our granddaughter and others, and freedom from sin because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Our nation, the USA, was founded as one nation under God that we may also live in freedom. Let us glorify the Lord and celebrate all this freedom today! Let Freedom Ring!

Grandma and Kennedy in 2020

Kennedy and Grandma in 2022

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:3 (NKJV)

Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
Psalm 146:7 (NKJV)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

A few “Ring the Bell” Hymns for you to enjoy…

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

His Marvelous Lovingkindness


Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,

For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Psalm 143:8 (NKJV)

I awoke early at our campsite to have my tea time with Jesus before the day began. We had arrived a bit later than expected the night before. After setting up the pop-up camper and preparing supper, we realized the propane stove was not working.  So, just before 9 p.m., the family ate our anniversary dinner of taco salad with cold beans and then tumbled into sleeping bags.  We prayed that Daddy could fix the stove in the morning when there was daylight. And guess what, he did and we had hot French toast for breakfast! Isn’t the Lord kind?

Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You.  Psalm 17:7 (NKJV)

We were camping in a pristine mountain forest at a place called Crystal Lake Campground.  There was only one problem, the lake was missing!  It had dried up!  A lovely nature trail went around the “lake” that was no longer there.  Thankfully, the campground host had maps, and the boys hiked to this beautiful Crystal Cascade waterfall.  Isn’t that another example of the kindness of the Lord, to pour out His Living Water upon us when our souls are thirsty (Psalm 63:1)? In my quiet time I read this verse from Psalm 17:7 and thought of all the times God had shown us His Marvelous Lovingkindness when traveling…

  1. Twice, before reservations were allowed, we arrived late to the Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, only to find it already full. We walked and drove around, looking for a spot. We sat at a picnic table and prayed. And guess what, both times we got a spot!  A Park ranger came by and said a family didn’t show up, we could have their spot.
  2. So many times when we were out of money or groceries and I needed to fix dinner when the kids were little, God helped me come up with a recipe with the few ingredients we had left.
  3. And every time we had a vehicle break down, God sent someone to rescue us. Our first minivan broke down in the middle of Nebraska on a trip from Colorado to Iowa, right next to a KOA campground where the kids enjoyed swimming.  A tow truck driver was available to tow us the next day all the way to our folks in Iowa. Isn’t God so good!

It reminds me of the song, “All my life You have been faithful, all my life you have been so, so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”(Bethel Music)

And yet those bits of Lovingkindness are just a tiny taste of the Marvelous Lovingkindness our Lord Jesus did for us on the Cross.  While we were yet sinners, God looked down from heaven and saw us and loved us (Romans 5:8). He saw how we were lost in our sin and could never obey all His law.  Yet He loved us and carried out the plan He had since before time began, sending His Only Son Jesus to die for our sins.  Jesus shed His blood for us and endured the pain of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) for you, and for me and for all who believe in Him.  On the third day He rose from the grave, defeating sin, satan, and death, once and for all, opening the door of heaven for all believers. Now that is Marvelous Lovingkindness!  Let’s rejoice in these blessings…

  1. He has prepared a campsite for us in heaven (John 14).
  2. He has a hot meal ready, Jesus, the Bread of Life (Psalm 22:26, John 6:35).
  3. And our vehicle won’t break down on the way, for He Himself will come to carry us home!   (Psalm 17:15, Psalm 23:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:17) Hallelujah! God be praised forever and ever and ever!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read these verses about our Lord’s Lovingkindness.  Take time today to write a verse in Your prayer journal and thank the Lord for all the times He’s showered You with His Marvelous Lovingkindness.  

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. 
Psalm 63:3 (NKJV)

You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.  Jeremiah 32:18 (NKJV)

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.  Psalm 25:6 (NKJV)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.  Psalm 36:10 (NKJV)

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.  Psalm 40:11 (NKJV)

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions. Psalm 51:1 (NKJV)

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

 

Count the Stars

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name. 
Psalm 147:4 (NKJV)

Remember the story of Abraham, how God told him to count the stars?  This is one of my favorite Sunday school stories for preschoolers.  Children have no trouble believing God’s promise that Abraham will have many kids.  They love to sing, “Father Abraham, had several sons…” with arms and legs going in every direction. And there are so many fun star crafts we can make to remind us of God’s promise.  But as the years go by, I realize how much more there is to this story.  This is not just for preschoolers, this is the HISTORY of God’s people, His chosen nation, the Israelites.  We who are Christians are counted as having come from Abraham’s seed, because we have faith like Abraham. And the best news is we get to share in God’s promise to Abraham!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)

We first meet Abraham (who was originally called Abrahm) in Genesis 11 with Noah’s family tree.  Abraham is listed as a descendent of Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 11:27).  In Genesis 12 we get the first glimpse of God’s promise to Abraham, when God commanded…

…”Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
 Genesis 12:1-2 (NKJV)

In Genesis 15, God gave Abraham the Promise again…

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5 (NKJV)

We must remember that this promise came when Abraham had no children!  How could God make him have so many descendants?  Abraham didn’t question God, he only believed. And so did his wife, Sarah. For we read in Hebrews 11…

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  Hebrews 11:11-12 (NKJV)

Abraham couldn’t count all the stars for it would be like counting all the grains of sand on the seashore.  If we continue reading in our Bibles, we learn how Abraham and Sarah begot Isaac (one son) in their old age (Gen. 21). Isaac and Rebekah begot two sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-33).  Jacob and his wives begot twelves sons (Gen. 35:22-26). And by the time Jacob was an old man, there were over 70 family members who went with him to Egypt (Gen. 45:27).  430 years later, the Israelites had become over 2,000,000 people.  That’s 603,500 men age 20 and older, plus their wives, children, and the Levites (Exodus 12:40, Numbers 1:46).  Just as Abraham could not imagine or count this when he had no children, neither can we count all the blessings God gives to us. 

The Lord your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. Deuteronomy 1:10 (NKJV)

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)


Today’s TEA CUPP: Read about the day God promised Abraham many children in Genesis 15. If you’d like to read even more, Stephen gave a stunning recap of Abraham’s story and Israel’s history in Acts 7, and Psalm 105 is also a beautiful recount. With the promise, Abraham also received a vision of the dark days in Egypt and the rescue of God’s people.  We are part of that promise!  God has rescued us from our dark days of sin and is bringing us to the Promised Land.  Hallelujah!  Oh, dear one, our blessings, like Abraham’s, are as many as the stars!  How many can you count and thank Jesus for today?

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

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ Exodus 32:13 (NKJV)

You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:62 (NKJV)

For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.  Praise the Lord!  Psalm 105:42-45 (NKJV)

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word. Psalm 119:65 (NKJV)

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me. Jeremiah 33:22 (NKJV)

P.S.  I didn’t plan for this devotion to run right before the 4th of July weekend, but God must have planned it!  As you see the stars in our flag, remember God’s promise to Abraham and thank Him for the blessings of living in the USA.  As you go camping, look up at the summer night sky and see if you can count the stars. Thank God for every star and blessing.

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

 

 

 

Jesus, Our Greatest Example

 …Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
    for the Lord is good;
    His love endures forever…
Jeremiah 33:11 (NIV)

Whether you are new to prayer, or this is a regular routine for you, it is always a blessing to be reminded how our Lord Jesus prayed when He walked this earth. Jesus is our example in all things, including THANKSGIVING to the Lord. Isn’t it a wonder that our Lord gave thanks to the Father, showing us how to give thanks to the Father, when He and the Father are One?

We find so many times in the Gospels when Jesus gave thanks…

When the 70 disciples returned from their first mission trip (Luke 10:17-24):

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21 (NKJV)

When Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-14):

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)

When praying to the Father to raise His friend Lazarus (John 11:1-44):

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” John 11:41 (NKJV)

At the Last Supper with His disciples (Luke 22:7-20):

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves.” Luke 22:17 (NKJV)

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 (NKJV)

With these true stories in mind, I follow Jesus’ example, beginning my prayers with THANKSGIVING. Whether I’m welcoming my sons home from a mission trip, feeding my family, praying for healing for loved ones, or just having TEA with Jesus, I begin with thanks. Perhaps my biggest THANKS recently was attending my granddaughter’s preschool graduation one year after she was diagnosed with cancer. If you are a follower of my blog, you know how this Grandma’s heart was broken and cried desperate pleas to God the Father last year for healing for our granddaughter. She had no hair and couldn’t walk after the first rounds of chemo. I prayed and prayed, “Talitha, Cumi, Little One, arise,” and God raised her from her sofa bed to attend preschool and gymnastics! And Jesus let me attend her graduations while her new baby sister was being born. Oh, what double blessings all in one day! I thank you Lord Jesus, for you have heard my prayers and seen my tears and sent life to this family!

There is always something for which to be thankful, dear sisters. Even when the whole world is falling apart, we can thank Jesus that our names are written in heaven and that we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Hold onto these precious verses of THANKSGIVING this coming year…

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Choose one of the Bible stories above to read today and see the miracles that came after Jesus gave thanks. Select one THANKSGIVING verse to write in your prayer journal, pouring out your thanks to the Lord. The Father will be so happy to hear from you!

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.
Revelation 11:17 (NKJV)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)

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

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

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 Rahab thank the Lord for sparing her and her family when Joshua’s army conquered Jericho? (Joshua 2 and 6:22-23)
  • Did the Canaanite woman thank Jesus for promising to heal her daughter?  (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • 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

Our Thanksgiving Chain

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3 (NKJV)

One of my favorite Thanksgiving devotions from my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, is an activity I’ve shared over the years with you, a Thanksgiving chain.

The first part of the TEA CUPP is “T” is for Thanksgiving. It’s eternally important for moms to model thankfulness to our children, so here is a project to help you do just that.  This thankfulness activity will carry your family from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas.

First, count the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas on your calendar (this year it’s only 27 days). Next, cut out that many strips of colored paper, approximately one-inch by six inches. Grab your Bible, the paper strips, some markers, and a stapler, and gather the family around your kitchen table.

Read a Psalm of Thanksgiving, such as Psalm 136.
● Talk about things for which you are thankful.
● Divide the strips of paper between all family members.
● Everyone can use markers to write blessings on their paper strips. Older family members may assist younger family members.
● When everyone is finished, mix up the paper strips. Curl one strip into a circle and staple it. Run another strip through the first circle and staple it to itself. Continue stapling strips until you have a long chain of circles.
● Hold the chain around the table and let family members read the items together as you thank Jesus.
● Hang the chain on a nail in the kitchen so you can see how many days until Christmas.
● Each morning at breakfast, let one person tear off the bottom link of the chain. Say a prayer of thanks again for whatever is listed on that slip of paper.
● Each day the chain will get shorter until it’s Christmas.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Plan to do this activity with your family at Thanksgiving. Talk with your kids about God’s blessings. Some families keep a thankful jar. Every time they find something for which they are thankful, a blessing, answered prayer, etc., they write it on a slip of paper and put it in the thankful jar. He’s blessed us so much we can’t even name them all.

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.
Psalm 40:5

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

Where are the other Nine?

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16

One of my favorite thanks devotions from my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, comes from the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. The lepers were shunned members of society, ones who must have desired more than anything else to be healed and welcomed back into the community. The ten lepers had just been hollering at Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus told them to go to the priests, and as they were going they were cleansed. But only one remembered to come back and praise God and give Jesus thanks. So Jesus answered and said,

“Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” Luke 17:17

Don’t you think Jesus still asks that today? Where are the other nine? WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE? For what have you prayed recently that God heard and answered your prayers? Was it a safe trip home? Was it a check in the mail? Was it healing for a loved one? What blessings has He sent our way before we even asked? Oh, let us run back to Him and throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet and give Him thanks!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Remember, the first “T” in TEA CUPP is for Thanksgiving. Read the story of the ten lepers again in Luke 17:11-19. Have you forgotten to thank Jesus for anything? Ask Jesus to open your eyes to any overlooked blessings. Tell Jesus THANK YOU today!

What are some things I’m especially thankful for this year?  Jesus, God’s Word, my family, miraculous healing, a new grandbaby on the way, strength to run a marathon, publishing my second book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, and for you, my dear TEA CUPP friend. Thank you for reading my devotions and accepting Jesus’ invitation to have TEA with Him each day.

 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

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

Bible Mom: If Sarah gave Thanks…

And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6

Sarah laughed. She didn’t cry. She didn’t say, “That’s crazy!” She didn’t immediately rejoice in thanks and praise to God. Sarah laughed.

Do you remember the story of Sarah?  We meet her early on in our Bibles, right in the book of Genesis.  Her name really began as Sarai, meaning “my princess,” and Abraham’s name was Abrahm. Sarai was a very beautiful lady, so beautiful that Abraham told kings she was his sister to protect himself.  She actually was his sister, but only a half-sister. 

Sarai had an interesting life as God called Abrahm to move.  She became accustomed to living in tents and honored Abrahm’s wishes when he requested her silence.  Sarai did have one fault: She didn’t trust God to provide her with a child, so she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham.  Hagar conceived and bore a son name Ishmael, but He wasn’t God’s chosen heir.  Sarai then abused Hagar and Ishmael because she wanted a child (Genesis 16).

Finally, God looked with favor on the elderly couple, sending an angel to announce a baby.  Abrahm was given the new name Abraham, and Sarai was given the name Sarah, meaning “princess.”  She would no longer be just Abraham’s princess, but the mother of many!  When the baby announcement came, Sarah was hiding in the tent.  Since she was 90 years old (Genesis 17:17) and thought she’d never have a baby, she laughed at the news (Genesis 18:12).  And so her baby was given the name Isaac which means laughter. 

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11 (NKJV)

Can you imagine Sarah’s THANKS to God after the birth of Isaac?  What would she say?

 THANK You, Lord, for this son you have given me in my old age. 

THANK You for hearing my prayers from so long ago. 

THANK You for forgiving me for my sin in sharing Hagar and then abusing her.

THANK You for taking away my shame and blessing me. 

THANK You for watching over us all our lives as we moved from here to there, protecting me from those kings who might have touched me. 

THANK You for being the One who formed the stars and Your promise that our children will be as many as the stars (Genesis 15:5).

THANK You again and again for this baby.

THANK You, Oh, Lord, my God. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Sarah’s story in Genesis 18:1-15. Ponder what Sarah might have prayed in THANKSGIVING. What blessings do you have for which to THANK God?  This is what the first “T” of the TEA CUPP is all about, giving Him THANKS. 

This week underline THANKSGIVING verses in your BIBLE. Put a “T” next to the verses, choosing one to write in your prayer journal. Use this as a conversation starter for your THANKSGIVING prayers.  Here are some verses to get you started…

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

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:2

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

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

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

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

Thank you to Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org for the great clip art!

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

Thank You Psalms

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8 (NKJV)

When spring finally comes to Montana after a very long winter, our hearts overflow in thanksgiving to Jesus. The bright blue skies promise an end to snow storms. Drifts melt into puddles, making way for green fields.  The daffodils and tulips raise colors in praise to their Creator.  And my heart sings for joy that winter is over!

This is the perfect time to read a Psalm of thanks, remembering all the blessings Jesus has sent us.  Psalms 107 or 136 are great places to begin.  I love the rhythm of these Psalms, how they repeat and we may add our own lines of thanks…

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever— Psalm 136:1-7 (NKJV)

When I go running on a beautiful spring morning, my heart is bursting with thanks for the mountains, the blue skies, the green fields, the bright sunshine…I like to sing a song in my head as my feet pound out the rhythm…

Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Spirit, for living in me.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Father, for loving us so much.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my King.
Thank You, Jesus, You are my Lord.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, Spirit, for delivering our prayers.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.
Thank You, God, for this beautiful day.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What song of thanksgiving has God put in your heart? Begin today by reading Psalm 107, 136 or another Psalm.  Select a favorite verse to write in your prayer journal and pray to Jesus.  Let this verse be your conversation starter as you thank the Lord for the many blessings He has given you.  Perhaps you’d like to write your own “Thank You Psalm” to God.

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