4:7 AGAIN

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)

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!

Has God put a dream and passion in your heart? Is there something you really feel called to do or achieve that can bring Him glory? I had a dream like that. When I was 18, God gave me the dream to run a marathon, but then life happened and I forgot that dream for a time. But God didn’t forget, He let me live out the dream over 34 years later!

I ran my first marathon with God’s help in Bozeman, Montana last fall. My goal was to run it in 4 hours.  After 8 miles my legs were hurting, at 18 miles I was ready to stop, but I pressed on. At 22 miles some fellow hollered that I could break 4 hours if I kept going, so I kept going, but crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 7 minutes. 

I was so thankful to Jesus to be done, thankful to be close to 4 hours, yet a bit disappointed to not have made my goal.  But later, when sharing a meal with my family, I asked my college son Kevin to look up the reference for “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.”  He found it in his smartphone BIBLE.  The verse comes from 2 Timothy 4:7, 4:7 just like my time, 4 hours and 7 minutes. It was then I knew that God had His hand in the entire race, I was in His will.  

My times are in Your hand… Psalm 31:15 (NKJV)

A week after my marathon, I visited my daughter in Wisconsin and heard the joyful news that she was expecting again. After two miscarriages, this was a miracle from God. We prayed for my daughter and her baby all winter and made plans to visit as her due date of March 31st approached. We arrived on March 22, ready to help in any way we could. March 31 came and went with no baby. A week later, we were still waiting for Baby Robin to arrive.

In the wee hours of April 7th, my daughter went into labor. Around breakfast time, she and her husband headed to the hospital. I thought this baby would surely be here by lunchtime. With big sister Kennedy off to her appointment with her Nana, I headed out for a run. As I was running, this verse from Second Timothy came into my head. I realized that the date was April 7, 4/7. I also realized what the verse said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And as I was running I screamed out to God, “No! My daughter’s race is not over! Help her deliver this baby! Bring them both home healthy and strong!”

Dinnertime arrived and there was still no baby. Baby Robin was just too big at 10 pounds, 15 ounces. The doctors decided to do a C-section and finally Baby Robin was born. My daughter finished the race of delivering her baby. Praise God!

I’ve often thought that running is much easier than delivering a baby. If I wanted to, I could stop running at any time (though I rarely do that, but it’s nice to know I have that option). But when you go into labor to deliver a baby, there is no stopping or turning back. This baby is on the way!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Praise Jesus for babies! Praise Jesus for being our strength for running races and delivering babies! Praise Jesus for His Word, as in 2 Timothy 4:7, that encourages us to finish the race, keeping our faith in Him. Keep fighting the good fight, dear runners. Read your Bible, say your prayers, and run your workouts. Keep the faith!

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

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 2:16 (NKJV)

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

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Apostle Paul from the New Testament related…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Buckets & Babies

…so that I may finish my race with joy… Acts 20:24

In early 2018, I came across a bucket list I had written in 2010 after losing our babies. It was just a short list, but the things on it I could only do with God’s help. As I read over the list, I was delighted that Jesus had already blessed me with two items…our precious baby Joel and publishing My TEA CUPP Prayers. So, I just had to finish the list.

Last year, with God’s strength, I ran half of the marathon on my bucket list. It went well, so I thought I’d train for the whole marathon this year. And now it is just a month away on September 8th! My whole body hurts, but I’m still training!  One thing that made last year’s run special was dedicating it to moms and babies everywhere.  I’d like to do that again this year.

A 2015 report of abortions in the United States, says there were 638,169 babies killed that year.  That’s 638,169 lives lost and mamas with hurting hearts. If I divide that number by 365 days and again by 24 hours and multiply by the 4 hours I estimate my race to be, that means almost 300 babies will die while I am running the marathon on September 8th.  That is very sad.

So, what can we do?  We can pray!  Pray for moms to keep their babies, reaching out for help from organizations such as the Morning Center in Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.  The Morning Center exists to partner with the local Church to provide prenatal through postpartum care to moms in need, in the name of Jesus.

We can also give.  If you’d like to give a gift per mile to the Morning Center for my marathon, you can give online or mail a check to The Morning Center, 3638 Macon Rd, Memphis, TN 38122.  $1/mile would be $26, $2/mile would be $52, etc.  You can put a note in the memo, “Morning Marathon” or “All 4 Jesus,” that’s what will be on my t-shirt this year.

Thank you so much for helping me help moms and babies, in the name of Jesus! Please pray for Jesus to keep me healthy so I can finish my race with joy.  Thank you!

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

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus... Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 (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 https://onhealthy.net/product/synthroid/ 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)

As for me, I keep praying for babies and writing for babies, and also I’m running a half marathon this fall for babies. Each mile will be for a women’s ministry center that helps mothers and babies with the love of Jesus.  I’d love to see this center spread to cities in every state.  If you’d like to support babies and sponsor me by the mile (i.e. $1/mile would be $13, $2/mile would be $26, $4/mile would be $52, etc.), please check out this link: Helping Babies and Moms with Jesus’ love

Thank you, dear friends!  In 2019 I hope to run the full marathon for babies!

 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

Choosing Life

We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind… Isaiah 26:18 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago we had sad news from our daughter.  She and her husband were losing a baby at just 8 1/2 weeks in the womb.  I know miscarriages happen all the time, I know how awful it feels, because it’s happened to us three times.  Yet, the pain is still there when it happens again to another loved one.

Just a week earlier I had shared about our babies at a local church.  I realized as I was preparing for the talk, that I hadn’t cried in a long time.  God had allowed us a time of peace.  Then, boom (that’s how things always hit, isn’t it?), the heart-breaking news from our daughter.  A little grandbaby is joining our babies in heaven.  Our hearts were torn open once again. Our daughter put this beautiful post on her Facebook page:

How we pray for God to comfort them  and bless them with another sweet baby to ease their hurting hearts! I pray this for all moms who have lost babies.  May Jesus send a child for you to love and cherish. Just this month in my Samaritan Ministries prayer guide, where we pray for one person a day (and I only have a small portion of people whose last names begin with “W”), there were 11 babies and two were miscarriages. Many moms and dads are hurting out there.

For some people, though, there is pain through bad choices.  Woman have been lied to in the United States for almost 50 years that they have a choice to make for babies.  It is the serpent from Genesis whispering into Eve’s ear that he has something better for her. This is not new, for we read in the Bible https://www.ncmh.info/valium-diazepam/ verses that make me cry…

Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces,
And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb;
Their eye will not spare children.  Isaiah 13:18 (NKJV)

Satan brings death.  Jesus gives life.  I exhort you to choose life your baby, no matter what. And if it is too late and the decision is behind you, come to Jesus, my friend, and find the forgiveness and healing for which you are longing.  His arms are wide open for you. Someday we will see all these babies in heaven! If only we could match all these babies with the empty arms and hearts that are longing for a child.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Oh, Jesus, our hearts break when babies die before they have a chance to be born due to miscarriage. It hurts that people are choosing to kill babies before they are born through abortion.  It’s unbearable to hear of little ones being hurt and killed.  We know we live in a fallen world where pain and sickness happen, but it still hurts.  Please wash away our pain. Forgive us.  Pour your oil of joy on our hurts.  Comfort our hearts. Give us beauty for ashes. Help us to honor the lives you have given us.   We look forward to seeing our precious little ones with You in heaven someday. Thank you, dearest Jesus.  

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 30:19 (NKJV)

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

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

 

In Memory of Angelica May

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)

We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind…
Isaiah 26:18 (NKJV)

What do you do when you come to such sad verses in your Bible?  For those of us who have lost babies, these words can bring us to tears.  Yet we know the God of the Universe understands our sorrow, for it’s right here in His Word.  I underline the verses and write a “U” for “Understanding my story” next to them.  This is my story right in God’s Word.  Perhaps it is your story, too. 

But I don’t need to stop there, for God also has words of comfort for me…

I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.
“ No more shall an infant from there
live but a few days… Isaiah 65:19-20 (NKJV)

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces…
Isaiah 25:8 (NKJV)

I underline these verses and write a “P” for “Promises” next to them.  I claim God’s promises that He will wipe away every tear, and that babies will always live in heaven. Jesus comforts me with His Word and promises, as we share our TEA CUPP time together.   And that is how it is today, as I remember our  dear Angelica May.

In Loving Memory of Our Babies…

Angelica May

November 6, 2009

Gabriella Hope

June 10, 2010

Gloria Anne

July 25, 2009

Dear Jesus, please hold our babies for me until you call me home.

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