Remember the Cross

Today I rerun another favorite Christmas devotion for you from December 2017.  Merry Christmas, dear TEA CUPP ladies!

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham tells the story of a crusade at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in 1953.  After a night of preaching, his friend John Bolton took a walk with Billy and commented, “Billy, you didn’t speak about the Cross.”

Rev. Graham’s friend went on to say, “How can anyone be converted without having at least one single view of the Cross where the Lord died for us?  You must preach about the Cross, Billy. You must preach about the blood that was shed for us there.  There is no other power than when we talk or preach about the Cross.” (Graham, 1997)

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, I exhort you to remember the Cross!  When you look at your tree, decorated with tinsel and lights, remember the tree that held our Savior Jesus, as He gave His precious life for us.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 (NKJV)

As you give presents to family and friends, remember the Greatest Gift ever given, when God gave His only Son to us:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

As you toss out the wrapping paper and scrub the holiday dishes, remember how Jesus shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary, washing away the sins of all who believe in Him.

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

And as you look upon the lights of Christmas, ooh-ing and awwh-ing at the displays in your town, remember to look to Jesus, the Light of the world, the author and finisher of our faith.

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 (NKJV)

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 2 and Luke 23. Remember today the Baby who came in a manger, God in the flesh,  born to a virgin, to save the whole world.  Remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He grew to be a Man, fully perfect, without blemish, the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.  And so He gave His life for ours on the Cross. When you look at the Cradle, remember the Cross of Christ this Christmas, my friend.

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

An uncommon Christmas carol…

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

(John Bowring, 1825)

Graham, B. (1997). Just As I Am. San Francisco: Harper Collins/Zondervan (p.243)

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

Christmas Gifts!

…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Hello, ladies! I know many of you are still looking for that perfect gift for a friend or family member or sister in Christ. If you’re seeking a gift with eternal significance that encourages ladies to read God’s Word, I have 3 My TEA CUPP ideas for you!

 

Good Morning, Jesus, Prayer Journal ($20 suggested gift)

This journal is designed to be a companion to my books, My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.  In these devotional books, I invite you to sit down each morning with your Bible, a cup of tea, and Jesus.  As you drink from His Word and sip from your favorite morning mug, you will draw near to your Savior and be filled with God’s blessings.  You underline your favorite verses and use those verses as conversation starters as you pour your heart out to God in prayer.  I pray you will be in God’s Word each day, reading your Bible and blessed by this journal as a way to get you started.  

My TEA CUPP Prayers ($15 suggested gift)

YOU are invited to TEA with Jesus TODAY!!!  “Come to Me,” Jesus calls in Matthew 11:28.  Please accept!  Allow God to draw you into a daily TEA time with Jesus through this 77-day devotional. My TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to women everywhere to sit down daily with Jesus for a cup of tea.  The TEA CUPP acronym provides the parts of prayers, as we use the BIBLE to talk with our Lord.  Here new Christians discover a way to draw nearer to Jesus and old Christians taste a fresh flavor for their prayers. Women will dig deeper into God’s Word, come closer to Jesus by meeting with Him each day, and unleash the power of the Holy Spirit through their prayers.

 

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers ($16 suggested gift)

What will you find when you open the pages of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers?  You will discover a 77-day devotional that takes moms gracefully into a daily TEA time with Jesus.  Every Sunday you will meet a new Bible mom who will introduce you to another part of prayer.  And during the week you will again be encouraged to read your Bible and pray for your family, as I share stories God has given me, including our miracle baby. The book also has a week of Christmas devotions which I hope will bless your Christmas season this year and in years to come.  They might be just the thing to read to your small group or family this Advent season. Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and your favorite morning mug.

You can order one item or bundle them together to make an extra special gift. Each one comes with a My TEA CUPP Prayers bookmark, and to those who request it, you can even receive a M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. Because I hope to get these into the hands of many ladies, I’m offering free shipping for the rest of December.

We aren’t set up for credit cards, so if you could please snail-mail a check to My TEA CUPP Prayers, PO Box 1003, Big Timber, MT 59011, that will work well. You can also text me here. Please include a short note with your mailing address, phone number in case I have questions, and what items you would like sent.

Thank you for considering these My TEA CUPP items for your Christmas gift-giving. Here are some Christmas devotions to bless your day until your books arrive. He Comes with Presents is a good one :-). Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers! Merry Christmas! Jesus is coming soon!!!

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11 (NKJV)

But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31 (NKJV)

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

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

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

The Well of Bethlehem

And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!”  1 Chronicles 11:17 (NKJV)

1 Chronicles is an unusual place to begin the Christmas story, yet here we are for that “Little Town of Bethlehem” of which the carolers sing is found in this Scripture.  David and his army had just conquered and reclaimed Jerusalem, but the Philistines still occupied Bethlehem.  David was yearning with a wistful longing for a drink from the well by the gate of Bethlehem.  How did David know such a well was there? He lived there! His family, all the way back to his great-great-grandfather Boaz lived there (Ruth 2:4).  When David was young, he watched his father’s sheep in Bethlehem and it was there that Samuel had anointed David as king (1 Samuel 16:1).  No wonder David was sentimental about the well. Some of his men overheard his desire, risked their lives, broke into the enemy camp, and returned with the water.  Now we think David would have taken a big drink and passed it around to share with his warriors. But what he did instead surprises us… he poured it out on the ground!  

So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 11:18 (NKJV)

This well was located by the same Bethlehem of which the prophet Micah foretold (Micah 5:2) and of which Luke spoke in the famous Christmas story (Luke 2:4-5), the birthplace of our Savior. This year, when you hear and read these passages, do more than nod the head, enjoying the familiar words washing over you in a sentimental way. Put yourself in that time in history and experience this real place called Bethlehem, a real town first mentioned in our Bibles in Genesis 35:19. There, Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel was buried after dying from the birth of Benjamin. Do you think Mary, in her very pregnant state, thought of Rachel while enduring the trip to Bethlehem, perhaps wondering if the same fate was in store for her?  

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 (NKJV) 

Ponder that poor young couple, Joseph and pregnant Mary, on their journey to Bethlehem, awaiting the arrival of Jesus, the Savior of the all who will believe in His name. Think of that long, tedious trek (have you ever ridden a horse or bicycle when very pregnant and the baby’s head already wants to push its way out? Very painful indeed! Even walking can bring on labor).  Mary’s distress and extended belly foretell of our pregnant world, swollen with plagues and sin and despair, painfully riding our donkeys from day to day, waiting, watching, longing, desiring, yearning, hastening, welcoming the triumphant return of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”  John 7:42 (NKJV)

Now, Jesus is that Well of Bethlehem and His water is sweeter than that for which David longed.  His water is purer, cleaner and greater than anything this world can offer. Come ye, O come ye, my dear TEA CUPP ladies, to Bethlehem.  Drink of Jesus’ water and pour it out for others. Like the shepherds, Come to Bethlehem and see, Him whose birth the angels sing. Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the new born King*. 

Oh, holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel. (Phillips Brooks, 1868)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 1-2 this week. We who have tasted the Well of Bethlehem, the Living Water, are called to pour it out for others before the Lord.  Pour out your heart to Him in prayer for the lost. Pour out your testimony and love of Jesus to those you see each day. And, if God is calling you, answer His call to missions, pouring out your life for Jesus, hearing the cries of the thirsty around the world who are calling, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem.” 

…Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7 (NKJV)

And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.  1 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.  Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NKJV)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (NKJV)

 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Luke 2:15 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please check out To You and The Best Water.  God bless your Advent and Christmas season, dear one!

O come ye to Bethlehem**

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

*Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High, verse 3, traditional French carol.  

**Latin hymn O Come, All Ye Faithful, sung by Hillsong, John F. Wade, 1751

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

With prayers for the December 1, 2021 hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, which could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I prayerfully share this Christmas devotion with you again.  Remember, every baby is a miracle from God deserving life.  These two special Christmas babies are examples of such precious ones.

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! 

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

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)

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)

“Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” Luke 9:48 (NKJV)

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

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

 

 

Get on the Ark! (The Storm is Here!)

So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Luke 21:31 (NKJV)

Can you hear the thunder?  A storm is coming! First, a far away rumble, next, a closer thunder, finally, a very-close Ka-boom and the rain drops start falling. It began years ago with distant rumblings… wars, abortion, immorality, gay marriages, transgenderism… all sins that break the heart of God. Yet Jesus can wash away and extend forgiveness to repentant believers because of His saving work on the cross.  But people don’t want His forgiveness, they don’t want His salvation, their pride gets in the way, they say, “We don’t need Your Cross or cleansing Blood.” So every day the thunder gets nearer and louder, until finally, the storm clouds burst open and God’s wrath rains down.   

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  Genesis 6:5-6 (NKJV)

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  Genesis 7:11 (NKJV)

“Now, wait a minute,” you say?  “You seem to have combined today with the Genesis story from our Bibles, and didn’t that story end with God promising never to flood the whole earth again? Don’t you remember the rainbow?”  You are right, God set a rainbow in the sky, but He has other ways of pouring out His wrath in the latter days.  The book of Revelation gives us a clear picture of what is to come, as God warns His church, rescues His children, pours out His wrath on the earth, and reigns victoriously. Oh, dear ones, if our Lord God Almighty destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Jericho, and Nineveh (long after Jonah’s visit) for their sins, what hope does America and the world have today?  I’ll tell you… that hope is Jesus!

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Hebrews 11:7 (NKJV)

And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.  2 Peter 2:5 (NKJV)

Think of faithful Noah who spent close to 100 years building the ark (Genesis 6-9).  He used countless boards of gopherwood, numerous nails, and sealed it with pitch, saving eight people and all of creation.  Jesus’ Ark was just two boards connected in a cross, three nails for His Body, and He sealed it with His Blood, saving all humanity. Noah’s ark and the flood are part of Biblical history, but Jesus’ Ark is still accepting passengers until the doors close, and no pounding on the door will open it then (Genesis 7:16).  I want to urge you to GET ON THE ARK and bring your family, too!

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.  Romans 8:22 (NKJV)

In Matthew 24 and Luke 21 we read about the signs that must take place before Jesus returns.  These are the rumbling thunders, the birthpangs, that signal His return is imminent.  Whereas in the past these rumblings were few and far between, now it seems that daily we are bombarded with all these things:  Immorality, persecutions, abortion, riots, gender issues, wars and commotions, nation rising against nation, earthquakes, pestilences, fearful sights, betrayal by family and friends, Jerusalem surround by armies, hearts failing… and many more signs!  Some are happening now before Jesus takes His bride the Church (all who believe in Him) to heaven.  More signs will continue before He returns to judge and reign on earth.  

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. Matthew 24:36-38 (NKJV)

You must board this ark NOW and urge your friends and family, too!  This ship sets sail soon.  (There are some helpful links below for putting your faith in Christ). Get on board before Jesus comes to rescue His Church from the tribulation, before He pours out all His divine wrath. If you are a split second too late, the doors will be closed, and Jesus will call through the keyhole, “I do not know you.” (Matthew 7:21-23, and the foolish maidens in Matthew 25, and the man who snuck in without the wedding garment in Matthew 22). 

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Hebrews 3:19 (NKJV)

So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Luke 21:31 (NKJV)

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.  Luke 21:36 (NKJV)

Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.  Joel 1:15 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Psalm 29 and Matthew 24. Know that the Lord, He is God, and glorify His Name.  Get onto Jesus’ Ark, accepting His saving work on the cross.  Plead with your family and friends to get on Jesus’ Ark, too!  

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:30-31 (NKJV)

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. …The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace. Psalm 29:3, 10-11 (NKJV)

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the God of Jacob,
Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain of waters. 
Psalm 114:7-8 (NKJV)

Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck. 1 Timothy 1:19 (NKJV)

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.  Psalm 107:28-29 (NKJV)

At this also my heart trembles,
And leaps from its place.
Hear attentively the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that comes from His mouth.
He sends it forth under the whole heaven,
His lightning to the ends of the earth.
After it a voice roars;
He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.
God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.  Job 37:1-5 (NKJV)

He has made the earth by His power;
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And stretched out the heaven by His understanding.
When He utters His voice—
There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
“He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightnings for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries. Jeremiah 51:15-16 (NKJV)

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read Come to the Wedding and Jesus, Calm the Storm and TEA in the Storm.  And here’s a great reference to share with others: The ABCs of Salvation.  You will also be blessed to add Olive Tree Ministries and Prophecy Pros to your podcast listening. God bless you, dear sister in Christ!

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

So Many Calls

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

The “C” Part of My TEA CUPP Prayers is all about what God is calling us to do with our lives. As we read our Bibles, we come across verses where the Holy Spirit nudges us, “this is something I want you to do.” So, we underline that verse and ask the Lord to help us carry out His calling.

Some selections of scripture have so many calls for us, it is almost overwhelming. Romans 12 is such a passage. If you read this today and try to do it all at once, you could collapse on your own strength. But if we read it prayerfully and ask God where He wants us to begin, He will show us, and each day or week or month or year, we can work on another part of what He is calling us to be. And someday, when He takes us home to be with Him, we will have attained them all.

Let’s look at the many callings from God in Romans 12:

 *Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God

*Do not be conformed to this world

*Be transformed by the renewing of your mind

*Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly

*Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them

*Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good

*Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another

*Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord 

* Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer

*Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality

*Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse

*Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep 

*Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble

*Do not be wise in your own opinion

*Repay no one evil for evil

*Have regard for good things in the sight of all men

*If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men

*Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord 

*Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head”

*Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good Romans 12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear one, what is God calling you to do today? Sit down for TEA with your Bible and Jesus and ask Him about your calling. Read His word, perhaps starting with Romans 12. Underline verses He shows you. Pray for His strength to carry out this calling. Let Him pick you up when you stumble and set you back on your feet. Keep pressing on toward the goal! God’s got this, dear sister in Christ!

God is my strength and power,
And He makes my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:33 (NKJV)

My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)

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

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

p.s. Could you please pray for me and my calling? God has given me a vision to take Jesus and My TEA CUPP Prayers invitation to ladies across the USA, traveling in an RV with my family. So many things must come together for this to happen, but with God all things are possible. Thank you for praying for my calling. I pray right now that God will strengthen you to carry out His calling, too! Jesus loves you, dear sister!

And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.  Ephesians 6:19 (NKJV)

That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18 (NKJV)

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17(NKJV)

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

Remember the Sabbath

For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:8 (NKJV)

How are you doing on your Jesus journey, my friend?  How has your year been going?  As I look around at our world and hear the news, I pray for a revival and for God to heal our land. But the only way for a revival is for hearts to turn to Him in repentance. And so, instead of pointing fingers, I look into my own heart for places I need to repent.  One place sure hit me be surprise!

I loved Sundays, I loved church, I loved worshiping Jesus and singing there and seeing friends, and coming home for an afternoon nap.  I thought I was keeping the Sabbath.  And then suddenly, after all those years, God showed me and others that no, I wasn’t celebrating HIS Sabbath, for His Sabbath is on the 7th day of the week.  It’s right there in the Genesis story…and on the seventh day He rested.  It’s right there in the Ten Commandments…remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.  It’s right there in the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel…nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath Day (Jeremiah 17:21-22).  It is right there in the Gospels, when Jesus asked, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good?” (Mark 3:4). It is right in the book of Acts, when they started worshiping on the first day of the week, the day Jesus rose from the grave…it says, they went a Sabbath’s Day journey (Acts. 1:12).  How could I miss that after reading my Bible daily for over a quarter of a century?

For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”. Hebrews 4:4 (NKJV)

Now we know we are not saved by following the Law (Galatians 5:4), yet it is our guide to live a holy life in Christ Jesus. And so I come before the throne of grace and ask Jesus’ forgiveness for messing with His Sabbaths all these years.  We’re still trying to figure out just what it means, how best to worship Him on this day.  Our family started a home church on Saturday mornings. The country lane where we live is called Dry Creek Road, so we call our home church, Dry Creek Bible Fellowship, where Jesus’ Living Water is poured out freely to quench the thirsty.  Our youngest son plays piano while we sing a few hymns.  We confess our sins and read a Psalm.  We pray for others God has put upon our hearts.  We read God’s Word, an Old Testament and a New Testament chapter each week.  And we share what God has taught us in His Word that week. Lastly, we give each other the Bread and Cup, remembering Jesus’ Body and Blood and sacrificial death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension until He comes to take us home.  We welcome others to join us.

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear One, we must all search God’s Word and search our hearts for where we fall short. What is it that God is calling you to do?  What area of your life doesn’t match up completely with His Word? Turn to Jesus in repentance and ask His help to walk His straight and narrow path.  

And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:5 (NKJV)

 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV)

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3 (NKJV)

That He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. 1 Kings 8:58 (NKJV)

…They have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths… Ezekiel 22:26 (NKJV)

Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.  Ezekiel 20:12-13 (NKJV)

Because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.  Ezekiel 20:24 (NKJV)

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58:13-14 (NKJV)

…For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them. Isaiah 40:10 (NKJV)

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)

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

 

He Comes with Presents!

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

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)

What is the same about Christmas and when Jesus takes us home?  They both involve presents!  Every year, people around the world celebrate Christ’s birth by giving each other gifts.  When Jesus was born, wise men came from the East bearing gold, frankincense and mrryh (Matthew 2:11).  And did you know, that when Jesus comes for us, He will also have presents?

Last summer I was writing a running series but stopped just short of the best part of the race…when we finish!  Some day we will all cross that finish line, whether runners, walkers, or coach potatoes!  And when we who believe in Jesus cross that line, Jesus will have gifts for us!

I love the races where everyone gets a prize.  I first saw this when helping with Special Olympics.  Every runner was given a hug and a medal when he or she crossed the finish line.  Then a local fun run, the Cowpoke Stampede, awarded us all with cow ear tags!  And when I finished my first and only marathon last year, I was delighted to have the volunteers place a “finisher” medal around my neck before I collapsed into the arms of my family.

Immensely far better than those earthly rewards will be the presents Jesus brings when He comes for us, whether now or at His second return.  What kind of gifts will He give us? Some I found in God’s Word include… crowns, a new body with a white robe, white stones with our names, hidden manna, an inheritance, a mansion,  and eternal life!  Wow!  All this in addition to the forgiveness, salvation (saving us from our sins), redemption (dying in our place on the cross), grace, mercy, peace, joy and hope He already has showered upon us here. No gift on earth, no tinsel, no lights can ever compare with what God has prepared for those who love Him!

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Just like every finisher at the marathon gets a medal, all believers get a crown.  And what will we do with our crowns? Cast them at the feet of Jesus in praise and glory to Him, our Savior and King! We will kneel before Him, just like the wise men did beside His little bed so long ago, and present our gifts which He provides for us, for we owe Him our eternal thanks and praise.  Wow!

The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne… Revelation 4:10 (NKJV)

Let’s look at those seven gifts again:

  1. Crowns: Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)
  2. A new body with a white robe: For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV) Then a white robe was given to each of them… Revelation 6:11 (NKJV)
  3. A white stone with your name:And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
  4. Hidden manna: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat…Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
  5. An inheritance: To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.1 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)
  6. A mansion: In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NKJV)
  7. Eternal life: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

Some dear church friends have recently gone to heaven to receive these final rewards.  I see Randy, Orlando, Gale, Wally, Chuck, Kari, Don and others, wearing their white robes, and laying their crowns at the feet of Jesus.  They are sitting around the fellowship halls in their mansions, with white name stones to mark their places, enjoying the hidden manna and chatting like old friends do, waiting for the rest of us to show up. 

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear friend, I want YOU at that fellowship time in heaven.  Please ask Jesus into your heart today and welcome all the gifts He has for you!  Two weeks ago, I wrote that Jesus is coming soon.  One week ago, I shared about waiting and waiting.  In just a few days we will celebrate Christmas, and for many children the waiting will be over.  But for those of us who are longing for Jesus’ second return, we may still be waiting awhile longer. So be faithful, my friend. Jesus is coming with presents!

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NKJV)

…I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.  Genesis 15:1 (NKJV)

…each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8 (NKJV)

We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned…
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great…
Revelation 11:17-18 (NKJV)

P.S. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to check out my other Christmas devotions and my most favorite one, My Heart Inn.

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

Waiting and Waiting

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength… Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

…wait on your God continually. Hosea 12:6 (NKJV)

Waiting.  Waiting. Waiting can be hard.  Families wait for Daddy (and sometimes Mommy) to come home from work.  Children wait for Christmas and Santa. Grandparents wait for grandchildren to visit. All of us wait for our prayers to be answered.  We wonder what the delay could be. Why aren’t we getting our answers right NOW?!

I remember how as a child I met my Daddy at the bus stop every afternoon.  I would trudge up Fillmore Avenue a quarter of a mile and sit myself on a big rock, watching the traffic along 24th Street.  Many cars, trucks, and buses would go by but not stop. Finally, the bus would come with my Daddy and I would hold his hand all the way home.  One day, I looked at the clock wrong and went an hour early, waiting and waiting until I tearfully trudged home alone.  When my Daddy finally arrived home, he wondered where I was that day, and I told him the sad story of my waiting. I didn’t meet him so often after that.  

I wonder, do we do the same thing with our prayers?  Are we at the bus stop expecting answers too soon? Then, when the answers don’t come in our timing, we don’t meet with Jesus so often anymore?  

In the book of Daniel, we get a glimpse into what is happening while we are waiting on God.  We might think the prayer-mail delivery service is slow this time of year, that FedEx is having a tough time keeping up with the prayer packages delivered to Heaven’s Throne room, often out late at night delivering prayers. 

But we can be assured that our prayers are not delayed! For the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).  And God hears our every prayer (John 9:31).  So what is the delay?  In Daniel 10 we read how angels were dispatched to help Daniel the moment he started praying. But the enemy’s angels prevented help from arriving for three weeks! Up in the heavens, where we can’t even see, angels are fighting battles for us that we don’t even know, all because of our prayers (Ephesians 6:12).  

…“Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me… Daniel 10:12-13 (NKJV)

What are you waiting for today? Today, I wait for healing for our nation and an end to Covid19 and cancer, for healing for church friends, for dear ones to give their hearts to Jesus,  and especially for Jesus to come again!

You know who else is waiting? God!  You remember the story of the prodigal son?  Just as the father waited expectantly for the prodigal son to return, God waits expectantly for us.  Jesus can’t come until the last person written in His Book of Life believes in Him.  Perhaps you are the one to tell that person!

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18 (NKJV)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Daniel’s prayers in Daniel 10.  Keep praying and waiting, my friends.  God is sending answers!  And as Christmas approaches, remember the Answer He sent to a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.  

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.  1 John 4:14 (NKJV)

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:9 (NKJV)

Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NKJV)

 Wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.  Psalm 130:5-6 (NKJV)

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Luke 12:40 (NKJV)

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  James 5:7-8 (NKJV)

Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.  1 Chronicles 16:33 (NKJV)

...that there should be delay no longer… Revelation 10:6 (NKJV)

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